BALLHANDLING DRILLS & TIPS
BASIC BALLHANDLING DRILLS
Powers Sprint Dribbling – This is one of the most basic ballhandling drills. Simply start on the baseline, and dribble to the nearest foul line and back to the base line, as quickly as possible. Continue the drill by next heading to midcourt line and back, then to the furthest free throw line and back, and finally from baseline to baseline. The key is to use controlled quickness. In other words, as the legendary John Wooden used to say, “Be quick, but don’t rush.” Make sure to run this drill switching hands of emphasis each time.
Double Dribble Drills – This is a simple, but effective ballhandling drill, requiring two balls. Quite simply, walk up and down the court, with your head facing forward, performing simultaneous power dribbles with both balls. The advantage of this is that because you are using both hands at once, you can’t focus your eyes on one ball. As you improve your skill level, pick up the pace to see how fast you can effectively move forward.
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Dirt Dribbling – This drill requires you taking your ball “offroad” so to speak. Instead of dribbling on a court, find a patch of dirt and run the same dribbling techniques you would on the hardwood. You’ll find it is more challenging to control the ball, which in turn will help improve your handling. Run multiple sets of one-two minute sessions, making sure to change hands and direction frequently.
Dribble Wars – This is a two-player ballhandling drill that requires two basketballs. Each player begins with a ball and must stay within a small, specified area. The goal is to try and steal the ball from the opposing player, while defending yours at the same time. Run the drill in two-minute periods. This exercise emphasizes ball control, while instilling both the attacking and defending mindsets needed while running an offense.
Fingertip Dribbles - Good ball-handlers rely on their fingertips to accurately handle the ball. To develop fingertip control, try dribbling the ball utilizing only a single finger at a time. This will serve to enhance your feel for using the fingertips, while making each one stronger in the process.
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BASIC BALLHANDLING TIPS
Limit your dribbling and use it with purpose. Situations that call for dribbling including advancing the ball, driving to the basket, avoid a trap or five-second violation, or improving a passing angle. Often times, aimless dribbling result in unnecessary and/or unforced turnovers.
Make a concentrated effort to develop your “off-hand”. This entails practicing drills twice as much with your weaker hand to turn it into a strength rather than a liability. As you rise in skill level and face superior opposition, opponents will look to capitalize on any perceived holes in your game. By showing the ability to handle the ball deftly with both hands, you give an opponent that much more to worry about.
Always protect the ball when facing a defender by using your body to shield you. When you are going to your left, use your left hand to create separation. Likewise, as you drive to your right, use your right hand. The better you become at quickly positioning your body to protect the ball, the less turnovers you will force, and the more reaching fouls you will draw.
When bringing the ball over mid-court, try not to head towards the sidelines. Good defenders will utilize this mistake to trap you and force turnovers. In effect, the sideline becomes a second defender. Instead, veer towards the middle of the floor to make the defender’s task that much more challenging.
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