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Basketball Dribbling Tips for Handling the Rock.

Basketball Ball Handling Metal Man

The following basketball dribbling tips should help you get a good foundation for your ball handling skills.

Why should you bother with dribbling tips? It doesn't matter how tall you are, especially when you're younger, you're going to have to handle the ball at some point or other.

If you don't have any ball handling skills, or you can only dribble with one hand, then you've only got half a game. Good defenders will expose your weakness and make you handle the ball if they know you're not comfortable doing so. Use these basketball dribbling tips to prevent that from happening.

Yes, many of the ball handling tips are basic fundamentals, but this site is intended for all players of all ages: Beginners will need this information, and more experienced players may need to come back to the fundamentals to complete their game. Players of all ages and skill levels should use these basketball dribbling tips and continue on to include some Ball Handling Drills in their training.

Basketball Driblling Tips Overview

  1. Never look down at the ball
    • Keep your eyes up
  2. Use your fingertips to control the ball
  3. Be able to use both hands to dribble
  4. Dribble with a purpose
  5. Master the fundamentals, then
  6. Master all change of direction moves
  7. Basketball Dribbling Drills
You should try to have a basketball around you whenever possible and handle it. When training, have two similar basketballs around.

You can get great basketballs at most any sporting goods retailer. I recommend the Spalding Zi/O (available from in the red box or through the link) because it's good for both indoor and outdoor use and it saves you from having to get 2 for each.

Search 29.5 for full size and 28.5 for youth or women's. For indoor and outdoor you can also search "composite."

Keep Your Eyes Up
Any time you ask someone for basketball dribbling tips, one of the first things you will hear is to keep your head and eyes up. You don't want to be looking down at the ball because you won't be able to see the defense, the basket, or your teammates when they get open. The time it takes you to lift your head up and look, no matter how short, may be the difference between a turnover, assist, or basket for you.

You can also improve your vision for while your handling the ball by going to the sports vision page.

BBT&T Recommends:

Under the "Basketball" link at JumpUSA.
An inexpensive training aid to help with your handles.
Use Your Fingertips for Ball Control The second of the basketball dribbling tips is to control the ball with your fingertips. If you use your fingertips instead of your palms then you will have much better control over the ball. Using your palms will most definitely cause you to turn the ball over because: 1)you won't be able to keep the ball as low to the ground if you use your palms instead of your fingertips, and 2)the defense will be able to slap the ball away much easier.

So, to better control the ball, use your fingertips. Strengthen them, to, by doing ball handling drills with a heavier ball or medicine ball. You can also do fingertip push ups in which you perform a regular push up but on your fingertips instead of with your palms on the ground.

Be able to use Both Hands to Dribble
This is perhaps the most important of the basketball dribbling tips. If you can't go to both hands to dribble, then you've severely limited your offensive game. You should be able to use both hands equally well so that the defense can't anticipate where you're going to go.

There are a few things that you can do to help you achieve this. The most effective, though, will be to perform a number of ball handling drills that involve two ball dribbling. This is when you are using one ball in each hand to do a drill. The other is to practice twice as much with your "weak" hand until it isn't "weak" anymore!

Training Aid:
Get yourself or your young athlete 2 basketballs at any sporting goods store or see basketballs below.

Dribble with a Purpose
Basketball dribbling tips isn't just about how to dribble, it's about why to dribble, to. You want to dribble with a purpose, not just show off your ball handling skills and waste a lot of time dribbling around.

Here is why you should dribble:

  1. To advance the ball up the court.
    Usually done by the point guard, advancing the ball up the court can't always be done by passing alone. So the first purpose of dribbling is to get the ball to your side of the court either running the break or to get the offense set.
  2. To drive to the basket.
    You can't always rely on the jumper, so putting the ball on the floor may be a good idea to get a higher percentage shot or get to the charity stripe. Even when driving to the basket, minimal dribbles should be used. You can actually get to the rim with one dribble from the 3-point line if your doing it with a purpose.
  3. To set up a better pass or shot.
    The final reason to use your dribble is to get a better angle on a pass to avoid defenders or to set up a better shot for yourself. You may not quite have the passing lane you need to get the ball down low, for example, but if you take a quick dribble to the right or left you may give yourself a much better passing lane and increase your chances of getting an assist. Similarly, you may not have a great look at the basket but can get a better look with a quick dribble or may need to dribble to the open spot after you put up a quick shot fake.

