Basketball

  • How to Dribble a Basketball: Get Mad Handles

    How to dribble a basketball

    Take a breath.

    Notice your breathing. You probably don’t pay attention to it because it’s just something your body naturally does.

    That’s what dribbling in basketball will become.

    In basketball, learning how to dribble is like learning how to breathe. It’s that fundamental.

    Unlike breathing though, we weren’t born already knowing how to involuntarily do it (well, an argument could be made for Michael Jordan and LeBron James).

    It takes time, patience, and drive to get mad handles.

    Here’s some tips, drills, and workouts to help you out with that:

    How to Dribble a Basketball: Get Mad Handles

    1. Ok, so how do you actually dribble a basketball the right way?

    Get in a low stance. Bend your knees slightly, square your body. Make sure to not lean as your center of gravity will be off, making you more likely to lose the ball.

    Your head should be up, and you should be looking out in front of you, not at the basketball.

    Dribble on one side of your body. This prevents defenders from stealing the ball from you.

    Also, make sure to only dribble with one hand. Dribbling with two hands is called a double dribble and is considered a violation according to basketball rules. (You can read more about double dribbling here.)

    Make sure to use your fingertips, pressing the basketball downward. Using your fingertips allows for faster dribbling speed and better ball control.

    By using your fingertips and getting in a low stance, it will take less time and distance for the ball to bounce back to you.

    For all of you visual learners, check this video out: 

     Practice this drill from the video at least 20 minutes per day. Repeat, alternating hands. Once you’re familiar with the basic dribbling stance, increase your dribbling speed. (Here’s another dribbling workout.)

     You build muscle memory when you practice a movement repetitively.

     So, increasing your dribbling speed during practice teaches your body how to move at a faster speed.

     That way you’re more likely to dribble faster come game time. 

     2. How to dribble in between your legs like no tomorrow

     You’ve now mastered the dribbling basics. Let’s get a bit more technical.

     We did mention mad handles.

     Dribbling is a key foundation to getting mad handles.

     Joe Haefner from BreakThrough Basketball says it perfectly:

     The difference between dribbling and ball handling is intent. Dribbling is the skill of controlling the ball as you bounce it to the floor. Ball handling (at least 1 aspect of ball handling) is what you do with that dribble.” 

     So, dribbling the ball between your legs builds your ball handling foundation, giving you one more option to use when you’re deciding at that moment what to do.

     Ok, so here’s how to dribble in between your legs:

     Take the ball in your right hand. Using your left foot, step to the left. As you do that, bounce the ball through the space between your feet. Your left hand should be behind the space, palm facing the basketball, ready to catch it.

     USA Basketball goes into detail about between-the-leg dribbling here.

     Also, check out these between-the-leg dribbling drills.

     3. Practice like crazy...and then practice again

     You’ve heard this before.

     But it doesn’t hurt to say it again:

     Practice like nobody’s business.

     The difference between an average player and a great player is the amount of time spent practicing.

     Practice the dribbling basics in the proper dribbling stance.

     Practice dribbling the ball in between your legs.

     Once you have these down, practice them faster...and faster...and faster.

     Because, ultimately, there’s always room to improve.

     Didn’t catch everything on this post? Here’s a summary:

    • To get into a dribbling stance: bend your knees and lower your body. Keep your body square and centered.
    • Dribble the ball using your fingertips for better control
    • Dribble on one side of your body with one hand so defenders can’t steal the ball
    • Always look forward, not at the ball
    • If your stance is correct, your dribbling should be low
    • Dribbling is based on ball control. Ball handling is based on intent.
    • To dribble in between the legs, bounce the ball through the open space with your right hand as you step to the left with your left foot.
    • Practice again, and again, and again

     For questions, comments, and opinions about how to dribble a basketball leave a comment below. Or e-mail, tweet, and/or Facebook post/message us.

     Related Posts:

     Guarantee3 Dribbling Drills 

     5 Game Changing Tips That Will Boost Your Basketball Confidence 

     What Every Parent Should Know About Basketball

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