Ultimate Basketball

Have you ever heard of the game called Ultimate Basketball? I know I haven’t. However, when I looked at the sport of Ultimate Frisbee and how that can be related to basketball, there are actually some similar learning tactics for each sport. This game focuses on the passing elements of basketball without the dribbling and the combination of two sports that results in a fun and somewhat competitive environment for your young athletes to learn specific skills of both sports.

The idea of early specialization in sport is a very important concept when concerning young athletes. The Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model states that children should avoid early specialization of one sport, specifically because those young athletes will lack transferable skills of different sports. It is beneficial for young athletes to try out different sports as it is good for their mental and social development. With that said, this game combines Ultimate Frisbee and Basketball to help develop the players’ passing skills, learning to pass without dribbling, and understanding that this skill is crucial in a team sport, as well as travelling up the court faster.

The only difference between ultimate Frisbee and basketball is the equipment; instead of using a ball, a disc is used; however, either way it is the same concept. That way, if young athletes play this game in your next practice, they may also develop an interest in ultimate Frisbee and it may be something they explore later on in their athletic careers.

The premise of this game is to pass the ball into the opposing team’s endzone and score the most points. The offensive players are not allowed to dribble the ball or allow the ball to touch the ground, if that does happen it results in a change of possession and turnover. I think this game is a fun way to teach the young athletes how to pass the ball around to their teammates and how to move to open spaces on the court. By playing this game in your practice, you are working on basketball-specific skills, but also teaching young children a sport they may have never heard of or played before; therefore, creating exposure to new activities.

DESCRIPTION Divide players into two teams starting on opposite baselines – if there is a large group, divide players into four teams with two games going at once. Have an ‘endzone’ at each end of the court, allowing a safe distance between the endzone and the wall. (If there is no appropriate line, mark the endzone with cones on both sides of the gym). Players are not allowed to dribble the ball and they must pass it down the court, with the object of the game trying to score a point by passing it into the opposing team’s endzone.

Dropping the ball, or dribbling results in a turnover and a change of possession. When players are defending, they must give an ‘arms length’ of space to the offense. When a player catches the ball with BOTH feet in the opposing ‘endzone’ a point is scored. Defending team walks back to the opposite endzone – teams switch sides after every point is scored.

SKILL FOCUS Passing, footwork, teamwork, balance, speed, coordination, defense
AGE (STAGE) 6+ (FUNdamentals Stage & Learn-To-Train Stage)
PLAYERS 4+
EQUIPMENT 1-2 basketballs – depending on how many players and how many games are happening simultaneously
VARIATION:   Wall Taps  Add a 5-second limit to passes – defenders are able to call out ‘5 steamboats’ when defending a player with the ball. If the ball is not passed within the 5 seconds, then it is a turnover and a change of possession.

For advanced groups, implement that all players must receive a pass before the team can score

Key Teaching Points Ensure players are communicating with each teammate to know where they are on the court

Emphasize offensive players cut to open spaces on the floor – be ready to accept the pass!

Teach how this sport relates to basketball – important to pass without dribbling as it is a faster way to move up the court

Ensure passes are accurate and offensive players are moving around to get open for their teammates – quick passes

Ensure the defenders are in the defensive stance and hands up to possibly intercept or deflect passes – emphasize proper ball denial

Coach players to practice ball fakes and change of direction moves while on offense

Although offensive players are not allowed to dribble or run with the ball, encourage them to practice pivoting to create space between themselves and the defender

Please check out the video below that explains the rules of how to play Ultimate Frisbee. There was no demonstration of how to play Ultimate Basketball; therefore, I thought it would be beneficial to post the rules of Ultimate Frisbee. If you want, you can skip the introduction of the clip, and fast forward to approximately 30 seconds into the video. Obviously, we are not using a disc, and the equipment is being switched to a basketball. See above for a full description of how to play the game.

 

I am very interested as to how this game worked out in your practice! Please post your comments, thoughts, and opinions of these two amazing sports combined into one game below. How did it work out for you? Did your young players enjoy the game? Let me know below.

 

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