Dribbling

Dribbling is another fundamental part of basketball. Players who can effectively dribble can break down a defense nearly by themselves. These players can be given the ball when the defense has spoiled the play, and they can create a shot on their own. It is important that coaches push their players to become ambidextrous in relation to dribbling. Players who can only dribble with one hand effectively can be shut down and forced to go to their weak hand, which can result in a turnover or low percentage shot. There are many moves and fundamentals players can focus on to improve their dribbling.

Hand placement is an important aspect of controlling the basketball while dribbling. Proper hand placement is shown by the forefinger being placed on the top of the ball, facing the direction the player is headed in. Without proper hand placement, players could struggle to control the ball, resulting in turnovers.

A player’s fingers are the most important aspect of controlled dribbling. Players should use their fingertips to dribble effectively, doing this increases the ability to make quick movements. Coaches should explain to players that dribbling with their palms is incorrect, it can lead to less control of the ball, even though it may seem easier. A good way to explain this to youth players would be dribbling with fingertips would be like a spider web around the ball, while dribbling with the palm is like hitting the basketball with a pan.

Dribbling height is very important in-game. The ball should be dribbled no higher than the player’s waist. The ball should also be dribbled to the side of the players body, and slightly in front of the back foot. Doing so makes it harder for the defender to steal the ball. The higher and more out in front a player dribbles, the easier it is for the defender to steal the ball since it is closer to them. When doing space creating moves such as a crossover, behind-the-back, hesitation, it would be beneficial to keep the ball lower than the waist since the ball is going to need to cross past the defender.


There are some basic dribble moves that can be used to penetrate, or create separation between the offensive and defensive players. The most commonly used, as well as the most simple, is the crossover. If the player is dribbling they simply cross the ball over to their opposite hand by taking a dribble in front of their body. In order for this dribble move to be successful, it needs to be quick and low to the ground. The higher the ball is, and the slower the dribble move, the more likely the ball is to be stolen. Players can also utilise the crossover between their legs, and at different angles to create separation.

Another dribble move would be behind-the-back. In order for the behind the back to be effective, it again needs to be low and quick, or the defender will anticipate the movement. This move is simply a crossover, but behind-the-offensive players back. This move can be used in many different situations. One version of the behind-the-back is referred to as a wrap around, normally used in transition, the player wraps the ball around their back and dribbles it to the other side of their body. This move is best when running down the court. Another way the behind the back is used is in the half court, and is referred to as a snatch-back. For this move players would drive to the basket, and then pull the ball back and stop their body from moving forward. This move creates space between the player and their defender, while keeping the ball away from the defender by keeping it behind their back. There is also a stationary behind-the-back, which is simply a crossover behind the player’s back.

The hesitation is the last of the three main dribble moves. To do the hesitation the player should simply shuffle their feet, and push the ball outwards from the hand they are dribbling with. This dribble move could also involve the move referred to as in and out. To complete this move the player fakes as if they are going to crossover, but then does the hesitation move. The hesitation move is a good change of pace move to the quick crossover and behind-the-back.

In Argentina there is a very popular dribbling drill that is simple to do, meaning it can be utilized at all levels. Players line up on the half court line going along with the width of the court. All players do stationary dribbling. The players in the center of the court are dribbling, they break towards the basket and at the three point line do a dribble move or combination of dribble moves, finishing with a layup and getting back in line. This drill can be used at all levels due to its simplicity, it is also loved by most players because it keeps them dribbling for the entirety of the drill, not standing around.

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