Last Updated November 27, 2023 Last Updated October 18, 2023 by Edward Pullen
Basketball is a game of finesse, agility, and precise movements, and one of the most fundamental skills you’ll need to master is dribbling. Whether you’re a beginner looking to pick up the basics or an aspiring pro honing your skills, this comprehensive guide will take you through the ins and outs of dribbling a basketball. So, let’s get started!
Table of Content
- What is Basic Dribbling?
- What Are the 3 Different Ways of Dribbling?
- What Are the Main Skills of Dribbling?
- How Do You Dribble and Run?
- Finding the Perfect Basketball for Exceptional Dribbling
What is Basic Dribbling?
Dribbling is the skill of maneuvering the basketball while maintaining control of it by bouncing it repeatedly on the floor. It’s essentially the art of propelling the ball up and down with one hand while you’re on the move. Basic dribbling forms the foundation upon which you can build more advanced techniques. Here’s how you can get started:
1. Proper Hand Placement
The first step to effective dribbling is understanding hand placement. If you’re right-handed, your dominant hand should be underneath the basketball, while your non-dominant hand is used for guidance and support. Your fingers should be spread comfortably on the ball’s surface, giving you maximum control.
2. Bend Your Knees
Maintain a slight bend in your knees to lower your center of gravity. This stance provides stability and makes it easier to control the ball. Keep your back straight and your head up, scanning the court for opportunities.
3. Keep Your Eyes Up
Staring at the ball while dribbling is tempting, especially when starting. However, a crucial aspect of effective dribbling is keeping your eyes up to read the game. This will allow you to spot open teammates, anticipate defenders, and make quick decisions.
4. Practice Your Control
Start with basic dribbling drills. Begin by standing still and bouncing the ball with your dominant hand, gradually increasing the speed and height of the bounces. Focus on maintaining a consistent rhythm.
What Are the 3 Different Ways of Dribbling?
Dribbling isn’t just about bouncing the ball; it also involves various techniques to maneuver past defenders and advance down the court. Here are three primary methods of dribbling:
1. Control Dribble
The control dribble is your bread and butter. It’s the standard, low-impact dribble you use while advancing the ball up the court or when you need to keep it away from defenders. Maintain a steady rhythm and focus on control rather than speed. This is the foundation of dribbling.
2. Speed Dribble
When you need to move quickly down the court, the speed dribble comes into play. This involves pushing the ball out before you with each bounce while sprinting. Use this technique to outrun defenders or initiate fast breaks. Remember to stay low and maintain control even at high speeds.
3. Crossover Dribble
The crossover dribble is a deceptive move that changes direction and evades defenders. To execute it, dribble the ball with one hand and then quickly switch to the other hand by crossing the ball over in front of your body. This move can be a game-changer when trying to shake off a defender or create space for a shot or pass.
What Are the Main Skills of Dribbling?
Dribbling is not just about bouncing the ball; it’s about finesse, control, and agility. To become a proficient dribbler, you’ll need to develop a set of essential skills:
1. Ball Control
Ball control is the foundation of dribbling. It involves using your fingertips to manipulate the ball’s direction, speed, and height. Practice dribbling with both hands to become ambidextrous and harder to predict for defenders.
2. Change of Pace
Dribbling isn’t always about speed; it’s also about knowing when to change your pace. Slowing down and accelerating suddenly can catch defenders off guard, giving you the upper hand.
3. Change of Direction
Changing direction quickly is crucial for evading defenders and finding open passing lanes. Work on your agility and footwork to become more elusive on the court.
4. Dribbling Under Pressure
In a game situation, you’ll often face defensive pressure. Practice dribbling with a defender trying to steal the ball. This will help you become more comfortable handling the ball in tight situations.
5. Combining Dribbling with Other Skills
Dribbling isn’t a standalone skill; it’s often combined with shooting, passing, and other basketball fundamentals. Work on your ability to seamlessly transition from dribbling to these other skills like sprinting. Check out this video for some useful tips on learning how to dribble while running!
How Do You Dribble and Run?
Dribbling while running is a fundamental basketball skill that requires coordination and practice. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you master this essential aspect of the game:
1. Start Slow
If you’re new to dribbling while running, begin slowly. Jog while dribbling the ball with your dominant hand. Focus on maintaining control and a consistent dribbling rhythm.
2. Increase Speed Gradually
As you become more comfortable, start to pick up the pace. Move from a jog to a full sprint while maintaining control over the ball. Remember to keep your head up, scanning the court for teammates and defenders.
3. Practice Directional Changes
Dribbling while running isn’t just about going in a straight line. Practice changing directions by incorporating crossovers and behind-the-back dribbles. This will make you a more unpredictable and versatile player.
