How to Dribble a Basketball

Dribbling is how you move the basketball without passing. It allows you to move the basketball up the court. It gives you the chance to pass from a better angle. It is how you can drive to the basket for an easier shot attempt. Dribbling is a necessary basketball skill — and every dribble should have a purpose!

Good basketball players separate themselves from mediocre players by being able to handle the basketball. For beginners, it is essential to learn the correct fundamentals of dribbling. For more advanced players, it is important to further develop dribbling skills and to correct bad habits.

What habits should all good ballhandlers demonstrate? Here is a short list before we get into discussing how to dribble and how to perform a few dribble moves:

  1. Eyes up. Look up so you can see your teammates and defenders. Do not look at the basketball when you dribble.
  2. One hand. Dribble with one hand and practice with both hands equally. Dribbling with 2 hands at the same time is a double-dribble violation which gives the other team the basketball.
  3. Dribble low. Always keep the ball below waist height when dribbling. When the defense is in closer proximity, the ball should be about knee height.
  4. Protect the ball. When defended, the ball should be kept to one side of the body, not in front. Use your off hand and/or body to also protect the ball from the defender.
  5. Control the ball. The ball should be bounced with some force, but under control. If it bounces in all different directions, that’s not under control.

The following sections will detail how to dribble a basketball — from the basic dribble position to more advanced dribbling techniques. It is important to learn the basics before you attempt the more advanced dribble moves.

Basic Dribble Position

The player should be in an athletic stance or ready position…triple threat position, actually. The head is up and the knees are slightly bent.

Dribble the basketball using only the fingertips and pads of the hand. Never dribble with the palm as you will have very little control. Push the ball hard off the ground but keeping it under control and below the waist. As you improve, keep the ball below the knees. Think of your lower arm from elbow to fingertips as a pump. Using fingertips and this ‘pumping’ action, dribble the ball, receive it, dribble again, etc. Work on the timing of this action and do not include the shoulder into the dribble. If the shoulder gets involved, you start seeing this ‘bobbing’ action which is a bad habit that lessens control and quickness.

Speed Dribble

The speed dribble is used when dribbling quickly down the court. As you dribble forward with some speed, adjustments need to be made.

In the speed dribble, you are essentially running with basketball. Since you aren’t allowed to literally run with the ball, you need to dribble it. To execute the speed dribble, the body should be leaning forward (just as it does when you run). The ball is pushed out more in front of you rather than at your side. If you try to speed dribble with the ball at your side, you will either run right past your dribble or you will be slowing yourself down considerably. The ball will also be dribbled a little higher and controlled between the knee and waist area.

The idea is ‘speed’, but it also necessary to be under control. You may be able to dribble all the way to your destination or a defender may cut you off … therefore, you need to keep the ball under control so you can stop quickly if necessary.

Crossover Dribble

Once the basic dribble has been learned, players can begin learning methods and techniques of changing direction with the dribble. The crossover dribble is one of those methods.

The crossover dribble, in its’ simplest form, is a low dribble where you push the ball from one hand to the other. It is an effective ballhandling skill for getting by an opponent.

To execute the crossover dribble, bounce the ball from one hand to the other in front of the body. Keep the dribble as low as possible and do it quickly. A lazy crossover dribble can be easily stolen by an alert defender. Receive the ball with the opposite hand, shift your weight past the defender, and drive off the trail leg to blow by him.

Hesitation Dribble

The hesitation dribble is also called the ‘shake and bake’. As you approach the defender, hesitate slightly to change your speed, give a head and shoulder fake along with ‘stuttersteps’, then blow past the defender. The stutter steps are quick, choppy steps. The hesitation dribble can also be done in conjunction with the crossover. In this instance, you would perform the hesitation move, then cross the ball over and dribble past the defender.

It should be noted that in the hesitation dribble, the hand still needs to be on top of the basketball during the hesitation action. Some players develop the bad habit of hesitating while rolling the hand under the ball. That is a palming or carry violation which will award the other team the basketball.

Between-the-Legs Dribble

The between-the-legs dribble is useful when closely guarded by the defender. A crossover might not work when tightly guarded because there is little to no room in front of your body to dribble the basketball.

To perform the between-the-legs dribble, keep the basketball low. If going from right hand to left hand, put the right hand more to the outside of the ball and push it hard between separated legs. Going right hand to left hand means the left leg is in front of the right leg. Receive the ball with the left hand, push off with the back foot and dribble to the left.

This is an easy enough dribble but young players will tend to look at the ball. Work on keeping eyes up. I also see a lot of young kids pick up the front leg in order to dribble under it. That’s a bad habit that needs to be corrected quickly. Both feet should be on the floor while you push the ball between the legs. Learn to dribble low in order to perform correctly.

