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Dribbling Drills
To Develop Advanced Dribbling Skills

Effective dribbling drills pick up where instruction leaves off. Skills instruction teaches the steps involved in executing the various dribbling and ball handling moves - emphasis on basic skills and execution. But being able to perform a skill when you are alone, in the middle of a basketball court under very controlled situations, doesn't mean you will be able to perform that skill in a game, with defense hounding you and fans screaming around you.

Once players seem like they are able to perform a variety of dribbling moves with relative confidence, introduce these dribbling drills below. They aren't terribly complex, but they are a good way to help the players focus on dribbling without worrying about the other aspects of the game.

Have players perform these drills slowly at first, concentrating on their footwork and ball handling. But after a couple of sessions, players should be increasing their speed so that they are able to perform these dribbling drills at game speed.

Cones Weave

  • Set up 4 cones in a line, beginning at the end line and finishing at the half-court line - about 5 feet apart

  • Players dribble through cones, using each of the four dribbling moves listed above - i.e., crossover move at the first cone, reversal at the second cone, spin at the third, behind the back at the last

  • At the half-court line, the player turns and speed dribbles back to end line - you can have them take the ball straight to the hoop if you like, or simply dribble back to the end of the line
dribbling drill - cone weave

Move to the Hoop

  • Place a cone as defense two or three feet to the side of the key, at about foul line height

  • Players approach the cone under control, protecting the ball

  • Player performs one of the moves - either at random or as called out by the coach

  • After performing the move, the player drives hard to the hoop

  • Emphasize making the basket - performing the move won't count for anything in the game if they miss the basket

  • Repeat several times so that players get to use each move at least once

  • Then switch to perform the drill on the other side of the court, giving both hands practice
dribbling drill - move to the hoop
  • The second day you run this drill, replace the cone with a manager or coach and have them use proper defense but allow themselves to be beaten

  • The third day, have the coach / manager play harder defense - over time, increase the difficulty until the drill simulates a real game situation

  • Another alternative to using a coach or manager on defense is to rotate players into the defensive position - in this way they can practice defense while the offensive player practices his dribbling moves. Eventually this drill becomes a one-on-one drill.

Basketball crossover moves, reverse dribble, hesitation and behind the back moves, all contribute to a player's ability to get by his defender and score - a must for any player with aspirations of guard or small forward positions, and even the big men need to know how to dribble to some extent.

When coaching these dribbling drills, emphasize control before speed, and eventually control and speed. But there is no point in a player being quick if he loses the ball - if he works at improving his control, the speed and fluidity will come.

More Dribbling Drills here

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