Players of every position should learn to dribble right-handed and left-handed without watching the ball. This enables you to have "vision" and see the entire court. To handle the ball efficiently it is important to develop soft hands. Thus, when dribbling, "push" the ball as opposed to "slapping" at it.
Uses of the Dribble
Too often too many players dribble for no apparent reason, and much of the offense breaks down. The dribble should be practiced the most and used the least of any skill. Listed below are the five proper uses of the dribble:
1. To advance the ball up the floor.
2. To escape trouble.
3. To improve the angle of a pass.
4. To create a shot for yourself.
5. To create a shot for a teammate.
Open Dribble Technique
This dribble is used in the open court when you are free from defensive traffic. Push the ball out in front and run after it, keeping it within a stride's length. The ball can be dribbled higher, near your waist, to attain more speed.
Closed Dribble Technique
Use the closed dribble in heavy traffic. The fingers and pads of your hand control the ball. The hand must stay on top of the ball. Push the ball as opposed to slapping the ball. Utilize the hand away from the defender. This will enable you to protect the ball with your body and opposite hand. Always keep the ball low at knee level and maintain a low center of gravity.
Power Dribble Technique
This dribble is used to cautiously push-step the ball up the floor. Using your body as a shield, step and slide into your defender, always keeping your body between the defender and the ball.
Tips for Great Guard Play:
Great dribblers advance the ball up the floor with their head up and eyes fixed just underneath their own basket. This allows them to “see” the floor and pass ahead if a teammate is open. Great guards also:
Handle the ball with either hand (3:1 weak hand usage in practice).
Maintain a low, ball-quick dribble in traffic.
Play hard-to-guard. Go in slow and come out fast. Change of direction equals change of speed.
Keep their dribble alive. They do not kill their dribble unless they have a pass or shot.
Avoid picking up the ball just across halfcourt or in the corners along the baseline.
Moves on the Move
80 Miles Per Hour
In order to break down a defender on the move, we encourage all players to develop a go-to move and counter move. Consider the following points as well:
1. Maintain a speed of 80 mph (80%).
2. Attack the defense right between their eyes. Go right at them!
3. Make your move a stride or two away and attack the defender’s outside shoulder at 100 mph (full speed).
4. Finally, close the gap once you get by them.
If you are dribbling with your right hand, step laterally (to the left) with your inside foot and then return to the outside as quickly as possible. Do not change hands with the dribble. However, learn to sell the defender with an inside-out dribble to compliment your inside-out footwork. Master this from both sides.
If you are dribbling with your right hand, plant your right foot and quickly cross the ball over to your left hand. When you get by the defender, keep a very low dribble and close the gap. Learn to do this tight and compact with both hands.
Dribble right at the defender, then slow down with a quiet stutter and momentarily begin to rise up, as soon as the defender freezes or becomes off balance, explode past him. Push the ball out in front with a low dribble.
Pullback Crossover Series
These series of moves are very useful at the onset of a quick double-team and/or run and jump situation. It is executed by stopping the advance of the ball on your non-dribbling foot. Pull the ball back as you simultaneously reverse pivot away from the defense. Maintain a wide, staggered stance and change hands with one of the following:
Crossover (in front of your body)
Between the Legs (very effective)
Behind the Back (advanced)
Pin & Spin Move (reverse pivot)
Fake Pin & Spin (half spin)
Step Back Move
This is one of two advanced "moves on the move". Plant your lead foot into the defender's midsection and quickly step back from the defender. The dribble must be kept alive to prevent a travel violation.
Step Back Continuation
This move requires a quick read if the defender is not off balance following the initial step back move. Rather than picking up the ball and shooting, head fake and blow-by the defender as he approaches.
Coach Hueser’s “3-Pointer”
When you penetrate and make two (defenders) guard you, kick (pass) to your open teammate.
P.O.O.P. when you are double-teamed (Pivot Out Of Pressure). Finally, when you split the trap take the ball to the floor.
Unnecessary dribbles give opponents additional opportunities to steal the ball and maintain proper defensive position.