Would you like to have some new drills to help your kids basketball team develop and improve? Try out these dribbling drills and watch your players master the art of ballhandling in no time flat!
For players to be successful at dribbling, they need to work on more than just their hand and wrist technique. Proper body positioning is a crucial component in dribbling well, and athletes need to practice effective dribbling moves in order to feel comfortable on the court. These youth basketball drills incorporate the whole body to develop dribbling skills.
Full-Body Dribbling Drill: Part 1
For this youth basketball drill, players will practice dribbling motions without a ball in order to get the feel for how their bodies should be positioned.
Have players start in a full down position, bending their knees to crouch close to the ground while keeping their backs straight, heads up, and arms lowered with elbows slightly bent.
This position will help players learn to bend with their legs, not their backs, and practice dribbling the ball with hands close to the ground.
• Line players up about three feet apart, facing the coach. Each player should assume the full down position, remembering to keep their backs straight and heads up so that they can watch the coach. The coach should try to use visual instructions as much as possible to ensure players are looking up.
• Have players mirror the coach's movements, flicking their wrists to simulate dribbling the ball. The coach should pretend to dribble the ball in a circle around the body in the following locations: back center, right back, right side, right front, front center, (switch hands), left front, left side, left back, and back center again.
• The coach should hold each position for ten to fifteen seconds, making sure to correct players who need assistance. If using verbal instructions, coaches should say the hand opposite from what they are using so that the directions correspond to the players' mirrored movements. Coaches and assistants should watch to make sure players are using their wrists, not their arms, to simulate dribbling.
Full Body Dribbling Drill: Part 2
For the second part of this drill for basketball, players will actually use a ball. Again, have players mirror the coach's movements, this time dribbling the ball about six inches away from their feet.
Coaches should start slow and be prepared to chase after loose balls. Once players have mastered this part of the drill, move on to more advanced moves:
• Run the drill again, this time moving more quickly. Hold the position for only three to five seconds.
• Have players move into the half down position. For this position, they will raise so that their legs are only half way bent, instead of in the full crouching position. Backs should be kept straight, and elbows will be extended instead of bent as they were before. Practice dribbling in the different locations from this position. Players might have difficulty maintaining control of the ball in this higher position, so it might be necessary to slow things down again.
• Continue the lesson with some more advanced moves, like dribbling through the legs from the center back to center front positions. Have players change the position of their feet, moving the right or left foot forward or back to practice dribbling using a different stance.
• For another advanced option, players can run the drill with their backs to the coach. In order to follow his/her movements, the players will have to twist their necks, shoulders, and hips to see what the coach is doing. This teaches players techniques for dribbling while protecting the ball from the defense.
Coaching Tips For Youth Players
When running this drill, coaches should watch players and remind them to use proper stance and technique at all times.
• Dribble with the fingertips, not the palm of the hand.
• Flick the wrist to propel the ball. The arms do not need to move.
• As players advance, have them raise their free hand into a protective position to prepare for defensive players.
• Keep the ball low to the ground and under control.
• Constantly remind players to keep their heads and eyes up, and correct players who look down at the ball.