For an aspiring player, dribbling is one of the most important things to master before he can take his game to the next level. Dribbling drills are devised, so as to give the player a better degree of control of the ball.
The best basketball players in the world are expert dribblers, and they build their skills over time with a lot of practice and training. They literally spend hours each and every day practicing their dribbling in order to get better at the game. Of course, the skills that count in the game are passing, shooting, and scoring; but if no one in your team can dribble the ball, how will you penetrate the opposition's defenses?
Dribbling skills are all about building momentum and rhythm in your movements, and ensuring that you have a fluid and steady movement. Before we get into a few dribbling techniques, here are some tips for a beginner.
- Always keep your head up while dribbling.
- Try to keep a low center of gravity.
- Try to protect the ball with your body. You can do this by shifting your body between the defender and the ball.
- Dribble with a purpose, not just for the sake of dribbling. Try to create space or find a good pass. Don't dribble unnecessarily.
- Constantly change your pace and body movements to fool the defender. Don't dribble in the same manner continuously.
- Try to involve both your hands. Strengthen your weaker hand.
- You must constantly strive to improve your techniques and body mechanics.
If you are familiar with the rules of the game, then you must be well aware that you cannot walk or run while holding the ball. It has to be bounced on the ground, and you can only do so with one hand at a time. If you start dribbling and then stop, holding the ball with both your hands, you need to either shoot at the basket, or pass the ball. This makes dribbling an important aspect of the game.
The Speed Dribble
This is most useful when you have a lot of space and need to move quickly for a counter attack. It's important to maintain control of the ball in such a situation and not lose possession. Here, the ball has to be bounced away from the body, while still maintaining control of it. Keep your hands behind the ball and not over it, as this will help you bounce it further. Also, do not push it so far ahead that you cannot retrieve it; or so far ahead that the opposition player steals the ball.
The Low Dribble
When you are surrounded by opposition players, the low dribble comes handy. In this case, you are bouncing the basketball as close to the ground as possible, while maintaining control over it. By doing so, you will make it extremely hard for your markers to reach the ball.
This trick is used to create space between you and the defender. Here, the dribbler will fake going in one direction, usually by a wide step or a head fake, then abruptly switch to another direction. This makes the defender lose balance because of the less reaction time he has to change direction.
The dribbler uses this time to get past the player, to pass or to shoot. Variations of the crossover include, dribbling the ball between the legs, behind the body, and the double crossover. This move is relatively simple if the dribbler is proficient with dribbling with his head up. This is necessary, because he has to change direction as quickly as possible to give the defender the least time to react. This move is also called the ankle-breaker, because many defenders lose balance and trip over their own ankles.
These were a few of the simple dribbling skills that can be used effectively in a match. There are more advanced moves and skills as well, that can be learned over time. The key here is to get as much practice as possible. The more you train, the better you will get.