Behind-the-Back Dribble

Here is another dribble move that allows you to change direction while completely keeping the ball away from the defender.

To execute the behind-the-back dribble, it is important to change direction as close to the defender as possible. This is less of an explosive move than the crossover or between-the-leg dribble, therefore if you perform to far away from the defender, he’ll be able to stay with you much easier. We’ll discuss as going from right hand to left hand behind the back. The right hand should be on the side of the ball, almost cupping it, to bring behind the back. Push to the left side and receive it with the left hand. The right hand should extend as far as possible to the opposite hip in order to get the ball to the left. By extending, you make the dribble quicker thereby making your move quicker.

Beyond the 6 types of dribbles discussed above, there are several other types and combinations that can be performed. The biggest thing to remember is to always dribble with control, with eyes up, and with a purpose. Learn to dribble with correct fundamentals and the advanced moves will become that much easier!

10 Keys to a Great Basketball Defensive Stance

In order to stop the ball and deny dribble penetration, you must begin with a good stance.

If you don’t have a good stance, you won’t have a good defensive slide, and you’ll constantly be out of position and off-balance. This will enable the offense to score on you at will. EVERYTHING begins with a good defensive stance!

In the clip below from the Man To Man Defense Video with Jim Huber, he discusses critical components of a great defensive stance.

Here are 10 Keys to a Great Defensive Stance:

  1. Fronts of the Feet – A little more than half of your weight should be distributed to the fronts or balls of your feet. Heel should still be in contact with the ground.
  2. Stable Base & Feet Straight Ahead – Your feet should be pointing straight ahead. This creates an angle that allows you to provide more force against the ground.Your feet should also be slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  3. Hips Back & Knees Bent – Butt should be behind the heels and your knees should be pointing forward.
  4. Knees Inside of Feet – This helps create alignment with your lower body which enables you to explode more efficiently in any direction.
  5. Butt Down – Staying in a stable position with your butt down enables you to stay balanced and engage the glutes which is the most powerful muscle in the lower body.
  6. Shoulders Over Knees – Your shoulders should be over your knees with your chest out and back straight. You don’t want to be leaning too far forward or backwards.
  7. If you have a tendency to lean forward too much – bring your hands above your head as thes will bring your torso more upright.
  8. If you have a tendency to be too upright with your butt tucked under and knees stick too far forward, keep your hands straight in front of you as this will force you push your butt back into a better position.
  9. Hands up – Depending on the tactic (Hands out or hand up to defend shot/dribble).
  10. Eyes focused on the player’s waist or chest.

Balance is the key to a great defensive stance and guarding the ball. If you lose your balance you are beat!!!

Why You Should Find the Right AAU or Travel Basketball Team

Need a Reason to Find a Club Basketball Team?

Take it from Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Josh Smith, Dajuan Wagner, J.R. Smith, Tim Thomas and Anthony Davis– all professional players who grew up playing on an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball team.

Playing for an AAU team provides one of thebest advantages for young basketball player  looking to improve their skills and college recruiting chances. Today’s recruiters track the notable AAU basketball clubs to find the perfect recruits for their college programs.

The majority of the top basketball recruits are coming out of AAU club teams, which means if you are not a top 100 basketball recruit you need to know that coaches and recruiters are finding young talent in the club and AAU system and do something about it.

AAU programs are located throughout the country,so there should be a team in your area. The AAU basketball program as a whole is a useful resource for young athletes looking to find better competition in their area.

Remember, Joining a Team Will Not Guarantee You a Spot on a College Roster. Instead, Joining an AAU Team Will Benefit Your College Recruitment in Many Other Ways, Including:

  • Trying-out for a team will show your dedication to the sport. Making the team and being committed to the team will show college coaches you are willing to do what it takes to improve your skills and match up against the top competition in your area.
  • AAU teams give you a way to focus on advancing your basketball skills.
  • You will have the chance to completely commit to playing because most basketball club teams play year-round.
  • Providing players with opportunities to travel the country and to participate in national championships competing against the top players in your age group.
  • Joining an elite AAU basketball team will help players gain more exposure during the college recruiting process.

Playing on a year-round travel team will only improve your skill level and experience. You will be able to bring your experience back to your school team and carry it with you as you transition to college.

Before committing to any team, you should always find out as much as you can. AAU teams will require players to be AAU members. There may be additional team fees you will have to pay upon joining also so make sure you know what you are getting into before you join.

If you have further questions about joining an AAU basketball team, then leave your comment below and connect with us on FacebookTwitter, or Google+!

