How to teach the essential basketball skills

Give your class the opportunity to improve on their basketball skills – You don’t need to be the pro yourself as the teacher, you just need to know the core coaching points when starting out (for grades 3-6).

Take a look at the fundamental skills below, (part of the ‘Basketball PE lessons’ pack) – and teach them in your next gym class when working on basketball. If you need an example basketball lesson, click here to see an easy to follow 1-hour example lesson.

dribbling basketball skills sport pe

  1. Use your fingertips to bounce the ball
  2. Stay low by bending your knees as you move
  3. Try to keep your head up as much as you can
  4. Keep your hand above/on top of the ball while bouncing it
  5. Use your body to shield/protect the ball when defenders are trying to steal it from you
  •  You are not allowed to bounce the ball, catch it, then bounce again
  • You must bounce the ball within every 1 and a half steps

cross over basketball skill games ideas teaching sport pe

  1. Bounce the ball across your body from left…to right…to left in a ‘v’ motion of the ball
  2. Move/rock your body as the ball moves side to side, staying low with your head up

basketball passing skills sport pe

(Chest pass)

  1. Hold the ball with 2 hands in front of your chest
  2. Step forward and push the ball to your target (once you have let go, point your hands to where you are passing to


  • If you stop dribbling and are holding the ball in both hands, you can keep one foot on the floor (it cannot come off), and swivel/rotate your body around and then pass

Other types…

basketball shooting ls games tips coaching pe physical education sport

  1. Face the net with your feet shoulder width apart, holding the ball with your strong hand under it, and support the ball with your other hand on the side 
  2. Lift the ball up in front of your head, making an L-shape with your elbow/strong arm
  3. Use your whole body to push the ball, straighten out your elbow and release the ball off your wrist to get backspin with the ball


  • Hold the ball with spread fingers, and snap your wrist as you release the ball to get backspin
  • You can aim to shoot the ball off the backboard and into the basket
  • Try to shoot in a high arc towards the basket

layup basketball skill ball net pe teaching coaching how to lesson plan

(opposite for left hand from left side of basket)

  1. Dribble towards the basket from the right side and leap up off your left leg with a high right knee, and grab the ball with both hands
  2. While in the air, roll/release the ball off your right hand with your fingers to bounce it off the backboard into the basket


  • You are allowed to take 2 steps after you have stopped dribbling, to shoot a layup
  • Jump off your foot opposite to your shooting hand
  • Try to stay upright and balanced in the air
  • Aim for the sweetspot (top corner) of the square on the backboard

basketball skills ball handling pe teaching stations ideas


Take a look at our Basketball PE lessons pack – You’ll be fully equipped with a huge range of activities for your grades 3-6, and the unit is great to start anytime of year in the gym/sports hall


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Co-operate & Compete: 6 fun pair skill-stations cards (printable)

Need some refreshing and inspiring ideas for sport skills to teach? Try these simple to set up, self-running PE stations for your class to rotate around. Students work in groups of 2, and in some of the activities they play against each other, and in others they’ll need to work together – We’ve given you 6 station activities (striking, moving, bouncing, throwing & catching, kicking) to try below, part of the Grade 3-6 PE Skill Stations pack. 

› The pictures below are printable station cards (right click to view/save) that you can print out and fold in half to laminate – you can put the cards down at each station to remind the kids what to do…

  1. Set up the stations below (you can choose students to help), with enough equipment for the class
  2. Explain and go through each station to the class
  3. Get the class into pairs, and put an equal amount of pairs at each station (e.g 24 students = 12 pairs = 2 pairs at each station)
  4. Allow 4-5 minutes for the kids to complete the tasks
  5. Blow your whistle – kids reset the stations and move to the next activity
  6. Keep going until each group has been around all the stations

tennis practice skill games pe school sport education teach lesson

practice skill games pe school sport education teach lessonbasketball pass bounce practice skill games pe school sport education teach lessonamerican football throw skill games pe school sport education teach lessoncatching practice skill games pe school sport education teach lessonsoccer football passing practice skill games pe school sport education teach lesson

Let us know you and your classes’ favourites – and check out 44 more stations in the resource pack, awesome for grades 3-6 ›››

50 exciting Sport Stations

1. 50 exciting Sport Stations 
You’ll be fully equipped with 50 easy to set up stations, with clear instructions on how to run each activity. Get high scores and set new records as pairs work together and against each other! There are 10 activities for each skill element, for:
Striking (hockey, tennis, baseball
Moving (running, dodging, jump, balancing)
Bouncing (basketball, handball)
Throwing & Catching (baseball, American football…)
Kicking (soccer)8

2. Printable station cards
You are also provided with a file with all the stations, layed out in a way that you can print out, fold in half, then laminate to last a long time. You can then put the station cards on the wall, or on a cone at the station you setup, so kids know exactly what to do.

pe station task cards soccer tennis hockey basketball american football athleticsPE teaching has never been this easy! These activities are going to help turn your kids into budding sport stars, whilst developing your confidence in teaching amazing PE lessons.

Check out the pack now!

pe lessons sport ideas teaching football hockey task cards tennis baseball basketball

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A Soccer lesson to try – ‘Controlling the ball and quick passing’

Are you teaching PE this week and need a few ideas on what to do? Here’s a soccer plan you can teach in an hour lesson (click here to view the essential soccer skills) – Easy to setup, simple to follow, and your class will have a fun time developing their soccer and teamwork skills!

