Five Basketball Ball Handling Tips and Tricks

Preschool and elementary school students participate in a YMCA basketball and all sports clinic in the gym at the Oscar Lasko YMCA in West Chester, PA.

Have a basketball and want to work on your dribbling while at home?

Follow along with these helpful tips and tricks from the YMCA of Greater Brandywine's Sports and Fitness group, to make sure your dribbling skills are at the top of their game!

  1. Keep the dribble low to the floor 
    Players that remain low, tend to have better explosion when they go to attack the basket. It is also very difficult for a defender to steal the ball from an offensive player who is keeping the ball low. Use your fingertips to push down and do your best to never let the basketball go above your waist, as it will give your defender a better chance of getting a steal.
  2. Keep your head up
    It is essential to keep your head up as a ballhandler in order to have a good view of the court. No player is going to be successful with his/her head down, as they will not be able to see what is going on in the game in order to make the best play for their team. A simple drill to do at home is sit in front of the TV and try and watch your favorite highlights while dribbling, or go outside and focus on a spot on the wall while dribbling and not looking at the ball! 
  3. Work your weak hand 
    It is critical that players are able to use both hands to handle the ball. Never allow yourself to be the player who can only use their dominant hand to go one way. The best players can use either hand to make a play. When practicing your favorite moves, make sure to perform the same move going each direction on the court to enhance your skillset. Try doing other activities like eating or spend one full day using nothing but your non-dominant hand when dribbling or doing lay-ups!
  4. Protect the ball
    It is ok to use your off-hand and your body to protect the ball. Think of your offhand as a shield to fend off defenders. You do not want to push off with your offhand as that will result in an offensive foul, but it is absolutely ok to use your offhand to resist the defensive player from stealing the ball. When working on your dribbling, you should get in the habit of using your non-dribbling hand to protect the ball and don’t forget to use your weak hand!
  5. Change of pace/direction 
    It is important to use speed and misdirection to your advantage as a ballhandler while attacking the rim. This will throw your defender off and give you extra space to make a play for your team. Jab steps, crossovers, and hesitations will all be efficient moves to help a ballhandler create some extra space for their team. When dribbling outdoors by yourself, work on dribbling fast and then slowing down quick, and changing the looks and speed of your different moves.

Learn more about basketball clinics, basketball leagues and the basketball season at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. 

Category: Movement & Sports