The game of basketball is one of those sports that is played and loved by many. If you play basketball and want to excel in the game, you need to develop a good foundation. Developing the most basic skills needed to play basketball, such as passing, shooting, rebounding, and dribbling is very important. Without any of them, acquiring points when being heavily guarded is impossible.
One of the three important basic skills in the game of basketball is dribbling. Dribbling does not matter how tall or short you are because one way or the other, you will need to dribble the ball in order to get into a good position. If you do not have any dribbling skills, then you’re practically playing with your feet tied as you cannot carry the ball any further when the ball is passed to you. In fact, if you have poor dribbling skills, your defenders will likely use this against you. This is why it is important to learn the basics fully before attempting to learn any fancy moves.
The basic fundamentals of basketball dribbling doesn’t just encompass dribbling for beginners as even experienced players will need to relearn some of the fundamentals to complete their overall game. The truth is, players, regardless of age and skill level, will require ball handling drills during their training.
During basketball dribbling, always make sure to:
Keep Your Eyes Up – this is one of the most basic of basketball dribbling. If you’re looking at the ball while you’re dribbling it, you will not be able to see your defenders, the basket, or even your open teammates. Seasoned and highly experienced players will be able to expose this weakness in a player and create turnovers because of it. This is because the fraction of the time it takes to lift your head can also be the same amount of time you could have seen an opportunity, whether for a shot or a pass.
Use Your Fingertips to Dribble – this is perhaps the second most basic of basketball dribbling. Using your fingertips to dribble and control the ball instead of your palm will give you better control over the ball. If you dribble using your palm, you will not be able to dribble as nimble and as low as you do with your fingertips. This will enable your defenders to slap the ball much easily as when you dribble with your fingertips which is why it is best to dribble with your fingertips not just to avoid this, but to also give you better ball control.
Be Able to Dribble with Both Hands – being able to dribble with either hands can be very advantageous as you will be able to drive at any side. If you are not skilled in using both hands to dribble, you will be severely limiting your offensive game. The ability to use both hand equally when dribbling will provide you with better opportunity as the defense will not be able to anticipate where you want to drive. There are actually two ways to become ambidextrous in ball dribbling. The first would be to practice dribbling using two balls – one for each hand. The next would be to practice twice as much with your weak hand until it is no longer weak.
Dribble with a Purpose – unless you are just practicing dribbling, you should always dribble with a purpose, especially during a game. Never waste your time dribbling or just to show off your dribbling skills. Here are 3 reasons why you should dribble:
- To Advance the Ball up to Your Offensive Court – this makes perfect sense as the point guard needs to deliver the ball to the offensive court before you can set some offensive plays. Advancing the ball to the offensive court cannot be done with passing alone and dribbling it towards the mid court is often the norm.
- To Make a Drive for the Basket – relying on jump shots or long range shots is not always good. If you are confident with your ball handling skills, you can fake a shot or a move to confuse your defender and make a drive at the opposite side towards the hoop for a better shot. When making a drive for basket though, it is suggested to make minimal dribbles to get to the hoop. There are professionals who even claim you can drive to the hoop from the 3-point lane with only one dribble as long as you know the purpose of what you are doing.
- To Get a Better Shot or Pass – having good ball handling skills will allow you to position yourself for a better angle of the shot or pass. Even if you don’t have a clear line of sight at the hoop or at your teammate, going for a few dribbles to the right or left may give you a better opportunity in making the shot or even making a successful assist. Whether you have a great sight at the basket or a better chance of making an assist, good ball handling skills will be the one to provide you with that opportunity.
One of the fundamentals of basketball dribbling is the ability to change direction while dribbling. Once you know all the basics of basketball dribbling, you need to learn some of their advanced skills. The list below shows you some of the moves you can learn once you advance from basic dribbling:
- Crossover – this is basically a low and quick dribble in front to enable you to quickly change direction. The crossover move gives you the opportunity not just to confuse your defender, but to outmaneuver them as well.
- Between the Legs – this move is similar to a crossover, the only difference is there is not much momentum to outmaneuver and leave your defender in the dust. Nevertheless, it is a very effective move, especially if the defender is too close to execute a front dribble such as the crossover.
- Behind the Back – this dribble is another effective way to change direction. This is executed by cupping the ball a little and swinging it around your back and placing it on the front of your other side. This type of ball handling maneuver is often executed when the defender is too close to you.
- Spin – this move is an effective change of direction maneuver and is perfect if you want to protect the ball. This move can be accomplished by cupping the while spinning your body around the defender with your body usually in between the ball and the defender. This move is executed by taking a large step while spinning to ensure that you go around your defender.
Basketball dribbling is without doubt a very important skill when playing basketball. In fact, it can easily be stated that it is equally as important as shooting and rebounding. This is because without dribbling, a player will not be able to progress in the game of basketball.