Basketball requires players to not only effectively move their feet, but also to manoeuvre a basketball. Basketball players first learn to dribble the basketball with one hand, then to alternate hands and progressively to increase to more advanced dribbling. As a basketball player, a powerful and effective way to keep defenders on their toes and increase your threat as an offensive player is to develop a quick dribbling technique.
When dribbling use your fingertips not the palms of your hands. Basketball is played on the tips of your fingers and the balls of your feet. Use your forearm and wrist to bounce the ball. Don’t look at the ball always look up.
The following drills will help you improve your ball handling and dribbling skills.
- Scissor dribble: Stand in the triple threat position (feet roughly shoulder width apart, one foot ahead of the other, knees bent) and dribble the ball with your right hand, sending it between your legs and to the left side of your body. Move the ball to the front and with your left hand, make a hard dribble through your legs and to the right (rear) side of your body. Continue until you develop a good rhythm and speed the dribble up as you get better. Do the drill for a full minute, resting 30 seconds, then repeat.
- Full court zig zags: Stand on the baseline just under the right side of the backboard and dribble to the right sideline at a 45 degree angle with your right hand. Stay low, keep your head and eyes up so you can see in front of you. When you get to the sideline, change direction with a cross over dribble and dribble with your left hand at a 45 degree angle to the centre of the court. Repeat this drill the full length of the court. Once you reach the other end of the floor, turn around and do the same drill back.
- Full court speed dribble: Standing on the baseline, dribble at full speed up the court. Stay under control but push the ball up the floor as quickly as possible while still maintaining complete control of the dribble. When you reach the opposite free throw line, come to a strong and on balance two foot jump stop. Repeat the drill five times, each time stopping at the free throw line with a two jump stop.
- 2 ball dribbles: Two ball drills are some of the best possible drills for improving ball handling skills. Start by dribbling both balls from the baseline up to the free throw line, with both basketballs hitting the ground at the same time. Once you reach the free throw line, start a stagger dribble where each ball hits the ground separately. Use this stagger dribble to the half court line, then switch back to a simultaneous dribble to the free throw line, then a stagger dribble to the baseline. Do this for two full court lengths. Next, do an up and back drill where you take 4 or 5 steps forward dribbling both balls, then take 2 or 3 steps back, continuing the full length of the court.
- Wall dribble: The wall dribble drill is a great way to improve your finger, wrist and arm strength. Standing next to the gym wall, dribble the basketball at shoulder height against the wall. Dribble the ball a half inch or inch from the wall, really pounding the ball hard against the wall, moving it up and down and left to right. Do this for 20-30 seconds at a time with one hand, then switching to the other hand. Rest for a minute and then repeat with the right and left hand.