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The Significance of Ball Handling and Dribbling Drills

Ball Handling and Dribbling Drills, Not Circus Tricks

This summer we are bringing back our popular Elite Ball Handling and Finishing program. I have always found ball handling an important part of basketball. However, I have heard many basketball skill development coaches make the case otherwise, saying that ball handling and dribbling drills are for show and do not directly correlate to the game of basketball. To some extent, I agree with these basketball trainers. There is a line that many basketball skills trainers cross when it comes to their ball handling and dribbling drills. In their efforts to stand out, they turn their drills into circus tricks that relate little to the actual game of basketball. However, if done correctly and if they relate to actual basketball, ball handling and dribbling drills are extremely important to your development as a basketball player.

It is important to note that ball handling drills and dribbling drills, although similar and related, are different skills and serve different purposes. Ball handling drills are done to develop hand strength, coordination, and hand quickness. Dribbling drills, on the other hand, focus on developing changes of direction or moves to get by a defender and create space. Either way, both ball handling and dribbling are fundamental to your development as a basketball player, building skills while developing the confidence you need to be successful on the court.

The Importance of Ball Handling Drills

When it comes to our ball handling drills at Elite Basketball Training in NJ we focus mainly on two key components: hand strength and coordination. To develop hand strength, we encourage our players to dribble the ball hard and pound it close to your body. I always mention to the players that I train, that when I coached and we saw a player who dribbled softly, we immediately trapped, often times cause a turnover. Consequently, we encourage them to put “dents in the floor” when they dribble and extend their elbows and wrists through the floor. Dribble hard enough to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Doing so will help your hand strength grow and the stronger your hands are the quicker and more controlled and coordinated your ball handling and eventually dribbling will be. I often encourage my players to use two ball drills for this in order to train both hands. Never neglect your weak hand, no matter how hard it is for you, it will ultimately make you a weak player.

The Importance of Dribbling Drills

Dribbling drills, although similar to ball handling drills focus more on change of direction moves that will separate you from your defender. However, it is important to see the correlation between the two since the stronger your hands are and the more coordinated you are the quicker your dribble moves will be. When it comes to dribbling drills we often start stationary and then work our way up to moving. Either way, our players are encouraged to keep the ball low and move it quickly while using your off hand to protect the ball. Once again, move the ball so quickly that you take yourself out of your comfort zone. Training a crossover slowly will only make you really good at having a slow crossover. Train quick and you will be quick. Finally, be sure to add movement to your drills. Learning to make your dribble moves stationary is one thing but eventually, you will need to make them on the move at game speed and that is how you need to train.

Tips for Successful Ball Handling and Dribbling

  1. Dribble hard and extend your elbow and wrist through the floor.
  2. Dribble quickly in order to develop quick moves.
  3. Keep your eyes up at all times.
  4. Stay in a low, athletic stance.
  5. Practice with both hands. Use two balls at once for this.

Interested in developing your ball handling and dribbling drills? Elevate your game and become Elite. Register today for the Elite Ball Handling and Finishing at our Training page today.


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