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Dribbling – Full Guide to improve ball handling of your players

Dribbling the ball is the action that makes the players drive to the basket. However, are countless players that can not handle the ball. Before presenting a guide of dills to improve ball handling of your players, is important to have some notions about the use of ball handling.

Ball security versus ball tricks

Ball Security versus Ball Tricks

The most important thing on a game is the ball and the security of the ball if we lose consecutively the possession of the ball the odds to win the game are reduced. Unfortunately are countless team cases that lose games because they do not have the capability of handling the ball. It is common to confuse ball security with ball tricks. The simplicity of ball-handling must exist because with the number of tricks with the ball that are created most of the players do not know how to make good decisions with the ball and worse they do not know to secure the ball.

It is our job while coaches to ensure that exist the habit in all practices that we work on ball handling, to not think in tricks with the ball but instead understand if your players know how to handle a ball and make a decision with that.

Dribbling Key Points

To domain the ball handling, I bring four key points:

  • Before running we need to know how to walk

All players dream to catch the ball and crossover all the defenders, but before it is important to know the fundamentals. Teach them how to handle the ball is determinant so they can then run with her later. Very little time is spent on the basics drills and that results in losing the ball in the key moments (pressure).

  • Offensive position

Keep a position that allows us to have control of the ball and see the game simultaneously is more important than knowing how to make tricks with the ball. Therefore have a low position, with your legs flexed, straight back, and chin up is a key factor to handle the ball.

  • Handle the ball next to the body. STRONG

It very uses the referee expressions of the word cylinder. The hand limits each player on the floor it is represented by a cylinder that limits his space, by buttocks and by the outer edge of arms and legs. To have better control of the dribbling, and to do not lose when moving, the player should dribble always with the maximum intensity next to the body exploring the width of the cylinder.

The last bullet point is most of the time forget. A lot of the moves that result in losing the ball is the fact of the players do not know to protect the ball. For this is important to keep the principle being always between the ball and the defender. Use the body as a protection shield.

Which drill to improve ball handling?

Keeping in practice all the key points that were previously described, I will present four drills to improve ball handling.

These first two drills are drilling more focused to teach the players how to “walk”.

1st Drill: Dribbling Line

Basketball Drill - Dribble: Dribbling Line

This drill has the goal to teach the players to change directions and keep the dribbling next to the body. For such is need to word on a lower than game speed – “learn how to walk”.

The dynamic of the drill is very simple, put cones forming a line from a free throw line to the other (as in the figure) and with little space between them. Player change direction in each cone and advances to the next one without going over the cone. It is not intended for the players to slalom but “dodge” from the defender (cones). It is important to vary the change directs. In the end, the player finishes with the layup or shooting from mid-range.

2nd Drill: 3 columns

Drill: 3 columns Ball - Body - Defense

This drill has the aim to teach the ball protection from the defender. For such is necessary to make this drill on lower than game speed, focusing on the following points: offensive position (flexed legs, straight back and chin up), strong dribbling next to the body, and for the last ball-body-defender.

The dynamic is very simple if you have ball enough for your all players put them on the baseline in three columns. Otherwise, you can put three plays with the ball in the baseline and the other three on the opposite baseline without the ball. When the player reaches the opposite baseline, deliver the ball to this colleague and stray in that baseline waiting for his turn. The drill starts with a player dribbling facing the basket and after passing ¼ of the floor makes a protection dribble and change direction. You can vary the changes of the direction (between legs, back, inversion) but avoid changing by front because is easier to kick the ball and lose it.

3rd Drill: Dribble in the open floor after a rebound

Drill: Dribble in the open floor after a rebound

It is very common to see players nowadays winning the defensive rebound and go cost to cost at the maximum speed this drill works exactly that.

The drill starts with a player shooting the ball to the backboard and winning in the highest point put it on the ground and changing direction in the two cones and finishing with a layup. It is important to put a limit number of dribbles, I suggest in an initial phase 5 dribbles in the maximum and then reduce to a maximum of 4 dribbles.  The changes of directions should be free to seek creativity of the player and not to making tricks – the goal is to run with the ball. It is key to avoid changing direction by front and replacing with simulation inside out.

4th Drill: Dribbling in the open floor after pass

Drill: Dribbling in the open floor after pass

This drill is very similar to the previous one, but this time we seek that player run with the ball after a pass. It is important to keep and the bullet points previous describe, quick-change direction avoiding changing by the front, offensive position, and limit number of dribbles.

This drill can me make in two ways using the two backboards at the same time and the pairs changing roles. It can add another concept of 2×0 as a point guard and rebounder, could be drive and kick, ball screen, hand-off, etc.

Ready to improve your players?

In conclusion, I hope it was understood full the importance of key factors in handling better the ball. More important than the drill itself, or the dynamic, is the application of the key points and the progression. Remind that before teach how to run with the ball is important to teach them how to walk with the ball.

If you already used these key points or even drills or if you any idea that you want to add, please leave a comment here!

Good practices!

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