Ballhandling Drill: Dropstep Dribble

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Drill Purpose (All Ages)

This drill will improve footwork and ballhandling skills. It can be done alone or with multiple players in practice.

Instructions for Phase 1

dropstep_dribble1 (2K)
  1. Set up chair, foul line extended, facing the corner.

  2. Put a ball on the chair.

  3. Player comes out of the corner, jumpstop at the chair, pick up the ball and place it in shooting position.

dropstep_dribble2 (2K)
  1. Player then dropsteps to the basket, using the inside foot as the pivot foot, and takes 1 dribble for lay-up.

dropstep_dribble3 (2K)
dropstep_dribble4 (2K)
  1. Work both left and right side.

  2. Gradually move the chair back, constantly challenging the player to cover the distance with 1 dribble.

Instructions for Phase 2

dropstep_dribble1 (2K)
  1. When chair is sufficient distance from the basket (35 -40 feet), place a 2nd chair near the lane.

  2. Player comes out of the corner, dropsteps, 1 dribble to the 2nd chair, then a quick-change dribble for a lay-up.

dropstep_dribble2 (2K)
dropstep_dribble3 (2K)
dropstep_dribble4 (2K)
  1. As drill progresses, move the 2nd chair gradually closer to the first chair. Challenge the player to attack the first chair, no matter how close, make a change dribble, and get to the basket in 1 dribble from the second chair. This works on attack mentality, change dribbles, handling in close quarters, etc.

    This drill can be done with any pivot.

Points of Emphasis

  • Keep your head up.
  • Stay low and keep your knees bent when making your change of direction move. (This improves quickness because standing upright will only slow you down when you're ready to explode past the defender.)
  • Use your finger tips when dribbling (not your palms).
  • Work on lengthening the dribble. Work to get your opportunities with 1 dribble. You don't beat defenses with your dribble. You beat people with your feet; you SEPARATE from your defense with the dribble.
  • Practice outside your comfort zone. Experiment; go faster than you are used to, use your imagination. When working on new skills, don't be concerned with losing the ball. Just pick it up and do it again.

Solutions and Resources

For Coaches - How To Teach The Attack and Counter Skill Development System Step By Step

For Training - 300+ Drills | 80+ Workouts - Attack and Counter Workout App

Do you have any questions or suggestions for this drill? Let us know by leaving your comments...


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emma says:
2/14/2018 at 11:44:41 PM

Hi, I really love this website and it really gives me more ideas to practice on. I was wondering do you have any drills that will make me a lights out 3-point shooter, I am a 13 year old girl in seventh grade and I used to be the best shooter but everyone is slowly making progress towards me. Thanks!


Joe Haefner says:
1/13/2015 at 3:20:32 PM

Footwork is the same as these drop steps in the post, except you add a dribble:


Guinness Rider says:
1/13/2015 at 9:18:31 AM

Joe, when you say ''drop step'', could you clarify?

In the first diagram, it indicates the inside foot is going to be the right foot.

In the second, it says to use a drop step out, using the inside foot as the pivot. This I get, use your inside foot and always pivot facing the basket, be a threat, see the floor, etc.

I understand the player has the ball, pivots to the right (with a sweep), ready to shoot.

Are you making the drop step after you have put the ball on the floor? Or is that pivot I described the ''drop step'' (different from a post drop step)?

Or maybe I have it all wrong?

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
1/13/2015 at 3:19:31 PM

The drop step is the same as a drop step in the post.

In reference to diagram one, the player would come to a quick stop (jump stop) at the chair. Your body is still facing the chair towards half court.

The right foot would be the pivot foot. Then they would take their left foot and step in a direct line to the rim.

At the same time they step with their left foot, they extend the dribble. You do this prior to lifting up the right foot to avoid travels.


Jeff Haefner says:
10/29/2013 at 7:39:15 AM

Yes, it's a cross over from right to left.

Once you start going to your left, continue dribbling with your left hand until you begin shot process. As you begin to shoot you will pick up the ball and transfer to your right hand.

