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Becoming a Better Ball Handler, Part 2

Lee Taft, MS, CSCS, SPC, USATF, Performance Director, Sports Speed, Etc., Inc.


In Part 1, I talked about the importance of ball handling drills to increase the ball control and speed of your hands. Being able to get the ball into any position you need is critical. Next I talked about dribbling drills. The key to functional and effective dribbling is knowing how to take advantage of the defense. In order to take advantage of the defense you must have great dribbling ability to put the ball on the floor anywhere you want, and you must have primary and counter moves. Primary moves such as a blow by, crossover, or inside out are designed to put the defender to bed quick and easy. Dribble moves like behind the back, spin, or double moves are designed to react to the defensive players counter. The key is to be armed with weapons.

The last part I shared was dribble attack moves. I have players use dribble attack moves to set up a shot. I want players to be aggressive when attacking the defensive so they get on their heels and starts retreating…then quickly get a shot off.

Now let me share with you some additional attack moves that are sure to get the defense in a frenzy while the offensive players gain confidence. And finally, I will share some effective shooting drills to spread the defense out of the paint.

Dribble Attack Moves


Once I feel confident my players have complete control of the ball then I teach them how to read the next level defenders. When you become good at dribbling and attacking you look beyond your defender because you know you can beat them off the dribble. The help defense is what you have to read so you can make great decisions.

Here are a few great attack drills to improve your players' scoring and passing off an attack move:

  1. Dip in to Explode out Set up a chair approximately 3 feet above the top of the key (NBA 3-pointer) then set up a chair at the right and left foul line elbow. The player will execute an offensive move to blow by the first chair, his or her primary defender. Upon beating the first layer of the defense read the help defender, which is the chair at the elbow. Execute an explosive move in toward the lane followed by a counter move to explode out around the chair. Once to the outside take one or two more dribbles and perform a pull-up 10 foot jumper or a finish-at-the-rim move. The key is to get the defender to over help by getting their momentum to lean into the lane while you explode outside and around them.

    1. Be sure to perform 5-10 reps going to the right and left elbow.


  2. Counter to the Dip in to Explode out Now that the defender has been burnt by the in and out move, they will fake help and recover back out. The dribble move is now like this:


    1. Beat the primary defender and attack the help defender. When at the help defender make your in-fake, bounce out and come right back to the middle to perform a short jumper, floater, or runner.


    2. The key is to have your body and the ball under control and to be able to counter the defender jumping back outside to cut off your move.


  3. Penetrate and Kick Still building off the same set-up now you need to penetrate hard at the help-person to make them commit to you. Get under control with a quick jump stop and use a backhanded kick out pass to a coach or partner. You must make the defender commit though; don't pass too soon or the help will not be all the way in and will be able to recover on the shooter.


  4. Penetrate, Kick, and Replace To finish off this dribble attack series you are now going to follow up the kick out pass by stepping back out beyond the 3-point line between the wing and top of key, prepared for a return pass. Once you receive the pass, your attack moves are:


    1. Shot fake, one hard dribble to jumper


    2. Shot fake, one hard dribble to step back jumper


    3. Shot fake, finish at the rim, floater, or runner


    4. Catch and shoot


There are so many attack move drills you can use, but the important factor in training is to reproduce moves that are likely to happen in a game. The above drills are out of any offensive set.

Shooting Progression


Below I have outlined a simple, yet effective shooting progression that will train great shooting but also offensive separation.

This progression can be completed anywhere on the floor, but I will outline it from the wing.

Run off a chair or cone to simulate a screener and perform a slight curl:



  1. Catch and Shoot Come off the screen hard with hands ready. Catch and square up to take a jumper


  2. Shot fake, strong dribble inward to separate from defender and shoot straight up jumper or leaner


  3. Shot fake, slide dribble laterally to allow defender to float past and take jumper. This move is especially important if you are at the 3-point line and need a 3-point basket.


  4. Shot fake, hard dribble to step back jumper


  5. Catch and spin back to the direction you came, one dribble and shoot. This is a good move to use if you allowed the defender to squeeze you off the screen and you can't curl or get into a shot motion. Just spin right back to the direction you came and allow the defenders momentum to pull them away from you.


Take 5 shots of each from both the right and left wings. Eventually build up to making 5 of each of these shots.

So there you have it. A straight forward basketball skill program that will improve your ball handling, dribbling, attack moves, and shooting, Plus, you have some quality passing skills thrown in as well.

Don't think that success will come just because you want it to. You must put in hours of work to create positive patterns of movement. If you want it bad enough you will do what it takes.

Yours in Speed,

Lee Taft

P.S. If you have any question please visit www.SportsSpeedEtc.com so we can help you.

Lee Taft is known as "The Speed Guy" and has some of the most effective training DVDs for athletes and coaches on the market. Lee is also a top level basketball trainer and trains players who want to develop their individual skills.

Please contact Lee at info@sportsspeedetc.com if you have any questions.



NOTICE:All material on this web site is copyrighted. No article may be reproduced or redistributed in any form or manner without the expressed written consent of the respective author. Commercial reproduction is not permitted without the written permission of the Coaching Staff at PowerBasketball.


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