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Basketball Dribbling Drills

Crossover Dribbling Drill
Open Court/Closed Court Drill
Dribbling the Lines
Spin Move
Shake and Bake

For additional dribbling drills, see theBallhandling Drills Page.

Basic Fundamentals of Dribbling

There are a few fundamentals to remember when dribbling. First is that you should practice dribbling with either hand. To be a good dibbler, you must be able to dribble with your 'weak' hand as well as your 'strong' hand. (Your strong hand is the one you write with). Dribbling is the act of bouncing the ball on the court.

Rules on Dribbling: You may only dribble with one hand on the ball at a time. If you dribble with both hands at the same time, this is called double dribbling, and it is not allowed. In a game, the referee will give the ball to the other team. Also as long as you keep dribbling, you may move about on the court. Once you stop dribbling, called pulling up your dribble, you must stop where you are. If you continue walking around without dribbling, this is called walking, or travelling, and it too is not allowed. Again, the referee will give the ball to the other team. Another rule pertaining to dribbling is another form of Double Dribble. Once you stop your dribble, you may not start dribbling again. The only things you may do with the ball once you stop dribbling are either SHOOT or PASS. To start dribbling again is against the rules, and the other team will be given the ball. This is why:

  1. When a teammate passes you the ball, never dribble it right away

  2. dribble only if you are driving to the basket for a layup, or

  3. dribble only if you are moving to get off a pass or shot.

Always dribble with a reason. Don't just dribble around if it doesn't get you anywhere. A few time rules involving dribbling are as follows:
  1. On a ball passed in at the far baseline, you have 10 seconds to cross halfcourt line
  2. Once across halfcourt line, you may not cross back over it. This is Backcourt Violation
  3. Once across halfcourt line, you have 5 seconds to advance the ball. If not, this is Midcourt Violation

Tips on Dribbling
  1. Use fingertips only on the ball. Avoid using the palm of your hand
  2. Stay low to the ground, knees bent, back straight, head up above shoulders
  3. Dribble should never go higher than your waist when not guarded
  4. Dribble should never go higher than your knee when you are being guarded
  5. Keep your head up and avoid looking at the ball
  6. Use your other hand to keep defenders off. Turn your palm out
  7. Try not to turn your back on the defense as you dribble
  8. Keep the dribble to the side where you won't kick the ball away
  9. Move the ball toward your back foot more as you approach the defense.
  11. The LOWER you dribble when guarded, the HARDER FOR DEFENSE to steal it

Crossover Dribbling Drill

In this drill, you will receive practice in being able to dribble with either hand, as well as dribbling around defenders keeping your body between the ball and the defender. In the drawing above, the little black circles show you what side of your body the ball should be as you pass the defense (the X's). The curved line shows you how you should weave around the defenders. The cross lines at A and B show you where you should cross the ball over to the other hand. Start off by crossing the ball in front of you without kicking it. Just dribble the ball on the outside instead of on top and dribble it across your path. As you become good at this, try dribbling the ball between your legs as you move to cross it over. Once you can do that well, cross the ball behind your back. Remember keep your head up, knees bent and back straight, and dribble no higher than your knee, as you pass the defenders. At first the 'defenders' can be cones or chairs. Later on, replace them with live players, but the players where they may jab at the ball, may not move from their spot.

Open Court/ Closed Court Dribble Drills

First of all, what does Open Court and Closed Court mean?

"Open Court" is the technique for dribbling the ball when there are no defenders guarding you closely. You can dribble the ball as high as your waist. If you go to high, you may start carrying or palmingthe ball. This is where you dribble the ball from under the ball instead of on top. You may also lose control of the ball, because the ball (filled with air as it is) will bounce higher and higher going farther and farther away, to a point where you just couldn't catch up to it if you had rockets tied to your shoes. While the Open Court Dribble, is a SPEED dribble, you must keep control of the ball. Therefore, no higher than the waist please. In open court, you can dribble more from behind the ball, 'pushing' it slightly ahead, and running to catch up to it.

The "Closed Court" is the technique for dribbling is used when you are being guarded closely. This is not a speed dribble, but a more controlled dribble. Lower the ball to knee-high as it will be harder for the defense to steal it. The lower the dribble, the harder it is for the defense to steal it. Again keep the head up, back straight and knees bent. Keep your body between the defender and the ball. If you are being double-teamed (guarded by two defenders trying to sandwich you in), it's probably best to look for your open teammate and pass the ball off.
Some Drills For Your Dribbling Pleasure

  1. Dribble full speed ahead (open dribble). Have a friend jump in your path. Come to a "jump stop" and change to closed dribble
  2. Open dribble to halfcourt, Closed Dribble backwards to near foul line, Open Dribble to far foul line, Closed Dribble backwards to halfcourt, Open dribble to far baseline

Dribble the Lines Drill

This drill is a speed dribble drill. In the diagram above, you start out in the lower left corner, dribble the sideline to halfcourt, across the halfcourt line to the other sideline, and so on following the arrows. Note you dribble the halfcourt line twice. Start dribbling using the same hand all the way around until you are comfortable with it, and can do it well. Don't forget to do it with your weak hand as well. Once you can do it at a fast speed, try switching hands wherever you turn a corner. You can use the crossover in front, crossover between the legs, or crossover behind the back. The better you become, keep your time for one lap around, and try to improve on it each day.

The Spin Move

This is a move that you can use if the defender has you stopped at a sideline or anywhere. It allows you to continue by him as long as you do not panic and pull up your dribble. Remember KEEP DRIBBLING unless you can pass the ball off or take a shot. This drill will involve crossing over from one hand to the other, as well as spinning your body around. Since tou must step into the defender closely, keep the ball no higher than your knee, kee your head up, back straight, and knees bent. This is a little tricky so I'll go through it step-by-step.
Dribbling with your right hand will mean that you want to go by the defender to the left side using your left hand to dribble with. Here's how:
  1. Dribble up in front of the defender with ball in right hand
  2. Step in to the defender with your LEFT foot
  3. Swing your RIGHT foot around so that defender is behind you to your right. Get that right foot around him.
  4. At the same time, switch the ball from your right hand to your left. Note: As you spin, the left hand will automatically keep the dribble while the right hand swings around to ward off the defender
  5. Bring the ball around to your side with the left hand, and dribble away
  6. Note: Don't let the defender steal the ball from behind

This drill should be practiced slowly until you see how it works. As you become more comfortable with it, you can speed it up. Practice it often and add it to your arsenal of moves you can use against the defense.
If you are coming into the defender dribbling with your left hand, follow the same steps above except replace the word 'RIGHT' with 'LEFT', and replace the word 'LEFT' with 'RIGHT'.

The Shake & Bake

This is a move that will allow you to move by a defender with a jab step and change of speed. Again, do not panic and pull up your dribble because you cannot go by anyone if you're not dribbling. This move is somewhat simple, and doesn't take much explanation. If you are dribbling with your RIGHT HAND, dribble up to the defender, step into him with your LEFT FOOT. This stepping in is called a jab step. Rock back. As the defender steps, take the LEFT FOOT (the same foot you used to jab), and step around the defender, putting him on your LEFT SIDE. Keep dribbling with the RIGHT HAND. Leave him in the dust. If he doesn't step up when you rock back, use the spin move. Again, if you are dribbling with the left hand instead of your right as you come to the defender, follow the same steps except switch the words RIGHT and LEFT (capitalized above).