Dribbling is an essential basketball skill that every player needs to learn. It’s often the first skill that a basketball player learns. While dribbling may seem easy, it’s a very complex skill that takes a lot of practice to master. If you can’t dribble, you can’t play – even if you’re a big man who likes to play in the post. The ability to dribble opens up the game and allows you to create scoring opportunities.
In this blog post, we will explain the basics, such as rules, dribbling types, and different dribble moves. We’ll also give you tips on improving your dribbling skills.
What is Dribbling in Basketball?
Dribbling is the process of bouncing the ball on the floor while you move during a basketball game. It is one of the fundamental basketball skills because it allows you to keep control of the ball while you are moving around the court looking for scoring opportunities.
According to FIBA, dribbling starts when the player in control of the live ball throws, taps, rolls, or bounces it on the floor of the playing court before anyone else touches it. At this point, the ball is in a state of live dribble, and the player can no longer pick it up.
You can only dribble with one hand at a time, and you must keep your hand on top or sides of the ball, never at the bottom. A live dribble ends when the player in control of the ball either holds it with two hands or lets it rest in one hand.
Players who have ended their dribble may no longer restart their dribble. Instead, they must either pass the ball to a teammate, shoot it, or risk a turnover. However, if a live dribble is interrupted because a defender touches it and causes a fumble, he may reinitiate a live dribble if the ball-handler recovers it.
Dribbling is one of the two main ways of probing the defense for a scoring opportunity, with passing being the other. When you dribble, you are in control of the ball and can decide how to attack the defense. This makes dribbling a critical skill for any player to learn.
What are the Different Types of Dribbling?
There are two types of dribbling in basketball: stationary and moving. Stationary moves are those in which the player does not move his feet while dribbling. This includes moves like the crossover, between-the-legs, and behind-the-back. The typical goal of a stationary dribble is to keep the defense guessing what you will do next. Sometimes, stationary dribbles may even provide a kind of rhythm for the dribbler to make a jump shot.
On the other hand, moving dribble moves are those in which the player uses a combination of quick footwork and ball-handling to beat his defender. This can include moves like the spin move and the hesitation move. Typically, moving dribbles aim to get the dribbler past their defender on their way to attack the basket.
Importance of Ball Handling in Basketball
Dribbling is just one skill of a broader basketball skill set. Together with other skills like passing, catching, and basketball decision-making, they make up what is called ball-handling. A player who can’t handle the ball well will have difficulty playing at a high level.
You can effectively find scoring opportunities for both yourself and your teammates by being a good ball-handler. So, if you’re trying to become a better offensive player you should actually be asking yourself how to get better handles in basketball. By improving your dribbling, you will become not only a better ball-handler but also a better all-around player.
What are the Most Effective Basketball Dribble Moves?
The most effective basketball dribble moves can get you past your defender and into a position to score. These include the crossover, between-the-legs, spin move, and hesitation move.
To execute a crossover, you will need to switch the ball from one hand to the other quickly. The move can be used as a stationary or a moving dribble. This will create space between you and your defender, allowing you to take an open shot or drive the basket. One player who has turned the crossover into a deadly signature move is Allen Iverson. He often exaggerates his crossover in a way that makes his defenders think he’s going in one direction until he changes hands and shifts quickly to the other. He even executed a well-placed crossover on none other than Michael Jordan himself, one of the best perimeter defenders ever to play the game, and swished and swished a jump shot in his rookie season.
The between-the-legs move is similar to the crossover in that it also involves switching the ball from one hand to the other. However, you will bounce the ball through your legs instead of crossing over in front of you. And like the crossover, this can also be used as a stationary or moving dribble. The between-the-legs dribble is often used when a defender plays tight on the dribbler. This is because a dribbler’s leg essentially protects the ball from getting swiped as the dribble changes hands.
The behind-the-back dribble is one of basketball’s flashiest and most effective moves. To execute this move, you will need to switch the ball from one hand to the other while also moving it behind your back. The behind-the-back, like the crossover and the between-the-legs, can be done as a stationary or moving dribble. The key to making this move effective is timing. It would help if you were quick enough to switch the ball behind your back before the defender could react. In addition, players often use it to get around a defender who is playing too close as it uses your body to protect the ball as you change hands.
The spin move is another effective way to get past your defender. To do this, you must spin your body while quickly dribbling the ball. It’s categorized as a moving dribble, requiring dribblers to move in one direction before spinning the other way towards another direction to fake out your defender. This will create space and confusion, allowing you to take an open shot or drive the basket. Players often execute the move when defenders are pressuring them while in motion.
The hesitation move is another effective moving dribble because it uses the momentum of the dribbler’s body against the defender. To execute this move, you will need to first dribble the ball hard in one direction before quickly stopping and changing directions. This sudden change in speed and direction will cause your defender to hesitate, allowing you to take an open shot or drive the basket. Players utilize the hesitation when they want to create space to either launch a jump shot or attack the basket.
So, want to take your dribbling skills to the next level? Here are some tips that can make you a better dribbler right away:
- Use your fingers, not your palm, to control the ball. Doing this will give you more control and allow you to change directions quickly.
- Keep your head up while dribbling. You’ll often see this head-up dribbling style with great point guards like Chris Paul and Steve Nash because it will help you see the court better and decide where to go next.
- Practice dribbling with both hands. Being ambidextrous with your dribble will make you a better ball-handler and make it harder for defenders to guess which way you will go.
- Initiating a dribble does not have to begin by bouncing the ball on the floor; you can do it with a jab step or a fake jump shot or pass. Doing so will help you get past your defender, who may be expecting you to bounce the ball.
- Use your body to shield the ball from defenders. You need to expect that your defenders are always on the lookout for opportunities to steal the ball, and putting your body between them and the ball is a great way to minimize that possibility.
3 Drills to Improve Basketball Dribbling
Several drills can help improve your ball-handling skills. These include the tennis ball drill, chair drill, and slalom dribble drill.
Tennis Ball Drill
You will need:
- Tennis Ball
This drill is excellent for improving your hand speed, control, and hand-eye coordination. To do this drill, you will need a partner and a basket. Have your partner throw tennis balls at you while you are dribbling. As the balls come at you, try to keep them bouncing as low to the ground as possible.
You will need:
The chair drill may seem basic, but it improves your control and ball-handling skills. First, place a chair in the middle of the key. Then, dribble around the chair, keeping the ball low to the ground. As you become more comfortable with the drill, increase your speed.
Slalom Dribble Drill
You will need:
The Slalom drill is one of the best for improving your ball-handling skills, coordination, and quickness. Place cones in a zigzag pattern down the court. Dribble the ball through the cones, and keep your head up. As you become more comfortable with the drill, increase your speed.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Improve Basketball Dribbling
Dribbling is a fundamental skill that all players need to master. It’s a common misconception that only guards need to master dribbling. However, all players need to be able to dribble as plays can develop anywhere, even in the post. So, while it’s true that dribbling is a skill often ascribed to guards, wing players and big men need to master dribbling if they want to be more all-around players.
Wing players like Jayson Tatum and LeBron James are so effective because of the combination of size, quickness, and aptitude for dribbling. This combination of physical gifts and skill allows them to shoot over smaller defenders or dribble past bigger and slower ones, making them such excellent scoring threats whenever they have the ball.
On the other hand, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embid are excellent at dribbling in the post, which allows them to create space and get open shots for themselves. And since their passing skills are on par with their dribbling, they can also get the ball to their open teammates for an open shot.
By following the tips and drills outlined in this article, you will see a significant improvement in your dribbling skills. Remember, practice is the key to becoming a great dribbler, so don’t be afraid to put in the extra work.