The Importance of the Back Up Dribble and How It Reduces Turnovers Against Pressure.
How many times have you seen a player dribble up into a trap and...
- Try to dribble through the trap
- Throw the ball away
I'm sure you see this quite often and more times than not, the results are not good.
With the player's and coach's goal of advancing the ball, we sometimes forget the old saying, "Sometimes, you need to take 2 steps backwards in order to take 3 steps forward."
Let's go back to the first situation where the player dribbles into the trap. Instead of stopping, the player could take two hard back up dribbles to create space. When space has been created, the player can:
Cross the ball over quickly and dribble towards the middle of the court.
Explode by the defender up the sideline if it opens up. That's a little more risky, but if you have smart ball handlers, they'll be able to recognize when they can do this.
Throw a pass over the trapping defenders. Make sure that the player does not float backwards when throwing the pass. This will result in a soft pass that can result in a turnover.
When performing the back up dribble, the player needs to be:
Exploding backwards and covering a lot of ground. If they are not explosive, the defenders will easily be able to recover.
Protecting the ball and facing forwards. Do not turn your back to the defenders while dribbling backwards.
There are situations where doing this move would be a bad idea such as when you've just crossed half-court and the back up dribble would result in an over-and-back call, or it's been 8 or 9 seconds and you need to get the ball across half-court before a 10-second violation.
Teach the move by using this drill below:
Line your players along the baseline in 3 or 4 lines. Have them dribble to the free throw line, take two hard dribbles backwards, then explode forward with the dribble.
Perform this move 4 times down the court. At the free throw line, half-court, opposite free throw line, and the end of the court.
After the first line has almost reached half-court, start the next group in line.
After that, you can progress to the crossover move.
Tip for first time running through this drill:
Have two players or coaches act as defenders that would trap the dribbler near the sideline. After that, the players will have a better understanding how the situation would present itself and the footwork they would need to use when practicing the dribble without defenders.
Another way to work on the back up dribble would be to line them up across the baseline and have them back up dribble the length of the court as fast as they can.
For a press breaker play, you can reference the Line Press Breaker.
Here's a drill to do it by yourself or with limited space:
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