Learning how to dribble a basketball is imperative to becoming a skilled and talented basketball player. Dribbling a basketball effectively can help position a player to begin the flow of the offense, escape from a harassing defender, and get around a screen to open up passing and shooting options, amongst other advantages.
Like anything else, learning the skill of effective dribbling takes time and practice. Basketball handling drills and basketball dribbling exercises are very useful in learning how to dribble a basketball. It is important to keep your head up while dribbling. Dribble the basketball with your fingertips and pads of your hands, but without looking down at the ball. You must keep your eyes focused on the court and watch the players’ movement so you can anticipate the next move on offense. Learn to go by the rhythm and feel the basketball, so you don’t have to look down to dribble.
You should definitely learn to dribble a basketball well with each hand. This will open up your offensive game and it will be more difficult for defenders to predict your next move. If you only have one strong side, it will be easier for the defense to anticipate your offensive play, thus making it easier to steal the ball away.
Also, it is very important to never pick up your dribble until you know what you are going to do with the ball. Once you pick up your dribble (hold the ball with both hands instead of pushing it to the floor with one hand), you are forced to pass or shoot the ball. If you pick up your dribble, and then start to dribble the basketball again, that is called a “double dribble” and the referee will blow his whistle and give the ball to the other team.
There are many different types of basketball dribbles that a player can learn and use. Some of the dribbles used in basketball are the speed dribble, the low dribble, the crossover dribble, the change-of-pace dribble, the between-the-legs dribble, the reverse dribble, the half-reverse dribble, the behind-the-back dribble, the hockey dribble, and the backup dribble. Each of these dribbles is used for a different purpose. But at the very least, a good player should learn to dribble a basketball at both a slow, controlled pace as well as a high speed dribble. You need to be able to effectively change your paces of dribbling…from slow, to fast, to slow again, for example.
“So, how do I develop these crazy good dribbling skills?” is the next question you’re asking. Of course, to become skilled at dribbling a basketball, you must practice, practice, practice! Basketball dribbling is a skill that is developed by having the basketball in your hand and practicing with it as often as possible. There are basketball dribbling drills that will definitely improve your dribble, but you must be willing to put the time and work into practicing the drills in order to get better. Remember to avoid looking at the ball while you are dribbling!
One of the easiest drills you can start with is to just dribble your basketball everywhere you go. Whether you just go for a walk, or a jog, or are walking to the park or anywhere else, take your basketball with you and dribble the entire time you are walking or jogging (Remember: without looking at the ball!). This will help you to develop the natural feel and rhythm of dribbling the ball, so eventually it will become second nature to you. Once you are comfortable with dribbling a basketball, then you can move on to the other specific dribbles I mentioned earlier. Always remember to practice dribbling a basketball with each hand. You want to be proficient dribbling with either hand, not just one. Once you feel comfortable dribbling, here are a few simple basketball dribbling drills to get you started to improve your ball handling skills and dribbling skills.
Around the Knees Your feet are a few inches apart. Slightly bend your knees and bend at the waist. Hold the ball at knee level, and pass it around your knees from one hand to the other. You are just circling the ball around your knees, passing the ball from one hand to another. Repeat this drill 20 times going clockwise around your knees. Then repeat the drill again 20 times going counter-clockwise around your knees.
Around the Waist This drill is similar to the Around the Knees drill, but instead of passing the ball around your knees, you pass it around your waist from one hand to the other. Circle the ball around your waist from hand to hand in a clockwise motion 20 times. Then repeat the drill but circle the ball around your waist from hand to hand in a counter-clockwise motion.
The Figure-8 Place your feet more than shoulder’s with apart, slightly bend your knees and bend at the waist. Hold the ball in your right hand, down by your right knee. Pass the ball behind your left knee to your left hand. Bring the ball around your left knee to the front and then pass the ball behind your right knee to your right hand. This will make a “figure-8” around your knees as you are passing the ball continuously. Keep going around and through your knees, first going around the front of your right knee to behind your left knee to your left hand, then going around the front of your left knee to behind your right knee to your right hand. Repeat this drill 15 times going as fast as you can. Then, repeat the drill going in the opposite direction. Remember: don’t watch the ball!
Sit Dribbling Sit on the floor, your legs crossed in front of you. Dribble the ball with your right hand, and dribble it around your back as far as you can get to your left side. Then pass the ball to your left hand and continue to dribble the ball around to the front of you and then pass it to your right hand. Essentially, you are dribbling the ball around your body and passing it from one hand to another. Repeat this drill 15 times, and then do the same drill in the opposite direction.
Full-Court Speed Dribble Dribble the basketball quickly down the court with your right hand with the ball coming up to your waist and it is far out in front of you when you push it to the floor. Make the lay-up to the right side of the basketball hoop. Then head back up the court, repeating the speed dribble with your left hand and making the lay-up on the left side of the basketball hoop. Do this 6 times then shoot 10 free throws. Then repeat this drill again.
Hopefully, these basketball dribbling drills and ball handling drills will help you become comfortable with handling a basketball and effectively dribbling a ball to become a better overall basketball player. Remember, practice as often as possible and never watch the ball as you are dribbling!
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