Being able to dribble the ball is more important now than ever. With so many offenses being positionless, everyone has to have handles. It doesn’t matter if you are the shortest player on the team or the tallest. You need to be able to dribble the ball effectively.
Do you want to get better at attacking the basket with the ball? Do you want to stay on the floor when the other team is either pressing or has an aggressive man-to-man defense? Of course, you do. By tightening up your handles, it will be impossible for the coach to take you off the court.
How long do I have to spend on dribbling to get better?
You don’t have to spend hours every day. Remember, it is the quality of the time you spend on improving, not the quantity of time.
I recommend that ALL players spend 5-15 minutes every day polishing their handles at home. Five minutes is nothing… yet that consistent daily practice makes a huge difference and really adds up over time.
It only takes five minutes every day to sharpen your ball-handling skills. Just FIVE minutes!
So use this workout below to supplement your regular shooting & ball-handling workouts…
Here are four highly effective drills you can complete every day to ensure your ball handling will become better.
Complete these four quick and highly effective dribbling drills to become the best ball handler on your team.
Drill #1 Popcorn Dribbling
Fingerpad dribbling is very important when you are moving through traffic. There may be times you will need to recover your dribble, and being able to control the ball close to the ground with your fingerpads will help you gain control of your lost ball. It will also help you gain control of loose balls while others are trying to grab them. By dribbling the ball close to the floor with your fingerpads in traffic, you will protect the ball from defenders who are trying to steal the ball.
Here are the steps for the drill.
- Start in the middle of the lane with popcorn dribbling to work on fingerpad control.
- Keep your knees bent and your chest parallel to the floor.
- Focus on keeping your eyes up.
- Dribble the ball with your fingerpads alternating hands at sock level.
- Dribble the ball out in front of you as you move backward and forward about two feet.
- Complete 10 repetitions. Going back is one repetition and going forward is another repetition.
As you get better and more comfortable increase the speed in which you move forward and dribble the ball.
Drill #2 Quick Tap Cross/Legs
This is a quick three-dribble drill that will improve your ability to counter and react quicker. Your focus will be on ball control, staying low, and keeping your eyes up.
Here are your steps for the drill.
- Start on the right side by taking two tap crossover dribbles from right to left.
- Quickly dribble through your legs with your left hand returning the ball back to your right hand.
- When you take the through-the-legs dribble, take a step forward with the foot the ball is going behind.
- Make sure you return that foot to its original placement before the next repetition.
Complete 10 repetitions of this drill on the right side and 10 repetitions on the left side.
Drill #3 Combo Moves
This drill will help any player who relies on only one basketball move. You don’t want to be stuck if your defender cuts you off after you make your move to the basket. You want to have a counter move, so you become harder to stop. This drill includes a through the legs behind the back wrap.
- Complete a pound dribble with your right hand on the right side of your body.
- Then execute a through the legs dribble to your left hand.
- Immediately go into an around-the-back dribble bringing the ball back to your right hand.
- Make sure you bring your legs closer together during the behind-the-back dribble, so you have more room to wrap the ball around your body at the needed angle for the ball to end out in front of your body.
- Perform a jab dribble and repeat the previous steps for more repetitions.
It is important to go quickly. You are using this move to shake off a defender. You can start out slowly while you try to get better at controlling the ball. The more comfortable you become, the faster you should push yourself. Then once you master these basketball drills alone, you can try them with a defender in front of you with confidence.
The same is true about your eyes. You can look down when you begin, but you ultimately want your eyes up. You always want to be able to see how the defense is reacting while you make your move.
Drill #4 Lateral Dribbles
Being able to use your dribble to create a lane is very important. Often times you will have a defender in front of you, and you will need to use a lateral dribble to create that driving lane. You have to become comfortable dribbling in all directions, not just forward and backward. You want to become versatile and agile with the ball. Don’t let the position of the defender stop you from getting to where you want to go.
- Start at the left elbow of the free-throw line. (If you don’t have a free throw lane, that is okay. Just pick a five-foot spot where you will be able to dribble from side to side.)
- You will shuffle to the right while dribbling the ball on the outside of your right foot. (You should dribble outside of your left foot when you are shuffling to the left.)
- Make sure you keep your feet apart as you push step.
- When you reach the opposite elbow, execute a through the legs dribble and begin shuffling back the other way.
Complete 10 repetitions of this drill. Both shuffling to the right while dribbling and then shuffling to the left while dribbling is considered one repetition.
If you want a challenge, you can touch the line after your between-the-legs dribble. This will force you to stay low throughout the drill. You want to keep your eyes up as well, so you can see the entire floor.
So all it takes is just five minutes every day. By completing these beginner dribbling drills, you will become a better ball handler. Whether you are using these skills to break a press, blow by a defender, or dribble precious seconds off the clock at the end of a close game, you are making yourself indispensable. Your team, and your coach, will want YOU on the floor at all times.