A small boy holding a basketball crouched down, frog-like, and bit his lip as he looked up at the basketball net. There were actually two nets to aim for. One was regulation height, towering over the boy. The other was placed at a lower level within reach. The boy jumped, heaving the basketball upwards where it swished through the taller hoop.

Criss-cross applesauce for now, layups next. — Ivy Ashe

“Why are you aiming for that one?” another boy asked.

Start small, aim high. It could be the unofficial motto of the Biddy Ball program at the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, which teaches first and second graders the basics of basketball. Biddy Ball is a modified version of the game, created in the 1950s by Jay Archer of Scranton, Pa. It features lower nets and a shortened court, and is for young children who are just learning to play. The program was brought to the Boys & Girls Club by Greg Rollins, and is now run by club executive director Peter Lambos and staffer Kara Ryan.

“It’s a popular sport,” Mr. Lambos said before a recent practice. The club also has programs for older children in third through sixth grade, but those teams play in a league and pay a $20 registration fee. Biddy Ball is free. Because it’s focused on the basics, there’s no competitive element to it.

Sweating it out at Biddy Ball. — Ivy Ashe

“We don’t care who drops in,” Mr. Lambos said. “They aren’t broken into teams . . . I just want to get as many kids as possible involved.”

The program at one point drew about 40 participants. These days, anywhere from 15 to 20 kids show up each Monday.

Having 40 players was nice, Mr. Lambos said, but the numbers limited the actual amount of teaching that could be done.

“It’s really an instructional program,” he said. “There’s a lot of running around, basic skill sets.” During one session, the kids practiced dribbling, while during another they worked almost entirely on footwork.

“That hurts my knees,” one girl said while she balanced in the ready position, leaning forward over her toes. Mr. Lambos explained that with practice and repetition everyone would build up muscles so the exercises wouldn’t hurt.

The group continued with stretches and drills, demonstrated dance moves during water breaks, and finished with a mini-game.

Biddy Ball features lower nets and a shortened court. — Ivy Ashe

“It’s basically just teaching the meat and potatoes,” Mr. Lambos said. “We’re trying to teach control of their body. It doesn’t matter if they score, we try to let the kids have a good time.”

Every practice begins with a long period of free time, when the kids can try just about anything to do with basketball. They use basketballs tailored to beginners, and there are even hand placements painted on the sides so kids can learn where to hold a ball for free throws.

Because so many of the kids also play soccer, it is sometimes hard to keep them from kicking the basketballs. But after about six weeks, “It actually starts to look like basketball,” Mr. Lambos said.