Learn how to play basketball better with 10 game-changing ball-handling tips.
Make these habits part of your game and watch your basketball offense improve!
Coaches are always looking for players who want to learn how to handle the ball under pressure with solid dribbling skills.
They know if you can't move the ball up the floor...you can't score.
And if you can't score...you can't win.
And while it's true that the point guard dribbles the ball more often than other players...
Ball handling is...
The first thing you should do every time you get your hands on the ball is look at what's happening on the floor.
To do this, you need to square your body up to your basket. That means pivot, if necessary, so that you are facing your team's goal. Look for open players or shots BEFORE you put the ball on the floor.
It's hard to keep control of the ball with a lot of bodies, feet, and hands in the way.
Typically, most of the traffic during a game is along the center lane of the court. It's especially congested in the free throw lane near each bucket.
Unless you see an opening to take the ball to the basket, it's rarely a good idea to dribble in the free throw lane. There are just too many people in the way.
Also, when you're bringing the ball down the floor in transition (after your team has gotten a steal or a rebound) it's often a good idea to let the players clear out of the way before dribbling.
Putting the ball on the floor in the middle of all the confusion of players moving to the other end of the court is a sure way to lose it.
Always dribble with your eyes up.
Basketball is a team game, and you should always be looking down the floor for a good open shot or a teammate to pass to.
When your head is looking down at the ball you have no idea where you're going; you can't see defenders sneaking up on you; and you miss scoring opportunities.
To learn how to pass, dribble, and be a good teammate, you must learn how to play basketball with your eyes up at all times.
Dribble only if you are trying to move to a better location.
If putting the ball on the floor will help you move the ball quickly on a fast break, get a better angle for a pass, or have a closer shot at the bucket, dribbling is a great idea.
Otherwise, don't do it.
Remember: Every unnecessary dribble you take is an opportunity for your opponent to steal the ball, for you to lose control of it, or for you to miss a teammate who is wide open for a shot.
Passing the ball is often a much quicker and more effective way to move the ball around the court.
Once you start dribbling, don't pick the ball up until you're ready to do one of 3 things:
As soon as you pick up the dribble, you're stuck. You only have 5 seconds to get rid of it.
A lot of young players who are learning how to play basketball panic, pick up their dribble too soon, and frantically try to find some way to get rid of it.
More often than not, when players react out of panic, they turn the ball over.
Most of us have one naturally dominant hand that we use for most activities.
While this works fine in daily life, it's a huge disadvantage when you're learning how to play basketball if you can only dribble with one hand.
It makes you very easy to guard and very easy to stop.
If you want to be a good player, you should do all basketball dribbling drills with one hand and then repeat them with the other.
When you're first beginning to learn how to play basketball, dribbling is going to feel very awkward, especially with your weaker hand.
But don't let that discourage you!
Most players won't develop this important habit because it can be downright frustrating at times. But if you will make it a point to develop your dribbling skills with both your right and left hands now, it won’t be long before you'll stand out above the rest!
To control your dribble under pressure, establish a solid base by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and keep your back straight, kind of like you're sitting in a chair. (Don't hunch over the ball.)
Your off hand should be bent in an "L" shape out in front of your body as a bumper to keep your defender's hands off the ball. This stance gives you a low center of gravity and keeps you from being knocked around.
When you're first learning how to play basketball and are being closely guarded, it's very important to keep your dribble low - no more than knee height.
This makes it very difficult for the defender to steal it.
On the other hand, when you're dribbling down the court on a fast break or driving to the bucket, it's important to push the ball out in front of you about waist height.
This higher dribble allows you to move a lot faster.
There are 3 keys to protect your dribble against a defender:
Flex your wrist and use the pads of your fingers to push the ball to the floor as you dribble. Avoid slapping the ball or using the palm of your hand.
So, as you learn how to play basketball and try to improve your dribbling skills, keep these 10 tips in mind.
How about getting started with some great beginning basketball dribbling drills?
Dribbling skills can really improve with a good basketball ball handling routine. Check out our stationary ball handling drills to get a good ball handling routine that will make your dribbling so much better!