My son Max, who is a month past his second birthday, is obsessed with basketball and the Wichita State Shockers. Every day he begs to wear his Shocker jersey and all day he shoots baskets on his Little Tikes basketball hoop…seriously, all day. I would estimate he takes between 100-300 shots per day depending on his schedule. Recognizing he had great hand-eye coordination I started working with him on some skills…
- Catch and shoot
- Posting up
- Shooting with both hands (he’s lefty)
- Blocking shots
- Stealing the ball
- Using the backboard
- Free throw shooting
Here is Max shooting on his old hoop:
Now I know that sounds excessive for a two-year-old but it’s what he wants to do! So I teach him some stuff and he practices it all day. Then it all got to be too easy for him and I realized while he loved his Little Tikes hoop, he had outgrown it physically and was just dunking it every time and bending the plastic rim down. I wanted to challenge him so I formulated a plan to create a tougher shooting environment while giving him a feeling that he was practicing on a real goal. The Little Tikes goal got moved outside to the backyard where he’ll use it more and I transformed Max’s play area!
I bought a SKLZ Pro Mini Hoop XL which is designed to hang off the back of a kid’s door. Max is too short for it to be hung from the door but I had another use in mind. I removed the U Brackets from the backboard and only attached the top bolt of the rim to the backboard and wall plate. Then, using drywall screws, I mounted the backboard to the wall and secured the rim and wall-plate to the wall in place of the remaining two bolts. The result? A professional looking mini hoop installed directly on the wall! Wanting it to be a challenge I hung it eight inches higher than his old hoop and rearranged his play area into a mini court with a free throw line. This morning he woke up and it was like Christmas! “New hoop!” He kept shouting with joy as he began shooting. His percentage-made went way down but he immediately grasped the idea that the hoop was higher, harder, and required more concentration. Who knows…after a few weeks it may be too easy for him and we’ll have to move it up higher. Either way, there is nothing more fun than making your child happy.
Here is Max shooting on his new hoop early this morning:
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