Teach The Basics First: Basketball Dribbling

Before players start shooting or even think about passing, the most basic skill to teach them is the proper way to dribble the ball. Repetition of the proper movements is key

The Basics of basketball dribbling

Begin with a properly inflated ball. Too much air causes the ball to bounce over the player’s head without much effort while a slightly deflated ball causes the player to push too hard to receive any type of bounce back.

1 When a young player tries to dribble the ball for the first time, he or she generally slaps at it with the palm of the hand. Teach the player to use the fingertips rather than the palm. The fingertips provide more control over where the ball is going and how much force is used to create the bounce.

2 The fingertips should cover an area on the ball including the top and slightly down the side. Do not have the player dribble from the middle of the side or underneath the ball. This causes a loss of control and the only way to regain the control is to turn the hand and ball over, which results in a carrying violation.

3 Have the player keep the bounce between the ground and the hip. Anything above the hip is difficult to control and also allows a defender more space to steal the ball.

4 Once these basics are mastered, then show the player how to dribble the ball next to and slightly behind the body when being guarded, and also in front of him or her when there isn’t a defender in coverage. Keeping the ball to the side and behind protects it from being stolen while keeping it in front allows the player to move quickly down the floor.

5 A young player instinctively looks at the ball as it bounces. As the player becomes more confident in the dribble, be sure the eyes are up. This allows the player to survey the floor while dribbling.

6 Instruct your player not to pick up the ball until the time comes to pass or shoot. Once the ball is picked up, the player cannot dribble again and is stuck in this spot on the floor. Defenders typically are instructed to swarm a ball handler without a dribble, which increases the chance of a turnover. If the eyes are up and the dribble remains active, your player keeps options open.

“I learned at a young age to dribble with both hands, and that allows me to be more creative when I go against bigger and stronger opponents.” Steve Nash, two-time NBA MVP 5

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