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The Fundamentals of Basketball-Dribbling.

FREE Basketball E-Book Other than passing the ball, basketball dribbling is the other method of offense is the basketball. Its main uses are to advance the ball so as to force an opening in the opponents' defense, or to get the ball as close to the basket as possible and obtain a more advantageous shot.

Clearly, basketball dribbling is important in the game of basketball. However, dribbling is not as essential to winning a basketball game as you might believe--even if you're the point guard! Many players lose much of their efficiency because of the great desire they have in trying to dribble in, around and through the entire other team.

One of the most important things that you should remember when dribbling a basketball is that, you should ALWAYS protect the basketball by placing your body between your opponent and the basketball. Michael Jordan explains this very important dribbling fundamental in the following video...Take some notes.

Types of Basketball Dribbling.

There are two types of dribble: the high dribble which you need for speed in bringing the ball down the floor or driving for the basket, and the low dribble which is needed when you are trying to protect the basketball while you are in the act of dribbling.

The high dribble should be bounced between the knee and the hip area, the low dribble at knee level or lower. As a player, you must know when to use each type of dribble; otherwise, the opposing player guarding you would be more likely to steal the ball from you.

As mentioned above, you should always protect your dribble by keeping your body between your opponent and the ball. If you dribble facing your opponent with the ball in front of him, you will increase your chances of losing the ball.

Variations of the Dribble

In addition to learning how to dribble well, both high and low, you must also develop the ability to "lose your opponent" with the dribble by either using a change of pace, change of direction, or reverse dribble.

Change of Pace Dribble

The Change of Pace Dribble is a variation of fakes, starts, and stops using different speeds. Dribbling fast, slowing down, or retreating a little would most likely lead to your opponent overplaying you. And, a sudden burst of speed at the right time will enable you, the dribbler, to break away from your defender, especially if you are being guarded by an opponent with inferior quickness.

Sometimes on a three-man fast break, if you are the middle man dribbling the ball, you can use the change of pace dribble to "trick" the defense into spread out; as you slow down your dribble, the defense would think that you intend on passing the ball to one of your teammates on the wing heading towards the opponent's basket. As the defense spreads, you suddenly increase your dribbling speed and go all the way for the easy basket before your opponents can recover their defensive position.

You can improve your ability to utilize the change of pace dribble by practicing dribbling the ball forward, backward and at various angles with changes of speed.

Change of Direction Dribble

You will be severely handicapped as a basketball player, if you could only dribble the ball either in only one direction or in a straight line. When the situation arises, you should be able to change direction by using the change of direction dribble.

The change of direction dribble is accomplished as follows:

1. With a good fake and crossover dribble, go one way.

2. Come back immediately to the starting position.

3. Then with the same crossover dribble, go the other way.

Note: See the video below to learn how to use the crossover dribble to change direction.

You can attempt the crossover dribble with a good head fake; however, if you are being guarded by an excellent defender, he most likely would not be fooled by your head fakes. As a result, your feet must be used along with head when faking.

To make the crossover more effective, some change of pace must be used. For example, if you are dribbling the ball with your right hand, you may be dribbling straight or slightly to your right. Suddenly, if you step to your left with your left foot and at the same time cutting the ball across close to your legs, you will leave the defensive man still moving to his left.

If the defensive man steps with you on the crossover, then an immediate comeback to your right side will cause you to evade him. Make sure that you keep the ball close to your body when performing the crossover. Getting the ball too far in front will enable the defense to steal it. (See the video below).

Reverse Dribble

The reverse dribble is very helpful when your opponent is guarding you very aggressively, and he becomes overly anxious to steal the ball. In most cases, he will try to overplay you in one direction or the other in his attempt to steal the ball. A reverse pivot off the inside foot with a change of dribble to the other hand leaves the defender out of position.

When you are dribbling to your left,the defensive man will be forcing you in front and to his left side. Using a quick stop and pivot on the right foot, you can pick up the ball with the right hand, and the left foot becomes the lead foot as you reverse direction and move to your right. Maneuvers such as this will leave your opponent clearly out of position and open the way for a drive to the basket.

When to dribble a basketball during a game.

The dribble is a valuable individual maneuver when used properly. When used incorrectly it works against the purpose of the offense.

The dribble is only of value in certain situations...Remember these:

Don't dribble if you can pass;

Don't dribble aimlessly; and,

Don't dribble if you can do anything else to advance the offense.

All the “dont's” about dribbling are based on this fundamental fact: a player running free can travel faster than a dribbler.

The ball, you see, is always the focal point of the attack. Whenever the ball stops or moves slowly, the defense has time and opportunity to adjust.

Other situations when using the dribble is appropriate during a basketball game:

• It should be used to get the ball in the clear in the back court;

• To bring the ball from back court to front court if the defense is already in position;

• On short drives to the basket;

• To get away from a pressing defense, or to pull defensive men away from the basket.

• Use the dribble to get the ball out of congested areas.

• Use the dribble to score from close range.

• Use the dribble to carry the attack from the back court to the defense in the front court.

• Use the dribble when it is the only sensible maneuver possible. Don't forsake the passing of the ball.

How to dribble a basketball.

When dribbling a basketball, your body should be crouched and leaning forward, with your head erect so that you can see in-front of you and you know where you are going.

The ball is pushed directly out in front and away from you.

The distance in which the ball is pushed away will depend upon the speed at which you are running.

The ball should not be struck hard but rather pushed with the fingers. The wrist and arm should recoil or give slightly when the ball strikes the fingers.

When dribbling the basketball, you should run with your feet wider apart than normal. Your knees should be bent, the trunk of your body inclined forward at the waist; head up and eyes directed well forward. The forearm of the dribbling hand is to be parallel with the floor.

When advancing the basketball—you should never stand still while dribbling—the ball should be bounced away from you at an angle. In effect, you want to catch up to the ball as it comes off the floor...

And, the bounces of the basketball should be short and low.

When you change direction sharply while dribbling, you can alternate hands (right hand for a sharp left drive; left hand for a sharp right drive).

When you're being guarded closely, you should use the hand that's farthest from your opponent to dribble the basketball.

Remember that once you've stopped your dribble, you're stuck. You can't move again until you've taken a shot at the basket or passed to a teammate.

Finally, save the dribble until you need it.

How to change direction when dribbling the basketball...

When dribbling the basketball, there will be many occasions whereby you will need to change direction while in motion. The way you accomplish this is by using the crossover dribble as explained in the following video by Michael Jodan. Again, take some notes...

It is without a doubt an asset to any player to be a skillful dribbler. However, you should use good judgment in its use. It should only be used when the occasion arises and never when a pass can be substituted.

Basketball Dribbling Tips:

1. Lean forward when dribbling.

2. Keep the head erect.

3. Do not dribble blindly.

4. Know when to stop dribbling.

5. Don't dribble into trouble.

6. Push the ball, don't stop it.

7. Keep the wrist and fingers flexible.

8. Keep the ball well out in front of you.

9. Learn to change pace.

10. Protect the ball with the body when possible.

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