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Basketball Stations: 10 Essential Drills and Small Group Activities for Elementary PE

Basketball is a great sport to incorporate in physical education classes because it can be adapted to all skill levels and ages and allows students to practice and develop several important manipulative and motor skills that they can use for a lifetime. It also encourages teamwork and cooperation among students as they work together on drills or play small-sided games. Physical education teachers have the ability to plan their lessons so that they can have a wide range of activities and stations to choose from, making it easy to create engaging lessons that will keep students motivated.

10 Essential Basketball Stations and Small Group Activities for Physical Education

Pic by Ms. Zarzycki @MsZarzycki27

Basketball stations and small group activities are a fun way for PE teachers to keep students engaged while helping them learn the basics of playing basketball. These stations can be set up with different activities that focus on specific skills such as dribbling, passing, shooting, footwork, rebounding, and more. By offering a variety of tasks that cater to every student’s skill level, these stations and activities that focus on basketball skills provide an engaging learning experience for all students regardless of their prior knowledge or experience with the game. Younger students love performing basketball tasks and learning new skills!

In this blog post I will give you ten practical and dynamic activity ideas that involve fun stations and small group activities, guaranteed to pique the interest of your students! Let's kindle your student's enthusiasm for basketball with this fun and captivating sport - get set to maximize involvement in all of your future classes. It's March madness all year long!!

Pics by TJ Toteno @MrTRaptorsMSAP

Can basketball stations and small group activities help students meet PE standards?

Absolutely! Having students participate in PE basketball activities allows them to gain a better understanding of the game, as well as hone their fundamental skills in a basketball unit. This aids in the development of their competence as learners and helps to bolster motor skills, decision making abilities, teamwork competencies, and physical literacy.

Incorporating basketball skill stations and small group activities into physical education is an excellent way to make it more enjoyable for students, while simultaneously fulfilling district, state and national standards. This blog post's featured physical education activities are directly linked to SHAPE America Standard 1, which reads: The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.*

SHAPE America Standard 1 - Basketball


Tips for implementing basketball stations and small group activities in PE

  • Set the Tone: Create an environment that welcomes all students, regardless of their skill level.

  • Differentiate Instruction: Set up the basketball stations that cater to different learning styles and skills – this will allow everyone to be successful and engaged in the activity.

Pic by Tracy Angel @Mrs_Coach_Angel

  • Keep them Engaged: Utilize a variety of different stations and activities for your lesson ideas to keep students engaged and motivated.

  • Concentrate on the Skills: Focus on basketball fundamentals such as dribbling, passing, shooting, and footwork to ensure proper skill development.

Basketball Skills
  • Ensure Clarity and Comprehension: Always give students clear instructions and demonstrations before beginning each station or small group activity.

  • Make Sure the Activities are Appropriate: Use activities that are developmentally appropriate for the age and skill of each future basketball player in your class.

Pic by Tracy Angel @Mrs_Coach_Angel

  • Monitor and Provide Feedback: Monitor each group’s progress during activities and provide adequate feedback and positive reinforcement or guidance when needed.

  • Adaptability is key: Be flexible with the basketball stations or activities, so that you can adjust based on any changes in student performance or behavior.

  • Utilize Visuals and/or Technology: Take advantage of printable visual basketball resources or technology, such as apps, screen slides or videos, to supplement your lesson plans and make them more interactive and engaging for the students.

Basketball technology in PE

9 Basketball Stations and Small Group Games for PE

Ignite your students' enthusiasm for basketball with these nine interactive activities! With engaging station and small group game ideas, you'll inspire their energy and excitement to learn.

A- Stations

Stations typically involve activities and movements that focus on one or more specific movement skills such as ball handling, dribbling, passing, court footwork, and shooting (five basic skills). Through station-based activities, students gain the chance to practice their skills and build confidence in an organized, controlled setting.

Ball Handling Video Above

1: Ball Handling - Students can hone their ball handling skills by using their own basketball to complete a wide variety of ball manipulation and ball control tasks. These tasks can include movements such as; tapping it back and forth above the head, tossing and catching the ball with and without a bounce, passing or rolling it around both legs, waist and head, performing figure 8's between legs, spinning it on a finger, etc.

Basketball Stations- Ball Handling

2: Stationary Dribbling - Students use their own ball to practice a variety of stationary dribbling tasks. These tasks can include movements such as; dribbling with the right hand, dribbling with the left hand, dribbling high & slow, dribbling low & fast, dribbling through legs, dribbling around the back etc.

Basketball Stations- Stationary Dribbling

3: Zig-Zag Dribble - Students weave their way around a set of cones, dribbling the ball as they go back and forth. They must wait their turn at a "wait line" and then they dribble the basketball through the line of cones by zig-zagging around each one. They should try switching hands at each cone that they go around. After going through the set of cones, they should dribble straight back to the start line and “hand off” the ball to the next person in line.

Basketball Stations- Zig-Zag Dribble

4: Dribble and Wall Pass - Students have their chance to practice dribbling a ball from the starting line to the pass line, while perfecting their bounce and chest passes off of a wall. At the "pass line" they bounce or chest pass the ball off the wall 3 times. They finish by dribbling the ball back to the start line and wait for their next turn.