Top 10 Health Benefits of Basketball

Whether you are out shooting hoops by yourself, playing a game of pick-up basketball or on an elite competitive team, basketball is a great way to get fit and stay in shape. In fact, even President Barack Obama plays the game on a daily basis as part of his fitness regimen. Below, we’ve listed a few reasons why playing the game of basketball could help you stay healthy and fit.

Here are the Top 10 Health Benefits of Basketball:

  • Burns calories: Running, jumping and quick lateral movements done in basketball provide a significant amount of aerobic exercise and can burn a great deal of calories. For each hour of competitive basketball, a 165-pound person can expect to burn around 600 calories, while a 250-pound person can burn up to 900 calories.
  • Great for cardiovascular healthBasketball can help you develop cardiovascular endurance, depending on how many times play stops. Keep moving and you’ll keep your heart rate up. Building endurance can help keep your heart healthy, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke later in life.
  • Develops concentration and self-discipline: Like every other sport, basketball has rules to follow, and breaking them can result in penalties not just for you, but for your team. Practicing self-discipline helps one become more competitive yet fair and clean in their game and focused in succeeding.
  • Builds bone strength: Jumping and other physical demands of basketball help develop and improve bone health. The stronger your bones, the less likely they are to break. Weight-bearing physical activity causes new bone tissue to form, making bones stronger. Bones and muscles both become stronger when muscles push and tug against bones during physical activity.
  • Better motor skills and coordination: Free-throw shooting and jump-shooting are particularly helpful for training hand-eye coordination. Rebounding missed shots is another skill that requires a great degree of full-body coordination. The third basic basketball skill, dribbling, requires a finer degree of coordination. When first learning basketball, dribbling trains the hand-eye coordination; once that skilled is mastered, a player will no longer look at the ball while dribbling and the skill will become a pure motor coordination task.
  • Strength training: Basketball provides an excellent full-body workout and can help develop useful, lean muscle. In this physically intensive contact sport, basketball players are highly reliant on effective body positioning and the ability to maintain that position when an opponent is pushing against him. Playing good defensive basketball can develop your deltoids, traps, neck, lower back and core muscles. Strong legs aid in shooting and running, while the finer movements such as dribbling and shooting are good for strengthening your arms, wrist flexors and hand muscles.
  • Improves spatial awareness: Spatial awareness is knowing where your body is in space and time. Ever wonder why a cat always lands on its feet? Body awareness. It helps keep you in balance.
  • Mental development: Basketball requires a wide range of physical skills, but it is also a fast-paced mental game. Research on the mental aspects of basketball has revealed that players must develop a great deal of attention to quickly and accurately process what’s happening on the court and make effective decisions with the ball and on defense. During a fast-paced game, you must train yourself to constantly observe your teammates and opponents and evaluate what course of action to take in response to their actions. This can translate to helping you make quick decisions on the job and in other real-life situations.
  • Reduces stress and boosts the immune system: Decreasing your stress will help you focus and have more energy to complete tasksPlaying basketball and other sports helps reduce stress and gives players the opportunity to socialize. People who are social are less likely to have depression, and also tend to have a stronger immune system.
  • Enhances confidence: Basketball truly improves anyone’s confidence. Making good shots and being a part of a good team can increase your self-esteem and help gain more confidence. A confident person has more faith in his or her skills and can face life with a better disposition.

Being a Team Leader

Good leaders are essential to having a good basketball team. They are often times the difference between a winning team and a losing one. The question is what are some of the things that you can do to be a better teammate and leader? There are multiple things that leaders can do in order to help their team win.

Here are some tips for being a better teammate and leader:

Give it an all-out effort

Good leaders and good teammates are those who are willing to work hard for the team. The good leaders are those who are doing the best they can. Good leaders and teammates have an attitude that is about the better of the team instead of the individual. They are willing to make sacrifices if it means that it will move the team forward.

Encourage

A good leader or teammate gives words of encouragement and keeps the team positive. The great thing about encouragement is that it helps the players to play even better. Even the weakest member on the team might surprise you from a few words of encouragement.

Understands that basketball is a team sport

When one person on the team is doing good, everyone is doing good. When a teammate is down, it is important for the leader to bring that player up. A good leader or teammate will not have an endless amount of pride for what they have done but for what the team has done.

Understand mistakes will be made

It is important to understand this early on and not get too down on yourself when mistakes are made. Instead of criticizing yourself or a teammate when someone makes a mistake, simply make sure that the lesson from that mistake was learned. Looking at what everyone did right and what everyone did wrong at the end of a game helps to make it less personal.

Do not allow others to talk negatively about the team

Any personal insult against a team member should be taken as an insult against the whole team. Sticking up for that team member not only shows that you have the initiative of a leader but it also shows courage and that you are a good teammate.