Game: Catch the Tail

Often times players practice dribbling without a defender. And this might cause them some trouble when they do face pressure in a scrimmage or game. It requires a mix of court awareness and comfort with the ball (i.e. eyes up when you are dribbling!).

For those who are familiar, Catch the Tail is basically a reinterpretation of Dribble Knock-out, increasing ball handling skills while simultaneously teaching ball protection. Usually, offensive players turn their back to the basket when the defender pressures the ball, which prevents them from being aggressive and attacking. Instead, Catch the Tail helps force players to be aggressive and face the on-ball pressure directly.

As a coach, you want your players to be aggressive at all times. And this is a great game to teach younger kids how to protect the ball while staying aggressive on offense.

Played either as a two-player game (1v1 for total points) or in small or large groups (free-for-all with elimination), this game is flexible for almost any context. It can also be introduced without basketballs to simplify the game, then adding basketballs later to develop ball handling on top of the movement skills already at play.

Catch the Tail

DESCRIPTION Players tuck a jersey (or something similar) in their shorts, so it hangs off their back like a tail. The goal of the game is to steal your opponents tail while not losing your own – so players are both on “offense” and “defense” at the same time. If a player loses their tail, they must perform an exercise (i.e. push-ups or free-throws) before returning or are eliminated until the next game. Adjust the area of play to the number of players (smaller areas are more challenging).
SKILL FOCUS Footwork, Agility, Awareness
AGE (STAGE) Ages 8+ (Learn-to-Train)
PLAYERS 2+ players
EQUIPMENT None
VARIATION:
WITH BASKETBALLS
Play with basketballs! Have all players dribble a basketball during the game. All the same principles apply (protect your tail and steal others) with the added challenge of maintaining a dribble.

What are your favourite ball handling exercises? Let us know on the comments below !

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