What are Zone drills for 8 & 9 year olds?

What are Zone drills for 8 & 9 year olds?

What are some defensive drills for zone to 8 and 9 year olds?

What are some good drills for teaching players to play offense against a zone?



John MurphyCoach, United States of America
Matthew GuymonCoach, England

Hi John,

Players this age don't need to worry so much about offense and defensive tactical development, instead run drills to work on passing and shooting if you want to beat a zone, and most of all make the sessions enjoyable.

Work with your players on passing technique, full court passing drills(3man weave etc), passing games(man in the middle).

Also work with your players on their shooting form and allocate a certain amount of practice time that your players can shoot the ball.

At this age the most important thing is that players learn to enjoy playing basketball and develop fundemental skills a long with good movement and co-ordination.

Also question the coach of the team you are playing against as to why he is playing a zone defense with players so young. Players this young should just be starting to learn basic man2man principles.

Basketball CoachCoach

I don't think that we should be worry about zone defense at this ages remember that is a initiation stage and children coming to practice just to have fun also defense is one of the things that all players dislike especially when they younger so  i think that we should be more focus in footwork defense , proper stand and one simple tactical rule that I always apply to my young players try to be between you opponet and the ring , keep the ring at your back . remember also that we can't  run before we crawling

Basketball CoachCoach

To be fair John, using things like the Bob Knight drill to teach your guys good man-man defence will mean that they can then work a zone with relative ease. Most u14 competitions ban zone at the moment anyway.

In regard to attacking play, focus on spacing and then start looking at weak side offence- that should do the job

John MurphyCoach, United States of America


THanks for the reply.  My league actually has 3 games a year where they insist on the Zone defense.  (The rest of the year is M2M.)

The two replies previous to yours basically told me not to do a zone defense.  Worthless posts.  Thanks for taking the time.


Hassan zeineddeinCoach, Saudi Arabia

Well according to fiba rules players u 10 should not play zone defense , just man to man to develope their offensive skills . But the best way to kill zone defense is penetration to the basket and keep ur team on passing inside to the post and let the post return it back to the guards in order to open the zone , or  make pressure full court defense in order to make traps steal the ball and score easy lay ups that's if you don't have shooters ... See you and enjoy 

Sportplan TeamAdministrator, United Kingdom

Hi John,

We featured your question as our Facebook question of the week and you recieved this advice from Mike:

"Zone for 8 and 9 year olds? Why not teach M2M (man to man). They will be better players for it later. I don't teach zone until later when they have a bit more Basketball IQ. M2M with understanding of help line D must be learned first If you're gonna play zone."

Hope this helps!

Basketball CoachCoach

Zone defence for U10's? Forbidden in our competition. Man to man defence is where the kids learn to play instead of learning to listen to the coach!!!

Te Rina PomareCoach, United Kingdom

hi that did not work and John that drill was very bad

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