Basketball Stations- Dribble and Wall Pass

5: Partner Passing - Students will team up to practice their passing skills, alternating between chest and bounce passes using a basketball. They should dribble first and then perform a

chest or bounce pass to their. Encourage them to use both hands and "push" the ball from their chest. They can vary the distance they pass if they are successful.

Basketball Stations- Partner Passing

6: Shoot From the Hoop - Students take turns displaying their prowess by shooting set and jump shots from hula hoops at varying distances, ranging closer or farther away from the basketball goal. They first shoot a set or jump shot from the closest hoop. If they manage to make it, the player can shoot from the next furthest hoop. Should their attempt be unsuccessful, they are free to either pass it off to another teammate or try again from where they just missed.

Basketball Stations- Shoot From the Hoop

Basketball Stations Video Below


B- Small Group Games

Exploring basketball through engaging small group games is an excellent way to not only develop your students' skills on the court, but also cultivate a healthy atmosphere of friendly competition and good-natured fun. These activities allow students to get more involved than a standard game of full court basketball would, increasing engagement and learning.

7: Knock Down - Pick Up (dribbling game) - As students dribble within a designated area, they take turns knocking down and picking up cones in succession. One team will dribble and knock down the cones while their opponents pick them up, creating a dynamic game of agility and teamwork. Teams should switch roles after every minute or so.

Basketball Stations- Knock Down - Pick Up (dribbling game)

8: Basketball Golf (shooting and rebounding game) - Students compete against one another by trying to shoot the lowest scores possible, beginning with a free throw and striving to make baskets using as few shots as they can. The 1st player shoots from free throw line. If they make it, their score is now 1. If they miss it, they must run to the ball (off the rebound) and shoot from the exact spot that they retrieved it. If they miss, they must keep shooting until they make it! Students “record” their score (max. 6 per hole). The next player in line repeats this process. The lowest score wins after 9 rounds

Basketball Stations- Basketball Golf (shooting and rebounding game)

9: Hot Shot Spot (shooting game) - Students dribble to a poly spot and take a set or jump shot; if they make it they get to take the spot back to their start line and they score a point for themselves. After any missed shots, they must take the ball to the next person in line. Students should be encouraged to keep their feet shoulder width apart and their arm in an L shape when they while taking a shot.

Basketball Stations- Hot Shot Spot (shooting game)

10: Five Pass Keep-Away - Students have the opportunity to test their skills in a fast-paced game of “5 pass keep-away,” competing either 2 v 2 or 3 v 3 while striving to achieve 5 "complete" passes with their teammates against an opposing team's defensive players. The group must stay in a designated area when they play. If a ball is dropped, it goes to the opposing team. There is no reaching in to play defense. Teams attempt to score points against the other team. Five passes = One point!

Basketball Stations- Five Pass Keep-Away


Final thoughts

To keep your students excited and involved while encouraging them to stay active, try incorporating these or other basketball stations and small group activities in your PE classes. These activities and games can not only make physical education classes engaging and enjoyable, but they also help to foster your student's skills. I'm certain that you will find the activities I have presented to be beneficial as your students both experience joy and learn something new!

Unleash your creative spirit and extract even more fun out of basketball by trying new activities or coming up with your own stations and games; the opportunities are endless! Basketball is an enjoyable sport for people of all ages and skill levels. You can easily adapt the activities and games to suit your learners’ individual needs, so don't hesitate to get out there with them and show them just how fun basketball really is!

What are your students' favorite basketball stations or small-group activities during PE? I would love to hear all of your wonderful ideas in the comments section below!

*SHAPE America. (2013). National Standards for K-12 Physical Education. Reston, VA: Author.


Need resources?

Do you need some sport-related skill stations for your physical education program that includes detailed instructions and state-of-the-art graphics and visuals? Cap'n Pete's Power PE has you covered!

20 FREE Sport-Specific PE Station Signs on

Fill in the form below to download 20 FREE Sport-Specific PE Station Signs. The set is a PDF digital download that includes two visuals (cards/signs) from the following sport stations sets: 1. Base Games, 2. Basketball, 3. Floor Hockey, 4. Football, 5. Lacrosse, 6. Paddle & Racket Sports, 7. Soccer, 8. Team Handball Stations, 9. Track & Field and 10. Volleyball Stations.

This freebie set will be sure to enhance your PE curriculum for years!


If you want even more basketball station PE Basketball Stations- 20 Fast Break Zones resource can be downloaded here on Teachers Pay Teachers.

If you're searching for a way to really spice up your PE program, Cap'n Pete's PE Sports Stations- 10 Product Mega Bundle is the perfect supplement. You'll find over 200 fun-filled, sports-themed station signs/cards (20 stations per sport) in this set. You may utilize them in your gym or specialized learning area.

 Cap'n Pete's PE Sports Stations- 10 Product Mega Bundle

You can download them from either of the following platforms: Cap'n Pete's Power PE Website or Teachers Pay Teachers- Cap'n Pete's TPT Store

This comprehensive collection will help you teach your students important physical education concepts and skills from 10 different traditional sports including basketball, base games, football, floor hockey, lacrosse, paddle/racket sports, soccer, track & field, team handball, and volleyball.



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