How to get better at basketball dribbling isn’t something that can happen overnight, but it’s also not as difficult as it may seem.
Poor ball-handling skills are often the problem. While you may be amazing at handling the ball when you’re practicing at home doing drills when you’re playing in a game it can be a whole other matter. Most players simply just don’t feel very confident when they play in a real game and often struggle with handling a ball in this type of situation.
Whether you don’t have the ability to create space or get past your defenders, or you don’t have the confidence to comfortably handle the ball, there are some simple quick fixes you can try that can help to improve your dribbling skills in a matter of days.
Quick Fixes for Better Ball Handling
These quick fixes can work as the keys to better dribbling.
First, make sure you’re dribbling with your finger pads. This is pretty basic, but you’d be surprised at how many players tend to forget this rule in the heat of a game. Dribbling with your finger pads will give you the best control over the ball while your dribbling. Never dribble with the palm of your hand or your fingertips. The way the basketball is placed in a player’s hands while they dribble should be similar to the hand placement they use when they shoot the ball.
Instead of smacking at the ball with the palm of your hand or delicately handling it with your fingertips, use the pads of your fingers for a smooth push. Doing so ensures that the ball will hit the ground in the right spot and come right back to you.
Our next tip involves pounding the ball harder. Remember, the longer the ball is out of your hands, the easier it is for the defending player to snatch it away.
Using Enough Force
When you dribble the ball with more force, it hits the ground faster and also returns to your hand faster. You’ll have more control of the ball the less time it’s out of your hands. Focus on training your muscle memory to use more force. Regardless of the type of drills you normally do, you should always dribble as hard as possible.
Getting Low and Staying There
It may sound simple, but getting low is harder than it sounds, and often, the lower player wins. As an offensive basketball player, you’ll want to beat your opponent with a shoulder to their hip. But this isn’t easy. You’ll need to focus on mobility, stability, and strength in order to be able to move and play using a much lower stance. However, doing so is vital when it comes to controlling the ball like a pro.
What is Dorsiflexion?
Dorsiflexion is the backward flexion of the foot, so the player is jumping and running off the ball of the foot, which is the most powerful part of the foot. You may have heard this term used during a discussion about vertical sprinting and jumping. For young players, this concept may be difficult to grasp, but basically, it involves making moves and running on the balls of the feet as opposed to the toes. But dorsiflexion can make any player’s moves more explosive.
It can actually instantly increase a player’s vertical jump as well as their first step speed.
Focusing on Footwork
Controlling the ball is all about changing directions, speeds, and mastering footwork. When we say footwork, we’re referring to using different types of moves such as crab dribbles, scissor moves, and hesitations in order to keep the defending player on their toes. You don’t have to be the most athletic player or the fastest. If you master footwork you can quickly change up your speeds and moves and keep a defending player guessing.
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In the beginning, you learned how to first dribble the ball with one hand, then how to alternate hands, progressing to more advanced dribbling techniques. As a player, an effective and powerful way to keep a defender on their toes is to simply become a more threatening offensive player. This is done by improving your dribbling technique. Learning how to power dribble can totally change the way you play ball.
The basic power dribble involves dribbling the ball at an intense rate. During this time the player maintains their normal posture and form, but they use their muscles to forcefully thrust the ball down. We briefly touched on improving ball handling by using more force, but in order to perfect this move and to get optimal control over the ball, you need to practice some drills. The drills we’ve included will not only help to perfect your dribbling, but they can also help you to gain agility and the confidence to handle the ball using sheer muscle power and focus.
Crossovers: Start off power dribbling using your right hand, then bounce the ball quickly to your left. Now, power dribble with your left hand for ten seconds before you bring the ball back to your right.
Blindfold test: For this drill, take a bandana and blindfold yourself or just close your eyes. Trying power dribbling the ball for one minute. This drill can help a player to improve their tactile sense of the basketball. The drill can also be enhanced by trying it in the center of a basketball court and walking while dribbling. Dribbling with two balls can make the drill even more challenging.
Fifteen-to-five repeats: This challenging drill will exercise power dribbling with only one hand at a time. Try power dribbling for fifteen seconds, then switch to soft dribbling for five seconds. This should be repeated several times. This drill will teach the arm muscles how to easily switch between different dribbling speeds.
Begin with just one or two of these exercises and then move on to more challenging workouts once you feel that you’ve mastered each drill. Additionally, these drills can also be modified so they’re more challenging by increasing the number of sets and reps. How to get better at basketball dribbling is all about switching up your drills and techniques in order to continue to challenge your body so you can enjoy better, faster results.