5 Things You Should Keep in Mind While Handling a Basketball
The best ball handlers in the National Basketball Association are usually the best players. Think about Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, and Magic Johnson during their heydays. They kept these 5 things in mind while handling a basketball – and you should, too!
Develop a Feel for the Ball
Ball handling refers to the knowledge of the game itself. As such, it integrates passing and dribbling the ball, as well as decision-making skills. Like all aspects of the game, it demands plenty of practice for near-perfection.
Drills are a must in improving your ball handling skills. These exercises can improve several aspects of your game including:
You have to develop a feel for the ball so that you can have better control over it. The greater your control over it, the better your game can be. You can make the shots more often instead of committing turnover mistakes. You will find plenty of ball handling drills like:
These drills can also be used as warm-up drills before progressing into advanced drills. But be sure to spend 5-10 minutes only of each practice on these drills.
Otherwise, you will likely neglect the other components of ball handling. You can also develop a feel for the basketball by:
Indeed, effective ball handling demands hours upon hours of practice on the court! This is exactly why even the best NBA players spend their off-season days on the court.
Dribble the Ball at Any Speed
Ball handling also involves the ability to dribble at any speed. Be sure to master slow, medium and fast speeds of dribbling first. You should have greater control over the ball’s direction at these speeds, too.
The best way to do so: Just dribble up and down the court at slow, medium and fast speeds. You should also dribble while walking and running; keep the same rhythm for each speed. Your hand-eye coordination, hand quickness, and footwork will come in handy here.
While dribbling at different speeds, keep these tips in mind, too:
Change Your Pace
Ball handling also involves the ability to change speeds or pace. You can be inspired by the speed with which Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets can do so. Why is changing your pace important? The skill will enable the following moves on the court:
For example, you can make two hard dribbles while at the basket. Your next move can be a hard stop while the defender flies by. You can make the shot, thanks to the space created for it.
The best way to develop changing of pace: Just practice changing your pace from walking to full speed. You should practice at all speeds, too – slow, medium and fast. You can experiment with the combinations, such as from slow to fast, or from slow to full speed.
Dribble While Moving Backwards
Ball handling demands going forward and backward to defend the ball and make the shot. You should be able to dribble the ball while moving backwards, too. This is a useful skill when backing out of traffic.
A few dribbling drill tips in this regard:
You can also mix the forward and backward motions so that you can be prepared for any situation on court.
Have Two Dribbling Moves
Ball handling also means having two types of dribbling moves. These are the primary and counter dribble moves. Your primary dribbling move is your go-to move, which should be challenging to stop. Your opponents will then adjust their approach to stop it, a move that you have to expect.
But this is where your counter dribble move will come in. You change your move from the primary to the counter dribbling move. Your opponent will keep guessing and, thus, you have a higher chance of making the shot or pass.
For example, your primary move can be the cross over. Your counter dribble move can be the hesitation move.
Ball handling is a skill that can only be learned with plenty of practice on and off the court. You have to develop your dribbling, passing and receiving, and decision-making skills.
Your coach can provide the right drills for this purpose, too, but you have to do them. Basketball is a game that demands mastery of the basics in ball handling first. Even the greatest NBA players had to start with ball handling skills through hours of drills.