We've been getting some great positive feedback from loyal visitors of the website and have been getting some requests for more basketball drills. I realize that I've been basic in a lot of my drills so far and I will get more advanced, but for now let's look at some basic ball handling drills that one can use. Keep in mind that these basketball drills can be put into action by coaches or used by the individual player.
I learned the following ball handling drill at a team camp put on by the late Lynn Archibald from the University of Utah many years ago. My junior high coach worked with him and passed this drill onto our team. I've used it for years now because it encompasses all the elements of handling the ball successfully.
The Stop and Go Ball Handling Drill
Many coaches call their basketball drills by different names, but this is how I came to know this one in particular. This basketball drill practices controlling the ball in a number of different ways. You will use the full court speed dribble, jump stop, backing the ball off, crossovers and changing directions.
Each player starts at the baseline with ball in hand. We used the foul line, half court line, opposite foul line and end line as our benchmarks. They are the easiest to use for this basketball drill because they are on nearly every court.
The first four players start their dribble until the first extended free throw line. They dribble full speed to the free throw line. When you approach the foul line, which will be very quickly, go into a controlled jump stop with the ball. If you've read the article on how to jump stop then you are familiar with it, if not simply make a small jump off one foot and land on two feet. Make sure that in this process you maintain your dribble.
Once you feel under control immediately take 2-3 hard dribbles backward. This is called backing the ball off and is used to create space between you and the defender. This must be done quickly so that space is created. If you do this slowly the defense will be able to follow you and then it becomes pointless. Make sure that this is done with the ball nearly behind you because you will want your off hand shielding the ball from any defenders.
Keep the ball below your waist and make sure your head is up. Once you've taken your two to three hard dribbles immediately take off and speed dribble to half court. My tip for speed dribbling is to use your speed. The ball can be a little higher while speed dribbling and the dribbles should be spaced out much further. If you find yourself taking too long and too many dribbles then make the necessary adjustments. Once you reach mid-court immediately take 2-3 hard dribbles backward.
Again, backing the ball off. Make sure that you are protecting the ball with your off hand. An immediate speed dribble should follow this to the end line. Once you are tired go the foul line and shoot 10 free throws.
What I love about this basketball drill is the variations that I can put on it. I strongly recommend doing this basketball drill repeatedly with one time down the court right handed and the other time down the floor left handed. Once you've backed the ball off you can practice your crossover or change of direction moves. You should get tired doing this drill but you should never tire of doing any basketball drills. If practiced properly you will become more confident and prepared any time you play.
For coaches, in camps we would do this drill in teams of players. It was good competition but I think it does better if it isn't used in that fashion. It is better to focus on the correct fundamental slowly than to rush to get something done and to possibly reward doing the basketball drill incorrectly. But if controlled and not in a competitive situation this drill can benefit any player and team