Dribbling With A Purpose

posted in: Basketball | 0

Dribbling is one of the most overrated aspects of basketball. I don’t want to confuse anyone with this statement because dribbling is very important to the game of basketball. Developing solid and fundamental dribbling and ball handling skills is necessary to be a complete player. The reason I believe it is overrated is because of the manner in which the dribble is utilized. There is too much dribbling in the game today. It is important to dribble with a purpose when you are playing basketball.
I think anyone who has played basketball has probably been guilty of unnecessary dribbling at some point or another. As someone who loves dribbling the basketball, I know I have been guilty of this on many occasions. I understand firsthand how over dribbling can affect the flow of a basketball game. When one player is dribbling the air out of the basketball, everyone else is typically standing around, waiting for him or her to do something. There is not enough screening, cutting, and overall movement. This is detrimental to the team chemistry during a basketball game. The offense becomes stagnant. Team members become agitated because one person is dribbling too much. It is not a desirable situation for any basketball team.
Unnecessary dribbling leads to bad habits. I have coached and officiated a lot of youth basketball in both the United States and abroad in Europe. The one thing I have observed from approximately 99% of youth basketball players is that when they catch the basketball, the first thing they do is put the head down and dribble the ball on the floor. It is as if they are programmed to do it. They do it without thinking. Catch and immediately dribble. Sometimes it is necessary to catch and go, but that is a skill that is developed over time with excellent court awareness. Youth basketball players catch and dribble because they haven’t been properly coached, or because they haven’t implemented their coaches’ advice into game scenarios.
In order to stress dribbling with a purpose, I suggest using some basic drills in training sessions. Youth players need a lot of drills where there is a limit to how many dribbles they can take. If they take more than the allotted number of dribbles, it is a turnover and the other team or other player gets the ball. Dribble limits can be implemented in one-on-one drills, as well as team situations. Players are forced to adhere to dribble limits in these situations because they are going to be more aware of their dribbles. They won’t catch and dribble without a purpose for fear that they will lose the ball. Other useful drills include pivot drills. Basketball players who learn how to effectively use pivots tend to not dribble unnecessarily. They will find ways to get to the basket in the most efficient way possible. They will discover ways to beat their defender without dribbling incessantly. They will realize that they can be as effective without the dribble as they are with it.
I want to point out that these are not merely drills for youth players to utilize. I have played with plenty of players in college and professionally who dribble too much. If you can begin to eliminate this habit of over dribbling when players are younger than they hopefully they will experience the benefits as they progress. When players get older and stronger, dribbling with a purpose becomes easier, as they are able to stretch their dribbles out further.

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