Dribbling in basketball is about reading and reacting to the defender’s actions. It’s among the very first skills that beginners learn when picking up this game. As they advance into the pro level, they have to continue fine-tuning their dribbling ability and integrate it into other skills to optimize their performance on the court.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of basketball dribbling drills that you can use to carve your players into a winning team. While there are no better basketball ball handling drills than others, it’s vital to customize the workouts to your player’s experience level. This means starting with basic basketball dribbling activities for starters and advancing to complex basketball handling drills as your players get better.
In line with this thought, we’ve compiled 10 basketball ball handling drills arranged from basic to advanced NBA players dribbling drills. And as you’ll realize, most of these are basketball dribble trainer drills that players can try at home. So your players can continue perfecting their skills even when they can’t access the gym or wide-open space.
These basketball player dribbling drills introduce the players to the basics of the game. They are simple and non-competitive and create a foundation upon which breakthrough basketball dribbling drills can be built.
A proper warm-up is crucial for your players before getting into actual drills. This activity will get their bodies ready for the rigors of subsequent practices. From a stationary position, let the players wrap the ball around their waist and then make another wrap around their ankles. Let them repeat this for around 30 seconds or 1 minute and then switch direction. If they were starting from right to left, they should start from left to right.
The pound dribble is a trendy move in the court today. Most advanced players use it when planning to change direction and when tricking the defender to fly past them. This move opens up a lot of possibilities from crossover to step-back and between the legs step-back. Nevertheless, it’s a simple and fun basketball dribble trainer to introduce to your beginners.
This activity involves pound dribbling the ball with the head and chest up while standing square up to an imaginary defender. Importantly, advise your players to use their entire body (arm, shoulder, and core muscles) to generate enough force for the dribbles so that the ball bounces back to their hands quickly. These quick and hard bounces are necessary to maintain possession of the ball and to make it harder for the opponent to grab it.
The players should vary the exercise by dribbling to ankle height, waist height, and shoulder height. Also, they should switch from right hand to left hand for a balanced workout.
The crossover is among the best basketball drills for better handles. This is a tactical maneuver used to maintain optimum ball control under heavy pressure when strategizing how to go past encroaching defense players. When done correctly, you’ll find it very effective in improving your player’s speed, fingertip control, and accuracy.
To perform a crossover, ask the player to stay low and dribble the ball from the right to the left and vice versa. Advice the player to keep the crossovers low in a v-like motion. This will help in keeping the ball away from the opponent’s hand, which is likely to be playing defense in their midsection.
A crossover is meant to make the player deceptive to the defender. So, have the player skip back and forth as they dribble. After mastering these basic moves, they can start doing crossovers through their legs as they skip around.
The front-to-back dribbling technique is similar to a crossover only that it involves moving the ball from the front to the back. Actually, these 2 dribble practice drills are often used together. To perform the front-to-back dribble drill, have the players bend the knee slightly and dribble the ball from the front to the back. Let them dribble for 30 seconds to 1 minute on the right hand before switching to the left-hand side.
Basketball dribbling drills with cones or other obstacles are an excellent way of building your players’ agility and footwork. Set up 5-10 cones in a straight line and have the players slalom in and out of the cones as they dribble. Another way of adding variation to this drill is to have the players walk alongside a gymnastic bench while dribbling the ball. The players can also sprint between 2 cones or run over boxes while dribbling.
In this workout activity, the players attempt to catch and throw back a tennis ball while dribbling. This drill offers your players a great way to work on their ball control and develop fluidly basketball dribbling patterns. Because it involves using both hands, it will also boost your players’ coordination and awareness of what’s happening around the ball.
To execute this drill, the player dribbles the basketball laterally with one hand and tries to catch a tennis ball thrown by the coach (or another player) with the other hand. You can add intensity to the drill by throwing the tennis over the player’s head, directly at them, or low on the ground. Let the player dribble with one hand for 30 seconds to 1 minute before switching to the other hand.
Dribbling with 2 basketballs works very well when advancing your intermediate players’ dribbling drills. Forcing your players to dribble with both hands helps in improving their weak hands. If you’ve noticed that some of your players tend to transfer the ball to their dominant hand when under pressure, this is the correct dribbling technique for basketball to deal with that crutch. Two-ball dribbling drills will probably be hard for your players the first time. But you should see a significant improvement after practicing for a few days or weeks.
There are different two-ball drills that you can integrate into your workouts:
The figure 8 basketball drill is a good workout activity for strengthening the player’s hand speed and improving their catch and passing ability. If you have some players who are regularly getting stripped, this drill might help. This is a great workout activity if you want to improve your players’ ability to dribble with both hands too.
To execute this drill, the player starts by taking a wide stance, so that the right foot is forward and the left foot is back. Next, have the player dribble the ball from the right hand to the left hand. As soon as the ball is in the right hand, the player should jump and alternate the position of the legs, so that the right foot is back while the left foot is forward. Next, he dribbles the ball between the legs again. As with other basketball dribbling drills, the player should start slow before building up speed.
Once your players get a good hang of basic and intermediary dribbling drills, it’s time for advanced ball control drills.
Named after Brooklyn Nets point guard, the Kyrie Irving Double crossover behind the back is considered one of the most iconic and effective moves in NBA history. Irvin says that this is one of his best moves when trying to get out of a difficult position. When this move is executed with precision, we’ve seen most players leave their opponent off balance giving them precious time to change pace or direction.
How to do the Kyrie Irving Double Behind the Back Crossover
The jump shot is one of the biggest weapons for most professional basketball players. This move involves shooting the ball towards the rim from a straight vertical jump. The player starts by holding the basketball in place in one hand before making the shot using the other hand.
While it’s relatively basic, the jump shot is quite complicated and it takes some time to perfect. On the upside, most defenders often have a difficult time blocking because it’s executed above their heads. This increases your team’s chances of winning.
Steps to make a jump shot
To perfect the jump shot, the players should always be aware of their range. They should also train how to make themselves a perfect target for passers. Once they receive a pass, they should try to make the shot more quickly.
Most of the leading basketball, soccer, football, and MMA coaches, trainers, and athletes are huge fans of the Blazepod training system. These Bluetooth-enabled light-up pods will add flash reflex training to your drills enabling your players to work their upper and lower body simultaneously. This is a great investment for coaches who want to add agility, speedy footwork, dexterity, and quick decision-making to their players’ skill arsenal.