Mini-basketball — basketball for young children — is a school sport played by millions of primary PE pupils across the world, under the age of 12. It was was introduced internationally in 1964
The world development is administered by the Federation Internationale de Basketball (International Basketball Federation; FIBA) with headquarters in the city of Geneva, Switzerland. The international objective is to introduce young people to the world of sport in a spirit of friendship and understanding.
Mini-basketball is fun for all children
In England School Sports Partnerships, schools and clubs can register with Mini-Basketball England (MBE), previously known as the English Mini-Basketball Association (EMBBA). Formed in 1970, the Association was created by officers of the Amateur Basketball Association (now known as the English Basketball Association Ltd) and the English Schools Basketball Association.
Today Mini-Basketball England is affiliated to the English Basketball Association and the Central Council for Physical Recreation (CCPR).
MBE has a national committee. Members of the committee are elected volunteers who help to promote and develop mini-basketball in schools and clubs. Membership is open to all organisations involved in promoting mini-basketball. Registered members of the National Take Six Mini-Basketball programme are asked to pay an annual fee. MBE is wholly dependent on fees, donations and sponsorship.
‘Take six mini-basketball’ – a new version of mini-basketball
Now that there is a national network of School Sports Partnerships, who, as part of their objectives, are creating Physical Education and School Sport Club Links (PESSCL), it is imperative that basketball has a mini-basketball game that can be used in all primary schools and mini-basketball clubs. Take six mini-basketball provides a simplified game format.
The 5 v 5 on court basketball game does not allow children with different abilities to develop their skills and tactical awareness. Take six mini-basketball is a 3 v 3 a-side game which is far more appropriate for most children. Take six gives children the time to make tactical decisions and develop their individual skills. With just five other children on court (rather than the pressure of nine), every child has the chance to really play in the game.
It has also been shown that children are very capable of learning the important roles of scoring, timekeeping and helping to referee the game. Take six mini-basketball gives equal status to children learning to play as well as officiate mini-basketball.
Primary school teachers and mini-basketball coaches need guidance and support in teaching and managing sports activities. The National Take Six Mini-Basketball Programme will provide all the support and knowledge that is required.
Take six mini-basketball has 10 simplified rules based on the core basketball rules:
- To start the game, use a centre pass or a jump ball.
- To win the game you must score more baskets than your opponents.
- You need to keep yourself and the ball inside the playing area (player out of bounds and ball out of bounds rule).
- You cannot walk or run while holding the ball, so in order to move on court you must dribble (travelling rule).
- You cannot dribble with two hands at the same time or dribble again after catching the ball (illegal dribble).
- You cannot make unfair contact (personal foul).
- If fouled in the act of shooting, one shot is awarded from the place of the violation and if successful is worth two points.
- To restart the game after a rule violation, a pass is made from out of bounds near where the violation took place.
- To restart after the end of a period, use alternate possession.
- Use alternate possession to restart the game when possession is unclear, eg a held ball.
The National Programme of Registered Providers
Mini-Basketball England is promoting take six mini-basketball through a national programme. Already there are 40 national registered take six providers offering take six mini-basketball to more than 1,000 primary schools. Registered providers are, more often than not, partnership development managers, but there are also sports development officers, community basketball clubs and commercial children’s sports providers working with primary schools.
Registered providers help local primary schools introduce take six mini-basketball through specially selected activities, which can be used in curriculum PE or at an out-of-hours club. Many School Sports Partnerships are using take six in their development and sports festival programme. Community basketball clubs are coming onboard to provide take six mini-basketball sessions for their local schools as part of physical education and School Sport Club Links.
Mini-Basketball England is able to help with providing workshops for coaches, teachers and young leaders and also to train school sports coordinators (SSCos), primary school teachers and community basketball coaches. National training is provided through Val Sabin Publications and Training – nationally renowned for the quality of her courses and resources. Participants qualify as national licensed mini-basketball trainers.
Talent identification in mini-basketball
Richard Bailey is professor of pedagogy at Roehampton University and an advocate for mini-basketball. Richard has worked with UNESCO as an expert adviser on physical education and sport and with the UK government as director of the National Talent Development Project for Physical Education. Over the next 12 months, Richard will be working with the Scottish government on its talent identification strategy.
Richard said: ‘I am very familiar with mini-basketball and have taken part in various courses. I have used mini-basketball on a number of teacher training courses, as I felt that its underlying philosophy reflected my own.’
And Richard suggested: ‘The best long-term approach to talent development is to keep as many children playing as possible. People who talk about choosing “the best kids” ignore a fundamental problem of talent identification: it is virtually impossible to predict the future.’
MBE has long held very similar views. Richard has a key phrase: ‘Children should not be viewed as mini-adults.’ From his research, Richard has found that physical attributes pre-puberty are a poor predictor of post-puberty stature. Psychological profiling is more robust, however.
So Sport for All continues to be the best talent identification strategy. It is important that teachers, coaches and policy makers continue to recognise this.
Good stance is as important on defence as on offence. Always play defence in the ready position.
The receiver should be ready to catch.
A lay-up shot is a shot on the move, made close to the basket using a one-two count rhythm.
Shooting a right-handed lay-up
For shooting a left-handed lay-up, it is the same as above, but using opposite feet.
The two-handed set shot
NB In basketball, we tend to use the one-handed shot but research has shown that children of mini-basketball will achieve greater success developing their proficiency at the two-handed shot.
Two-handed bounce pass
Martin Spencer is the Mini-Basketball England education officer and a school sports coordinator in Northampton. Martin has led mini-basketball projects for FIBA in Europe, Asia and Africa. He was also the FIBA technical director for the European Mini-Basketball Jamborees