4. Protect the Ball
When dribbling while running, be mindful of defenders. Use your body to shield the ball from them, and keep it low to the ground to minimize the risk of being stolen.
5. Use Both Hands
You must be comfortable using both hands to be a truly effective dribbler while running. Practice dribbling with your non-dominant hand to keep defenders guessing and enhance your overall skill set.
6. Maintain Control Under Pressure
You’ll often face defensive pressure while dribbling and running in a game situation. Practice dribbling while a teammate or coach applies light pressure to simulate real-game scenarios.
Finding the Perfect Basketball for Exceptional Dribbling
Choosing the right basketball can make all the difference when it comes to enhancing your dribbling skills on the basketball court. We’ve scoured the market and found three top-notch options to help you take your dribbling game to the next level. Let’s dive into the reviews:
1. Spalding TF-Trainer Weighted Men’s Basketball: Best in Weighted Dribbling Training
- Weight: 6 lbs for improved strength and control
- Size: Official 29.5-inch circumference
- Material: Genuine leather
- Color: Brown and Black
- Ideal for building dribbling strength and control
- Made from high-quality leather for durability
- Provides a challenging workout for advanced players
- Helps improve ball-handling skills
- Excellent grip and feel
- Heavier weight may not be suitable for beginners
- Pricier than standard basketballs
Spalding has a long-standing reputation in basketball, and their TF-Trainer Weighted Men’s Basketball lives up to that legacy. Designed for serious players looking to elevate their dribbling game, this ball’s 6-pound weight offers a unique training experience. It’s larger than your average basketball, coming in at the official 29.5-inch circumference, providing an authentic feel.
The genuine leather construction ensures durability and a comfortable grip. Players who use the TF-Trainer appreciate the challenge it provides in building dribbling strength and control. However, this weighted ball may not be the best choice for beginners due to its heft and higher price point.
2. Wilson Basketball EVO NXT FIBA Game Ball: Best in Professional Performance
- Official FIBA size 7 basketball
- Micro-Touch Cover for improved grip and moisture control
- Extended Range Technology for optimal balance
- 100% composite leather for durability
- Suitable for indoor use
- Provides exceptional grip and control
- Designed for professional-level play
- Moisture-wicking surface keeps hands dry
- Excellent balance for long-distance throws
- Durable composite leather construction
- Higher price point
- May not be suitable for outdoor play
Wilson’s EVO NXT FIBA Game Ball is a top-tier basketball designed for players who demand nothing but the best. This official FIBA size 7 ball boasts a Micro-Touch Cover that enhances grip, control, and moisture management. The Extended Range Technology ensures optimal balance, making it easier to execute long-distance throws.
The 100% composite leather construction provides durability and a soft feel, perfect for dribbling with precision. While it comes at a higher price point, this basketball’s performance more than justifies the investment. Keep in mind that it’s best suited for indoor play to preserve its quality.
3. Baden SkilCoach Heavy Trainer Rubber Basketball: Best in Skill Development
- Available in two sizes: Official (29.5″) and Intermediate (28.5″)
- Made of durable composite material
- Designed to improve shooting range, dribbling, and passing skills
- Suitable for both indoor and outdoor training
- Versatile for players of all skill levels
- Affordable option for skill development
- Durable rubber cover withstands heavy use
- Available in two size options
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor training
- May not provide the same grip as leather basketballs
- Heavier than standard basketballs due to training design
The Baden SkilCoach Heavy Trainer Rubber Basketball is all about skill development. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your fundamentals or an advanced player aiming to refine your skills, this basketball has you covered.
It’s a versatile option suitable for various age groups and skill levels, available in both official and intermediate sizes. Its durable rubber cover can withstand rigorous training sessions both indoors and outdoors. While it may not offer the same grip as leather basketballs, it’s affordable for those focused on improving their shooting range, dribbling, and passing skills.
Dribbling is an art form in basketball; mastering it can significantly elevate your game. Remember that practice makes perfect, so dedicate time to honing your dribbling skills. These techniques will become second nature with consistent effort, whether executing a controlled dribble, speeding down the court, or using crossovers to outmaneuver defenders.
The best basketball for dribbling depends on your specific needs and skill level. If you’re serious about improving your dribbling strength and control, the Spalding TF-Trainer Weighted Men’s Basketball is an excellent choice. For those looking for professional-level performance, the Wilson Basketball EVO NXT FIBA Game Ball delivers exceptional grip and balance. And if skill development is your primary goal, the Baden SkilCoach Heavy Trainer Rubber Basketball offers versatility and affordability.
Ultimately, your choice should align with your training objectives and budget. So, hit the court, dribble, and let your skills shine on the hardwood!