As a kid, we’ve all recreated some of the finest moments of our favorite athletes. This includes both pantomiming their actions and borrowing some of their mannerisms. Whether you grew up with Magic or Walton – as kids – we’ve all been there. As a young athlete, it’s important to watch some of the greats play and use some of what they do in an attempt to get better at the craft.

There are a number of reasons why this is done – and more importantly – there’s a reason why it should be done.

Here, I’ll explain some of the benefits of imitating some of the greats.

Confidence Building

Young athletes can draw a lot of confidence in using some of their idol’s favorite moves. If they consistently practice these moves, whether we’re talking crossovers, step-backs, or low post moves – it can benefit them greatly when it comes to their confidence. For a second, they can feel as if they’re actually that baller for a second. This does a lot, because there’s the chance that they’ll actually feel unstoppable in that aspect.

As we know, confidence counts a lot when you’re on the court. However, the same can be said about many different arenas in life. If you’ve got it, you’ll go far.


The confidence isn’t the only thing here. Watching, learning and imitating can lead to success. The pros use their battery of moves because they work against the competition. The same can be said about sports at the youth level. Seriously – if a kid can perfect the Dream Shake – they’ll probably eviscerate the competition. It’s as simple as that. The same can be said about Iverson’s crossovers, which is still one of the most beautiful – and most effective – moves for any point guard.

Pros Watching Pros

The most interesting thing about imitating these moves is the fact that it doesn’t really stop at the youth level. Professional athletes also get in on the act. Look no further than Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant for evidence. Dirk Nowitzki has one of the most popular fade-away jumpers in the NBA. Before him, there wasn’t really anyone who used that leg kick. When he popularized it, you eventually saw both Kevin and Kobe doing it.

Not to take anything away from Kobe – who still has one of the largest range of offensive moves in the history of the NBA – but we’ve definitely seen him do it.

These two aren’t just some bench or “role” players, we’re talking about two of the best with the ball in their hands. If it works, it works.

It’s crucial that kids watch pro games. It’s not even something that’s exclusive to basketball, as all athletes of any sport can learn a lot from watching people who do it for a living. In watching them, they’ll not only be able to show their teammates, but they’ll also be more committed to their craft. For some, it’ll even make them go straight to the drive way with their favorite ball.

Eddie D. Shackleford is a Senior Editor for and loves to write and research topics about sports and more specifically youth sports. Eddie is a father of 2 and understands how important it is to coach kids the right way in youth sports. He believes in helping kids foster a dream and helping them achieve those dreams. Eddie loves coaching in youth sports as well.