For the number of dribbles, it depends on the age level and skill of the player. You want to minimize dribbles and maximize distance covered with each dribble. You and the players can experiment and adjust as you go.


Lucy says:
10/28/2013 at 11:48:19 PM

Could I please have clarification? I am not entirely familiar with this language, could you please confirm if in the second stage of the drill, the changeover dribble is a cross over to your left hand? And secondly, would there be another dribble in to your right hand going forward into the shot, or is the player expected to move a left handed dribble into a right handed shot? So, two dribbles or three dribbles (when the second chair is introduced) to simplify? Thanks in advance :)


Ken says:
5/29/2012 at 9:10:56 AM

By the way - I know that this is NOT news to you.... but I would spend a lot of time on ball handling & passing.

In one of my first games a varsity coach, we got beat up pretty good because we didn't handle their press well. I told the kids after the game " This loss is on me, I didn't prepare you well enough for the press... but we will change that starting tomorrow. "

From that point on we worked on our press offense every day for 10 minutes... one day vs zones and the next m2m... I was not going to keep losing because of some Mickey Mouse press that we weren't prepared for. JMO

There are a lot of drills that you can make your kids tougher when it comes to handling the ball.


Ken says:
5/29/2012 at 9:04:33 AM

Joel -

I read this and ask myself, what was going on in the past? Middle school coaches and varsity coach didn't get along? I was in that situation as a lower level coach but the kids wanted to play here.... Even after I took over as head coach the Jr Hi coach bad mouthed our program.

He would say things like "this is the last time you will get any good coaching." IF they are hearing something like that... those kids might have a bad taste before they ever get to your school. You cant put those coaches down... but you CAN sell yourself...
Invite them to a summer camp - even if you have to let them in free.

I used to go watch some of their games when I could fit it in to my schedule.... I would definately suggest that you do that... let those kids know that you CARE about them.

I take it that you do have some kids come out for the team. Why don't you have a meeting with them and ask them what THEY think the problem is... they might enlighten you. Find out what there ideas are and make some plans - give them some ownership in the program - ask them for their help in rebuilding the program. Ask them IF there are things being said about the HS program..... Find out from those kids what they are doing in the middle schools that you aren't.... not that you have to follow them... but it might give you a few ideas.

You really are rebuilding this program... and its not going to be easy.... how many levels do you have? Are the kids you have fundamentally sound? Are the kids in the middle school fundamentally sound?

The next thing I would do is to have individual conversations with the kids that are planning on not playing.... find out what they are thinking about and why? Ask them what they would like to see in your program.

I know that I am rambling a little here, but not being there makes it tough to say do this or do that... I am just throwing out some ideas for you.

Let us know what your thoughts are now..... and GOOD LUCK


joel says:
5/29/2012 at 8:19:43 AM

in case anyone was wonerding- my first year we were mercied in 15 of 19 losses and averaged 40 turnovers/game. This year mercied 6 of 19 and averaged 31 TO/G. We won 2 games both years, so I've won more in two years than the school has in 10 years! (1-126 over a 10 year span, not including forfeits because of a lack of players)


joel says:
5/29/2012 at 8:06:47 AM

I love your site! I'm in a unique situation and was hoping for some help (why I post on this particular drill- no idea). The school I'm at hadn't won a girls varsity contest in roughly 6 years (0-63, not including forfeits). Our biggest problem is girls not playing. While they're not exactly going to make us a lights out team, our two best girls in the school my first two years have shown no desire to play. As I've looked back over the years, it's a consistent theme where girls will play through elementary and middle school and just not play in high school. How do I change a mentality and keep them interested beyond 8th grade? Our 7th grade team this year was 10-3 and already the best player from that team is talking about not playing. It's been like this for 10 years and needs to change- any thoughts?


cuckoos nest says:
5/29/2012 at 2:59:07 AM

It is a good drill for dribbling. Actually the chairs can be placed at any spot within the perimeter. The players can line up at the base line or the side lines as well.


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