» This is 1 example lesson below, there are 6 plans along with over 45 different activities in the ‘Soccer PE lessons’ pack « 

(you can click on the pictures below and save them to your computer to teach) 

soccer lessons games teaching grade ball sport pe education

soccer lessons games teaching grade ball sport pe education

soccer lessons games teaching grade ball sport pe education

Hopefully these activities will give you some confidence in teaching soccer to your grades 3-6. If you liked these, we’ve got a whole soccer unit available for you to check out ››

soccer games warm up drills ball relay pe sport lesson ideas soccer lessons games teaching grade ball sport pe education

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Competitive team games (and an activity to try in your next PE lesson)

Do your PE lessons need a bit of a kickstart? Do you need a new surge of energy, something unique and thrilling that will engage your students like never before in sport?

I’m excited to launch the new Grade 3-6 PE Team Games pack – developed after years of trying and testing with loads of schools, these are the best of the best games – Not only will your class get so excited for their next PE lesson, but they’ll have the chance to develop their teamwork, co-operation and leadership skills.

1. Check out one of the lessons, “Slide, sling, save” › a throwing, dodging and catching game for your next sport lesson. Have a look at the activity plan below, then play the ‘How to play’ video to your class so they get a brief understanding of the game, and then get them to help setup with you!

Team games

(click to view larger and download)

2. Now you have an idea of the game, play this video to your class:

3. Run the lesson with your kids, and let us know how it goes!

Now make sure you your check out the entire Team Games pack – available for immediate digital download. You’ll be fully equipped with:



Not only is each lesson plan so easy to teach, you get a couple of variations to try for each game, so you (the teacher) can easily adapt, change, and challenge for your class with NO LESSON PREP needed. The lesson plans are great for large or small classes and complete with diagrams, set up instructions, gameplay and variations to try – and they also read great straight off the iPad/tablet.


You’ll also be equipped with a 2-3 minute ‘How to play’ video for each game – Simply play the video to your class before the lesson – the video explains to them how to set up and play the game with the basic rules – that’s even less work on your part. You can even choose 2-3 kids to prepare and setup the equipment needed, and select leaders to organise the teams…

“Teaching PE and sport has never been easier”

We know you and your class will love these exciting, refreshing whole-class games, click on the image below to check them out ›››

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Have fun out there! Prime Coaching Sport – Game. Changing. Sport.

8 great PE warm-up games

These 8 warm-up games are a fantastic way to get your sport classes started – so easy to set up and play, your kids will never want to skip a PE class again! Let us know your favourites.

Click to view each game plan, or download the pack for free here


pe sport games lesson plans elementary

Warmup games pack grades 3-6

Warmup games pack grades 3-6

Warmup games pack grades 3-6

Warmup games pack grades 3-6

Warmup games pack grades 3-6

Warmup games pack grades 3-6

Warmup games pack grades 3-6

These are great to use before the start of any sport lesson – if you need some awesome PE lesson plans, click here to check out our digital resources for grades 3-6, full with loads of activities, skill stations, games and more…

Challenge your PE class with these 6 lesson adaptations

This post covers 6 essential changes you can make for your lesson skills and games you are teaching, to be at the right level for your class. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out our complete K-2 PE skills and games pack, full of over 100 awesome PE lesson activities to use.

No class is the same as others.  I can safely say that after having taught all over the world – from the United States and Canada, to Australia and New Zealand, the sporting ability and gross-motor skills of young kids at school are widely different. Kids always need something that CHALLENGES them – But too hard and they’ll soon give up and lose confidence, too easy and they’ll be left unmotivated and distracted.

pe equipment baseball hoop cones sportIt’s important that kids use the right size of equipment to learn, but also good to practice with a variety to really get a good feel and become adaptable. Change the:

  • Size of the bat, racquet or paddle used – larger is generally easier, smaller is harder
  • Size of the balls – larger (basketball) or smaller (tennis balls)
  • Shape of balls – round, or oval (e.g. American football or rugby ball)
  • Type of balls – spongy, soft, hard, bouncy

basketball ball court lines sport pe lessons teaching spaceChange the playing area allowed with cones or with the sport hall lines:

  • Distance between pairs – nearer (easier) or further away (harder)
  • Size of playing area – smaller (harder) or larger (easier)
  • Distance to targets – closer (easier to hit) or further away (harder)

movement jumping skipping hopping gross motorYou can specify a particular way to move around for some activities:

  • Skipping or galloping
  • Hopping
  • Side-stepping
  • Walking or running

8scorWhen the kids are motivated and like to compete, points can be a great way to get them involved, but keep it interesting:

  • Amount of targetsMore or less targets to hit
  • Size of targets – Bigger (easier) or smaller (harder)
  • More chances to earn points – Give extra points for getting near to the targets, or set challenges like throwing whilst balancing on 1 leg
  • Lose points – e.g. if you hit the red cone

8actSpecify the way the action must be performed, this will really improve their skills across multiple sports:

  • Only allowed to use your left or right hand (throwing, hitting, holding…)
  • Only allowed to use your left or right foot (kicking)
  • Over or under-arm throwing
  • 2 handed or 1 handed throwing and catching

8groupKeep the class engaged by working with different people:

  • Switch up partners for a range of ability and experience
  • Work alone/individually for exploration
  • Put into groups for teamwork – also change up the amount in each group

We’d love to hear other ideas you have that can challenge and extend your students’ skills. Read our ‘PE teaching Fundamentals’ post as well, then have a look at the K-2 PE skills resource, where you can put these ideas into your next PE lesson – to deliver

Other awesome sport lesson resources: 60 Skill Station activities, 25 Relay Races