Excellent ball control is one of the biggest advantages a basketball player can have, and youth basketball is a great place to develop these skills. For professional basketball players, dribbling is second nature and the ball becomes an extension of their hand. Your options on the basketball court are unlimited once you can move freely while dribbling the ball, allowing you to concentrate on scoring and making plays. Here are some simple drills suitable for youth basketball which will help with your ball control and dribbling.
Dribbling is an essential skill in basketball that can only be improved with practice. As well as these drills, practicing at home on a flat surface as often as you can will help make dribbling and ball handlings feel natural.
Power Dribble Crossover
Power dribble the ball in your right hand for about 5 seconds, then cross over to your left and power dribble for another 5 seconds. Crossover back to your right hand and repeat.
10 – 5 Repeat
Power dribble in your preferred hand for 10 seconds, then slow down for 5 seconds. After 60 seconds, switch hands.
Power Dribble Sprints
From the baseline, run while power dribbling to the foul line before returning to the baseline. Then, dribble to the middle of the court and back. Finally, dribble all the way to the other baseline and return. One cycle counts as one rep. This drill assists in ball control while sprinting and changing direction.
Set up 3 chairs or cones in a line. Then, choosing whatever pattern you wish (circle, figure 8), power dribble around the cones. After a few minutes, change up your pattern.
Dribbling the ball low will help you protect the ball from being stolen. Find a regular-sized table, enter a basketball stance then dribble under the table. As well as keeping the ball low, it will help your ability to dribble without looking at the ball.
Footwork is the foundation of any basketball skill, improving footwork will improve all aspects of your abilities, especially for youth basketball players.
Excellent for starting a driving lay-up or a step-back jumper. From a low stance, jump as far as you can off one leg, landing on the other and maintaining balance. Bring your knee up during your initial jump to increase distance. With enough practice, this can be done in any direction.
Practicing pivoting will help you get into an advantageous position to score during games and protect the ball. Find a place on the court where the lines intersect at 90-degree angles to form a “+”. Put your left pivot foot in the centre of the + and assume a ready stance. While holding the ball in a protected position (with the elbows up), move your right foot 180 degrees from one side to the other side of the line, making sure to keep your pivot foot touching the ground. The ball of your pivot foot should be the only thing touching the ground while you move. Practicing this drill often will help with conditioning.
This big man favourite can help you get the jump on your defender. From your stance, pivot in the direction you want while using your opposite knee to bring your shoulder, hips and foot across your body in that direction. Combine this with the jump-step, and you’ll be able to cover more distance.
It’s important to not only practice with both hands but to keep your head up and avoid looking at the ball while dribbling when practicing drills. Including these drills in your basketball training and repeating them often will result in a huge improvement to your basketball abilities.