Is This Contradicting Advice on Over-Dribbling?
On Twitter, I recently posted, "In basketball, the dribble is the most abused skill."
And I got this response:
"It's a weird thing where you have to be able to handle and develop that ability, in order to instill confidence...but then try to use as little as possible in the game."
I think this response is referring to the advice in this article:
Gravity and Teaching Youth Basketball Skills
So here are some additional thoughts...
1 - My original post was directed at players typically middle school to high school age who dribble way too much and stagnate the offense.
Envision the player who sits at the top of the key and takes 10 to 20 dribbles just trying to cross somebody up.
And at times, they even cross somebody up, but they don't go anywhere. They don't create any separation...
This is bad basketball! And it's guaranteed to stop you from reaching your potential.
2 - My point is less about using the dribble as little as possible and more about being effective and purposeful with the dribble!
Are you attacking with the mentality to score? If you see a lane, are you getting there quickly?
Are you dribbling to create a better passing angle?
Are you dribbling to position yourself to break pressure?
If nothing is open, are you immediately looking to pass the ball?
If a teammate has a better scoring opportunity, are you passing the ball?
When you sit there and dribble without a purpose, it lets the defense get set and it allows them to rest.
3 - Youth players under the age of 13 will dribble more!
Yes... youth players will dribble more because they are smaller and have less experience. It takes more dribbles to cover as much ground as bigger, older players.
Also, due to experience and strength, they tend to dribble more than pass. It's harder for them to pass the ball due to strength and coordination.
Even if they see an open teammate, they will struggle to pass the ball to them in time before the defense recovers. There are fewer opportunities to succeed. Just another reason I believe 3v3, lower hoops, and smaller basketballs are best for these age groups.
However, you still want to teach them good dribbling habits. Things like...
Dribble to score.
Dribble to create a better passing angle.
Don't just catch and dribble.
So you should still do a ton of dribbling drills in practice, but you also want to teach them how to be effective and purposeful with the dribble!
Hopefully, this explanation helps clear things up a little.
Reply to this email and let me know what you think!
Also, here are some additional resources for better dribbling and ball handling...
What do you think? Do you have other ideas? Comment below!
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