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Take Your Ball Handling Skills To The Next Level

by Danny McLarty, CSCS www.DannyMcLarty.com

You've been doing your "traditional" ball handling drills… crossover dribble, figure-8 pass, figure-8 dribble, reverse spin, single-leg dribble, etc. etc. You have a million options. And most of them are great drills. Continue to use your more traditional moves/drills to keep working on your handles. But once you feel completely comfortable with them, it's time to step it up and take your handles to the next level. This is where I start to add in "combination moves," and some more advanced "speed dribbling" drills.

The first drill is a combination move - "between the legs/drop-off behind the back" (as opposed to the "wrap-around" back the back dribble)…

This move (when there is a real live defender in front of you) works best when starting the ball in your left hand, and going between your legs to your right, and then bringing it from right to left (the drop-off behind the back part) into your "shooting pocket." And vice-versa if you shoot with your left hand. Some keys to making this a successful move in attempt to create space between you and the defender in order to get your shot off;
-POUND the ball into the ground (well, this should always be done, but is especially important in this move as you need to get the ball to your shooting pocket quickly before the defender has time to recover).
-When you go between your legs, lean to the right (if you are right handed) as you want the defender to think you are about to make a "single move" (as opposed to a combo move), going hard to your right.
-Finish the move. On the two dribbles think, "POUND, POUND!" But that is not good enough. You must then bring the ball QUICKLY to your shooting pocket (think of "slapping the ball," when bringing it to your shooting pocket). Do NOT get lazy on this part. You don't want to get your defender on skates, and then slowly bring the ball to your shooting pocket, giving him time to recover.
-Practice it at game speed, as if the quickest guy/girl on the court is guarding you. BUT, start at your own speed, and over time step it up to game speed.
-Start the drill back by half court (or further) in order to get a bunch of repetitions in, before getting into shooting range.

And what it looks like when watching from the front…

Next, a new speed dribbling drill for you, called "1-2s" …

As you heard in the explanation, start off at your own speed and work your up to, as fast as possible - while keeping complete control of the ball.

And finally, here is another "stationary drill," called "The Pretzel."

As I noted in the opening, keep working on the fundamentals. Once you build your "ball handling foundation," start to incorporate these three, very effective drills. Happy handling!


About the author:

Danny McLarty, CSCS is a fitness coach at Flex Personal Training in Danville, California. Danny earned a place in the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 for his high school and college career. He accomplished this while standing at a height of 5'7". He is also a basketball skills coach, helping players improve their ability to get open, with and without the ball. You can read more about Danny at his website, www.DannyMcLarty.com .





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