7 Common Traits in Elite Level Dribbling
Fluid dribbling skills will help a player create space and separation from a defender to make impact plays. It starts with having control and feel of the basketball. This yields a player becoming an overall better ball handler and decision maker on the court. A player’s dream is to dribble the ball “on a string”. Players like Kyrie Irving, Jamal Crawford, Steph Curry and Chris Paul all have mastered this concept.
We will explore common traits that all those elite level players share drills that will fuel and tool your individual and team practices to help your players become the best at dribbling the ball with authority.
1. Stay Low, Be Athletic!
Dominate elite-level dribbling begins with a low and compact presence on the basketball court. An Athletic Stance is a key. Let's examine this position from the bottom (feet) to the top (head):
- Feet shoulder's width apart
- Legs bent at the knee area
- Butt down, hips back, and back straight
- Chest out
- Shoulders over toes
- Head up
An Athletic Stance optimizes a player's insight on how to start and stop, change directions, and speeds while dribbling. As a result, court vision and explosiveness positively influence their ability to be a threat relentlessly making plays including scoring.
2. Pound Dribble Hard
The ball is dribbled hard, smart and on purpose. The unknown “secret weapon” for hard pounds is to drive the dribbling elbow straight down when dribbling. This action causes the ball to come back to the hand quicker. Smart dribblers do not dribble idly. They always have a purpose of getting to a target or advancing the ball on the floor. All of the above allows dribbling to become consistent and reproducible. Here is a great drill to discover more emphasis and tips on the Pound dribble.
3. Weak Hand Development
We want to have players be shifty, elusive, be hard to figure out on directional and speed changes as mentioned previously. This happens when players learn how to dribble with both hands with equal distribution of power. Check out this link on Weak Hand Development.
4. Speed Dribble
The Speed Dribble is a quick push of the ball down the basketball floor. A speed dribble is like a race as we want the ball to come in first and offensive player’s body comes in second as they are chasing the advancement of the ball in a straight line. Check out the link above to show how to incorporate this drill that gives insight on the Speed Dribble.
5. Change of Directions, Change Speeds
Players that master the art of when changing directions, they ought to change speeds as well. This combination leaves an on ball defender role difficult because they have a hard time matching the speed and intensity of the dribbler. Check out this webpage on Changing Speeds with video from a former NBA player demonstrating how to effectively use change of speeds to get past any defender.
6. Hesitation Move
We describe the “best move on the move” is a Hesitation Move. It freezes your defender and makes your defender react to you. They have a hard time detecting direction and speed change ups and keeps the offensive player in attack mode to advance the basketball or to make a play themselves.
7. Off Hand Attacks/Control Dribbles
Use your offhand as an arm bar to protect the basketball from the defense reaching in looking to disrupt the dribble. When defenders are relentless or trapping, use Control dribbles to release pressure. Those dribbles are Jerk Back, Step Back-Crossover, Escape. Please click on the links and they will take you to the webpages to show the moves in action, the cues and how to use these dribbles effectively in drills.