Use the above basketball dribbling tips to become a more efficient, and therefore, more difficult to stop, offensive force.

Master the Fundamentals.
I know you may be looking for basketball dribbling tips to impress the crowd, but you can't do any of the fancy behind the back, between the legs moves that you see in the NBA or street ball if you haven't mastered the fundamentals first: You have to crawl before you can walk.

You basically want to start standing still and get comfortable dribbling with each hand using a control dribble. Then step it up and do ball handling drills at full speed. In general you want to control the ball with your fingertips, as discussed earlier, and keep the ball low while keeping your head/eyes up.

You should also master the cross over, the most fundamental of the change of direction moves. It does require the most space, though, as if it is done too close to a defender they can knock the ball away from you.

Start out by stepping away from the direction you want to go. Then, keeping the ball low and in front of you, dribble the ball with one hand at an angle toward the other hand and you can now go the opposite direction by pushing quickly off of the foot you just stepped away with.

Master all Change of Direction Moves
The last of the basketball dribbling tips sounds simple, but you also don't want to use them when unnecessary.

  1. Cross Over
    The best, and most effecive, is the cross over as described above.

    It may be before your time, but have you ever heard of Tim Hardaway's "Killer Cross Over." It is the most fundamental change of direction dribble that Hardaway mastered and broke many ankles with (metaphorically speaking, of course). It wasn't just a cross over, though, many times it was a double cross over in which one cross over had the defense thinking he was changing direction and when they anticipated that, he took them right back with a quick second cross over.

  2. Between the Legs
    Dribbling between the legs to change direction requires a little less space. This is best utilized when the defender is about an arms length away (and too close for you to use a cross over). You just dribble the ball between your legs, using your lead leg to protect the ball. If you're changing direction from right to left, then you want to have your left leg leading and dribble from your right hand, under your left leg (which is leading) to your left hand. Once the ball is on the opposite side, quickly step with your back leg (in this case, your right) to get yourself between the ball and the defender again.
  3. Behind the Back
    The behind the back dribble is another effective change of direction dribble. You have to "cup" the ball a little to bring it around your body from behind and dribble it toward the front of your body on the other side. You don't want to start by bringing the ball across your stomach area, but your back. This should be used when the previous two change of direction moves can't be executed because the defense is too close to you.
  4. Spin
    The spin move is another "cupping" change of direction move. It is a little slower than the other change of direction moves, but is very effective in protecting the ball when done properly. To do this, you cup the ball and pull it with you as you spin and making sure it bounces away from the defense so that your body is still between your defender and the ball. Also make sure to take a large enough step when spinning so that you do not run into the defender.

Basketball Dribbling Tips Conclusion (well, semi-conclusion)

These particular ball handling hints are more about decision making than skills and are just as important as dribbling drills themselves, use these dribbling tips perfrom the Basketball Dribbling Drills.

Of course, always have a basketball (or 2) around, and keep it with you as often as possible.

Bonus Tip
When practicing your dribbling/ball handling, throw in a few drills using a tennis ball or tennis balls instead of basketballs. Magic Johnson used to do this and became pretty comfortable handling the rock. Think about it: if you can control the much smaller tennis ball, it will seam much easier to control the basketball when you use it instead.

Want some more?

Check out the highly recommended Better Ball Handling video above. Tons of Ball Handling Drills that can help any level.

Basketball Dribbling Drills
Keep these basketball dribbling tips in mind while performing some ball handling drills.

Go to Sports Vision Training.
Train your eyes to see the whole court, and not look at the ball when dribbling.

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