Dribbling: Advanced Training

One of the most critical but often overlooked aspects of the game of basketball is dribbling. Handling the basketball effectively while moving around the court can help create impressive plays and free the player up for a higher percentage shot to take.

When a player can dribble and it feels second nature, like Pistol Pete Maravich or Allen Iverson, it’s much easier to move around the court. A shorter player like Isiah Thomas had to learn how to dribble a basketball better than the average, taller player. He accomplished this with a lower center of gravity and a tighter dribble.

Here are a few tips to help you accomplish this goal. Try some of these tips and use them during practice drills to improve your ball control and dribbling speed. Following these tips can help an average player become a great player.

The Lower Dribble

The low dribble is used when the player is being closely guarded. The dribbler will keep his body between the ball and the defender. They will dribble at knee level or lower, so the defender has a harder time stealing the ball. Being able to dribble with your head up will allow you to effectively spot and pass the ball to an open teammate if you’re being pressured defensively.

The Crossover Dribble as a Weapon

A player who is confronted by an attacking player can use the crossover dribble to change direction quickly. The ball handler pushes away from the side they’re dribbling on toward the opposite foot. Then they bounce the ball across their body with the flicking of their wrist and fingers.

Use a low bounce dribble maneuver for speed and elusiveness. A step with their foot on the receiving side of the receiving hand will allow the ball to go on a shorter hop. Speed is particularly important with this technique. Being able to feint your defender out of position will help shake him from you and allow you a more open shot.

Use the Reverse Dribble to Change Direction

Another change of direction technique is the reverse dribble. If the crossover move can’t be used due to defensive positioning, the reverse dribble can be used to spin away while the player keeps their body between the ball and the defensive player.

This dribble involves moving right to move left, ultimately. The left foot pivots as the dribbler spins in the opposite direction, with their back to their defender. This dribble can also move in the opposite direction.

Change of Pace Dribbling

Just as it sounds, changing the pace of your dribble can often confuse your defender. This can be done while dribbling down the court or before using a sudden burst of speed toward the basket. Experiment with slower, higher dribbling and then shorter, faster dribbles.

Use these tips and integrate them into your dribbling drills during practice. You may see big results from these simple basics regarding dribbling.