Gears - Change of Speed Dribbling

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Categories: Ballhandling / Dribbling  
Ages: All Ages  Youth  Middle School  High School+  

Purpose of the Drill:

This is a great skill development drill that improves dribbling ability and teaches "change of pace". Being able to change your pace/speed in a game is very important -- it keeps the defense off balance and all the great ballhandlers change their speed very well.


  • Players line of up on the baseline. Each player needs two basketballs. Explain to the players how "gears" work. When they hear you say "gear 1", they run 25% speed (a fast walk). Gear 2 is 50%, Gear 3 is 75%, and Gear 4 is 100% speed.
  • The drill starts when you say "gear 2" (you can call out what ever number you want). As players dribble down the court with two basketballs, keeping their head up, you holler out gear changes (gear 1, gear 2, etc). You might only have 1 gear change down the court and you could have 5 gear changes. You want to mix things up and get players used to changing to and from any speed. It's a challenging drill that players both love and hate. They love it because it makes them better, but they hate it because it's challenging and hard work.
  • Be sure to change from gear 4 to gear 1 often. You can also add more gears if you want.

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Fred Hoefs says:
5/1/2011 at 9:16:27 AM

I will try it this week with dutch kids in the age 12-14 years.


Jeff Haefner says:
11/11/2010 at 12:11:29 PM

I like using two basketballs for dribbling as often as I can because it allows you get twice as much dribbling practice done. I also like to make certain parts of practice hard, so the games seem easy. To get better you need to push yourself out of comfort to expand your game. Don Kelbick always says that he likes it when he sees players losing the ball in practice, that means they are pushing themselves. He encourages that in practice.

I believe there is a balance between making things hard in practice and building confidence. So I don't overload players the entire practice. I make sure they can do things they feel good about and feel a sense of success. That is very important for young players. So if you handle things properly as a coach, I think using 2 balls with 6th graders is fine. I do it all the time, but I make sure they know it's ok to lose it. And I make sure to include things that can do well and feel good about.

I would also suggest starting out dribbling stationary with two balls. Then progress to the "gears". If some players really struggle and are losing confidence, let them use one ball until they get the hang of it. And by all means, mix things up and don't feel like you always have to use two balls. This drill works well with one ball too.


Tom Heinlein says:
11/9/2010 at 9:31:56 AM

Just curious, why two basketballs per player for this drill? Is it appropriate for younger players (in my case, I'm coaching 6th graders) and wondering if it may be too difficult to dribble two basketballs and also learn to change speeds at the same time? Certainly would like to try it but wanted to get your input first.


Canny says:
10/29/2010 at 8:25:21 AM

Great Dril. I will apply it in my todays training.


Joe King says:
10/19/2010 at 12:35:02 PM



10/17/2010 at 4:10:42 PM



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