If you want to excel in your chosen sport, you need to put in the work on the court. If you are a basketball player then the most important thing you need to learn, aside from anything else, is ball handling and control. If you can’t control the ball, if you can’t mold it to your hand and treat it as an extended part of yourself, then you’re simply not going to succeed.
Practice, practice, practice. This should be your mantra when it comes to basketball dribbling drills.
The great news is that ball handling can be practiced easily, and can also be done in your own backyard, away from noise and distraction. Of course, practicing with others is beneficial too, but overall, dribbling and ball control is a key skill which can be practiced and developed over time.
There are many drills you can try to improve your skills, and trying out several in order to push your skills to another level is the best advice. On top of this, always try and think creatively, i.e. put yourself in a game situation when training and working on your ball handling, as this will make you a more adaptable player overall.
General Tips For Training Dribbling Skills
- Push yourself – It goes without saying that you should always try and push yourself to the next level, this is how you improve. If you fail at first, just keep trying and don’t get disheartened. Try and move faster, try and do more repetitions etc.
- Keep looking up to the rim or around you – In a game situation your head is not going to be down, to keep your head up and look around you, just as you would during a real match.
- Keep the ball away from your palm – Always use your fingertips to control the ball.
- Be dribble effective – This comes down to thinking in a game, but if you can do something in one dribble, do it, don’t extend it into two, three, or even four moves.
12 Essential Basketball Dribbling Drills:
- Finger taps with arm straight
- One hand to the other
- Ankle wrapping
- Waist wrapping
- Head wrapping
- Figure 8s
- Double, single leg wraps
- Wide double crossover
- Scissor drill
- A series of pound dribbles
- Killing it/Instant stops
This is the practical stuff you need to practive over and over again until you get it perfect. When it is perfect in practice, you’ll be able to do it in a game situation automatically.
Try these few stationary dribbling drills as part of your basketball handling workout. Make sure you repeat them every time you train, and try and do more, or go faster every time. Once you master them, don’t simply move on, keep going back to them. Keep your skills sharp.
- Finger taps with arm straight – Firm, locked elbow are needed for this one; from there, simply move the ball around you, using a series of taps.
- One hand to the other – This is an easy one, simply move the ball from one hand to the other, slapping it hard from the under belly.
- Ankle wrapping – Don’t let the ball touch the ground, simply move the ball in a wrapping motion around the ankles.
- Waist wrapping – As above, but in a circular motion around your middle.
- Head wrapping – You’ll understand this one – as above, but around your head.
- Figure 8s – In one leg and around the other, use a figure 8 motion to move the ball seamlessly.
- Double, single leg wraps – Beginning a legs together stance, you simply move forward with your right leg, and then wrap the ball around in a circular motion, step back and wrap the ball around both legs together, before moving forward with the left leg and repeating the process.
- Spider – This is a popular one. Bend your knees to around shoulder width and using your right hand, dribble the ball, before switching to the left – the ball should remain underneath your stance. Then, reach around you with your right hand to dribble, and then repeat with your left. Continue this movement.
- Wide double crossover – For this drill you need to constantly cross the ball from one side of your body to the other, but this needs to be done in a wide motion, which tests your control further.
- Scissor drill – Another popular one. Switching from one leg to the other, start with your right foot forward, before crossing between your opened legs, and then scissor jumping to a stance with your left foot forward. As you switch feet the ball should travel between your legs. You’ll get a work out trying this one too!
- A series of pound dribbles – This one can be done at different sides and height, e.g, ankle, right hand, left hand, shoulder height, waist height etc, so be sure to mix it up and try a few. This is easy, you basically dribble the ball with your right hand, or left hand depending on which series you’re working on, but make sure the ball is a little off the ground. You the mix up the height, e.g. shoulder, waist etc. If you want to make it harder still, you can switch hands.
- Killing it/Instant stops – Use either your left or right hand (although it’s advisible to try on both sides in a series), and dribble the ball, beginning at a low ankle height, before moving up to shoulder height. Every single bounce should allow the ball to travel higher and when it can’t get any higher for you, you stop the ball dead, a few inches away from the floor, and return to shoulder height with a dribble.
Describing a drill looks more complicated on paper than it is in practice, so give these drills a try and work up to different heights and work on each side of your body too. Practice makes perfect, this is a truth, and if you want to be the best basketball player you can be, you need to put in the hours.
Ask Michael Jordan – he wasn’t born a great player with natural talent, he had to practice and earn each of his skills.
Always picture yourself in a game situation when training and practicing your ball control, because that is what will allow you to change and adapt to different moves during a game; if you stick to working with your head down, focusing only on the ball, you’re not looking at what is going on around you.
Imagine what is happening, go faster, slow down, move around – always be on the look out for the next shooting opportunity, whilst developing your ball control until it is second nature, and basically molded to the shape of your hand.
This basketball handling workout is not designed to be a complete drill, but it is one which will give you the basic skills to build on.
Remember, you make your luck before the game starts.
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