4 Ball Handling Tips from the Nike National Skills Academy (VIDEO)

By Joe Haefner

This is a short video taken from the Nike National Skills Academy. Kevin Eastman who is an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics is shown throughout the video. If you look closely, you’ll also notice players like Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Sherron Collins, and other great players from their high school days that are currently at the collegiate level and in the NBA.

4 Ball Handling Tips From the Video:

1. Hold position, be strong

Too often, many players let a little contact throw them off their game. The first drill in the video is meant to get players to handle the ball and maintain their ground through contact.

2. Crossover outside your knee

In the video, Coach Eastman says to cross outside your knee to keep it more game-like. It’s crucial to do this, because it keeps the ball away from the defender after you cross over.

3. Use eyes to sell fakes

Eyes up to shot fake – Before you shoot the ball, you usually look at the rim. By looking at the rim, this helps sell your shot fake because the defensive player thinks you are about to shoot. When I played, I rarely pump faked. I aggressively set my feet, focused on the rim, and put the ball in shooting position. By putting the ball in my shooting position and aggressively setting my feet, I could often drive by defenders, because they would often close out too hard or jump because it looked like I was going to shoot. If they did not close out hard, I pulled up for the jump shot.

Eyes down to shoot – If you put your eyes down, the defensive player thinks you are going to drive and that may cause the defender to give you some cushion which opens up the jump shot.

4. Get out of your comfort zone

In order to get better, it’s crucial to challenge yourself and make mistakes. To me, this is one of the biggest problems with youth and high school players. Too many players are worried about how they look when they practice. That was one of my biggest problems in high school as well. I didn’t like to make mistakes, so I never pushed myself outside of my comfort zone.

If you practice only things that are comfortable, then you will never improve very much.


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  1. Jedivid — January 7, 2010 @ 7:51 am

    These are really good tips for anyone whos is playing basketball. Video is great and clear. Lots more please

  2. Ariel Rabe — January 8, 2010 @ 1:57 am

    No. 4 tip I believe is the most important. A lot of outside of one’s comfort zone exercises (mental and physical) and drills can really make or unmake an aspiring basketball player. The video is really a great input.

  3. John — March 5, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

    Nice video, I agree tip 4 is definitely the most important

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