How to Dribble Your Basketball?

Knowing how to dribble your basketball can mean the difference between winning and losing. Dribbling has several purposes, such as moving the ball up the court and passing from a better angle.


General Tips to Dribble a Basketball

Great basketball players have outstanding ball handling abilities starting with their dribbling skills. For beginners, learning the correct dribbling fundamentals is a must.

For advanced players, developing their skills and correcting bad habits become more important. These are the good habits that the best ball handlers show.

  • Keep your eyes up. You have to look up so that you have a good view of your teammates and defenders. You shouldn’t look at the ball when you’re dribbling since you have to anticipate their moves.
  • Dribble with one hand. You should practice dribbling with both your hands, thus, developing ambidexterity. You can even dribble with a ball in each of your hands.

But you should never dribble with both your hands at the same time. This is a double-dribble violation that results in a turnover.

  • Dribble low with a low-ceilinged approach. You have to be in the athletic stance when stationary dribbling. When in motion, be sure to keep the ball below waist-high. You must adjust the height – just up to the knees – when a defender is in a nearer distance.
  • Protect the ball always. You have to keep the ball to one side of your body, never in front. Otherwise, a defender can easily steal it. You should also use your off hand and/or body in protecting the ball from a defender.

In all instances, you must control the ball. You should bounce it with a degree of force but always keep it under control. You’re not controlling the ball when it’s bouncing in different directions.

The Basic Dribble Position

This is the fundamental dribbling skill that every basketball player must learn ASAP. Your first step is to be in the triple-threat position. Your head should be up and your eyes on your teammates and the defenders.

Your body should look as if it was in a low-ceiling room. Your feet must be spread shoulder-width apart and your knees are slightly bent. Your upper body must be in a comfortable position, as if you’re about to sit on a chair. A few tips in the basic dribble position:

  • Dribble the ball using only the pads of your hand and fingertips for control. If you use your palms, you will have little to no control over it.
  • Push the ball hard off the floor. Be sure to keep its dribbling height below the waist for better control. In time, you can keep the dribbling height below your knees.
  • Use your lower arm from your elbow to your fingertips as a pump. The combination of fingertip control and pumping action makes for better timing, too.
  • Never include your shoulder into the dribbling motion. If you develop the habit, you will sacrifice control and speed in the dribble. Your “bobbing action” can result in yet another turnover, too.

Your coach will demand plenty of practice on the basic dribbling drills. You must perform these drills even off court since developing muscle memory for it takes time. The best NBA players can dribble anywhere, anytime – and you can make it a habit, too.

The Advanced Dribbling Positions

Your next step is mastering the advanced dribbling positions. You will find that these advanced skills will make you a better player. You can look at footages of Stephen Curry, Magic Johnson, and Kevin Love for inspiration.

Their excellent dribbling skills open up passing and shooting opportunities. A few of the advanced dribbling drills are briefly discussed below.

Speed Dribble

This is used when dribbling at slow to full speed down the court. You have to make adjustments in your dribbling speed. You should consider the pace of your forward movement.

  • Your body should lean forward, as if you’re running.
  • You must push, so to speak, the ball more in your front instead of by your side. Dribbling with the ball by your side isn’t recommended for two reasons. First, you can run past your dribble. Second, you will likely be slowing down, perhaps resulting in a lost scoring opportunity.
  • You have to dribble the ball just a bit higher for better control on the run. The best height is between your waist and knee area.

In speed dribbling, there should be a balance between speed and control. You can then quickly stop, if necessary, such as when a defender intercepts your ball.

Crossover dribble

This involves changing directions while dribbling. In its simplest form, the crossover dribble is a low dribble where the ball changes hands. When applied correctly, you can get by an opponent even with tight guarding.

  • Bounce the ball in an alternating manner between your two hands. Bounce it in front of your body.
  • Keep the dribbling speed fast and its height low. A lazy (i.e., slow and high) crossover dribble can be quickly stolen by a defender.
  • Catch the ball with your opposite hand. You should shift your weight away from the defender. You next move is to drive off your trail leg.

Other advanced dribbling skills include the hesitation dribble, behind-the-legs dribble, and behind-the-back dribble. You will find that even the simple act of dribbling has its joys, too. Your game will improve as your dribbling improves, as well.

Final Words

The manner with which you dribble your ball will affect your winning form. You have to work on several aspects of effective dribbling from your eyes to your footwork. Your lower and upper body should be in perfect sync, too.

You must work on your dribbling skills. Your progression from basic to advanced dribbling will mark your progression as a player, too. You will love the way your advanced dribbling skills complement your shooting skills, too.

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