NightBall Basketball, , 8+
It’s more than 20 years later, but we all still wanna be like Mike. Kids can be MJ-style ballers—day or night—when they’re using this glow-in-the-dark basketball. And even though it’s brighter than your standard ball, it dribbles and shoots three-pointers just as well.
October is a big month in our house. There’s Halloween, beautiful autumn weather and … wait for it … the official start of the NBA season. Having grown up with a dad who loved basketball, I learned to
like tolerate the sport from an early age. My 8-year-old son, though, he’s obsessed. He watches games from start to finish, collects the league cards and begs me to read a Steph Curry biography before bed.
This all makes for some epic couch potato-ing, but luckily, his passion for the game has inspired him to actually play it, too. The North Shore has plenty of opportunities for kids to ace their jump shot, from skills-based coaching to plain ol’ fun on the court. Here are some of our favorites.
Pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, FSA offers a range of classes that combine technical skills with an emphasis on fun. Each coach has excelled at the high school level—and some, collegiate—and is passionate about fostering a love of the game in kids. Most classes are held in Highwood, but check out hoops for kindergarten and first, second and third grades in Northbrook, as well. FSA also offers flag football and baseball leagues.
Kids as young as 3 can get in on the action at Hi-Five, which offers teamwork-focused classes that teach basic skills like dribbling, passing and shooting. Players are introduced to a new drill each week while continuing to practice what they’ve learned so far. Coaches emphasize practical use of the skills on the court, teaching kids when and how to apply their moves.
Here’s a league that lets kids play games (which, let’s face it, is their favorite part) while learning the fundamentals of basketball, sportsmanship and teamwork. Players are placed on teams after two weeks of evaluation. The regular season is followed by playoffs. (However, everyone receives a trophy at the end of the season. Well played, YMCA, well played.)
Take advantage of three different classes that take little ones from 3 years old through age 10. Lil’ Dribblers, the first class, introduces kids 3 to 5 to the game with activities designed to work on balance, body awareness, motor skills and hand/eye coordination. The second class, Pee Wee Basketball, moves kids 5 to 7 beyond basic instruction and hones in on the details such as shooting technique and defensive strategy. The final class, Basketball Clinic 101, is slightly more advanced for kids ages 7 to 10. Weekly scrimmages encourage kids to “attack the basket” (I love that phrase) and how to play competitively.