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Dribbling and Ballhandling

Basketball Dribbling and Ball Handling Fundamentals

Most coaches use dribbling and ball handling interchangeably. Though they are linked, the 2 skills are definitely separate.

Dribbling and controlling the ball is a skill that can be practiced alone and is separate from the other ball skills on the court. Ball handling, however, involves knowledge of the game and integrates dribbling, passing and decision-making.

Practicing and improving your dribbling is a simple task. There are innumerable dribbling drills that are in use today that are challenging and effective. The set of drills that have come to be known as "Maravich Drills," (after the late ball-handling wizard Pete Maravich) are widely known. They include drills such as passing the ball around your body, dribble figure 8s, spider dribbling, drop and catch.

Practicing and improving your ball handling requires imagination, as you have to put yourself in game situations.

9 Tips To Improve Your Dribbling & Ball Handling


Here are 9 tips from pro coach Don Kelbick.

  1. Dribble the ball hard. The more time the ball spends in your hand, the more control you have of the ball. The harder you dribble, the quicker it gets back in your hand.

  2. Head up at all times. Look at the rim or a spot on the wall during all practice.

  3. Use your finger tips to control the ball, not your palm.

  4. Use your imagination. Picture when and how you would use each of the dribbles.

  5. Teach mentality. There is too much dribbling for no reason in our game today. I like to teach that the primary purpose for putting the ball on the floor is to get a lay-up. If you don't have an opportunity, don't put it on the floor.

  6. Basketball is a game of length. Work on lengthening the dribble. Work to get your opportunities with 1 dribble. You don't beat defenses with your dribble. You beat people with your feet; you SEPARATE from your defense with the dribble.

  7. Basketball is also a game of angles. Try to move in straight lines. Whenever you make an "East-West" move (something that takes you toward the sideline), re-capture a "North-South" path (direct line to the basket) as quickly as possible.

  8. Don't do things in 2 dribbles that you can do in 1. 

  9. Practice outside your comfort zone. Experiment; go faster than you are used to, use your imagination. When working on new skills, don't be concerned with losing the ball. Just pick it up and do it again. If you practice only things that are comfortable, then you will never improve.