Dribbling and Ball Handling – Two Essential Basketball Fundamentals
If you are an aspiring basketball player, you should know some basics of the game, upon which you can build a strong profile as a player. Dribbling and ball handling are two techniques that are fundamental in this game. Let’s talk about them.
Most coaches use these two techniques interchangeably. Although they are connected, these two techniques are quite separate.
Dribbling as well as controlling the ball is a technique that you can practice alone and is segregated from other ball techniques on the court. However, for ball handling you should have knowledge of the game and it involves dribbling, passing as well as making decisions.
Improving your dribbling with practicing is a simple job. Today you can get countless dribbling drills that are difficult and effective. One of the well-known set of drills is called “Maravich Drills” after the late ball-handling expert Pete Maravich. They include drills like spider dribbling, dribble figure 8s, passing the ball around player’s body, drop and catch.
Improving your ball handling with practice needs imagination because you should put yourself in game scenarios.
Here are a few short tips to improve your dribbling as well as ball handling.
- Dribble the Ball Hard: The longer the ball is in your hand, the more control you get on the ball. The harder you dribble, the faster it comes back in your hand.
- Head Up All the Time: Throughout the practice, watch the rim or a spot on the wall.
- Control the Ball with Your Fingertips: Don’t use palm.
- No Too Much Dribbling: Today there is too much dribbling in the game for no reason. The primary objective of putting the ball on the floor is for getting a layup. If there is no opportunity, don’t put the ball on the floor.
“Maravich Drills” are basketball fundamentals and are excellent at making players comfortable with the ball. Here are some examples.
Dribble Figure 8s: Spread legs with a distance of your shoulder width between them. Dribble the ball around and through them in figure 8. You can do this in multiple ways – back to front, front to back, low dribbles (as many shoe height dribbles as possible) and high dribbles (as few waist high dribbles as possible). You can do this even while walking. Try this drill with one hand rather than two to make it even more challenging.
Spider Dribble: Again spread legs with a distance of shoulder width. Now dribble the ball in this way: left hand, right hand in your front; left hand, right hand behind you. Do this as swiftly as possible.
Drop and Catch: Hold the ball with the right hand between your legs in front and left hand behind. Drop the ball and exchange the positions of hands and catch the ball before hitting the ground.
And there are much more! Pete Maravich discovered these drills with his imagination, his urge for a challenge and his passion for improving. In short, you need not restrict yourself with the drills of others, but can find your own too.
One of the other most important basketball fundamentals is ball handling. Here are some drills.
Full Court Lay-ups: Begin at the baseline. Dribble entire court in 5 dribbles with the right hand and make a layup, return with the left hand. Next, lessen the number of dribbles to 4 and then to 3.
Chair Changes: Place a chair at around 21 feet from the basket. Begin around 8-10 feet beyond it. Dribble directly at the chair. There, use a dribble of change of direction to go beyond the chair and make a layup. Try to achieve a point where you will require only one dribble to get to the layup. Practice all the changes.
Two up – Two Back: Set a chair in the same way as above. Take 2 hard dribbles at it. Take 2 backup dribbles while reaching the chair. Push ahead into 1 dribble layup after the 2nd dribble or pull-up jump shot.
Dropstep Dribble: Doorstep dribble works on ballhandling as well as footwork.
Chair Curl: This excellent multiuse drill combines ball handling, shooting and speed and high-intensity direction change.
And there are much more! It’s very important to practice ball handling in game-like competitive scenarios with real defenders. That will make you strong with the basics and you can proceed further with more confidence.