Most children first learn to crawl, then walk, and finally to run. Basketball requires players to not only effectively move their feet, but also to maneuver a basketball. Basketball players first learn to dribble the basketball with one hand, then to alternate hands, and progressively to increase to more advanced dribbling. As a basketball player, a powerful and effective way to keep defenders on their toes and increase your threat as an offensive player is to develop an agile and quick dribbling technique. The power dribble can do this.
A basic power dribble is when you dribble the ball at a very intense rate. Maintain your normal form and posture. Use your muscles to thrust the ball forcefully down, and then expect the ball to quickly bounce back to your hand.
The drills described below will help you gain confidence and agility to handle a basketball in a power dribble. This will help you run a fast break, cut through the defensive, and outmaneuver your opponents.
1. Power Crossovers – Power dribble in your right hand, and then quickly bounce the ball to your left hand. Power dribble with your left hand for a few seconds before bouncing the ball back to your right hand.
2. Dribble Blindfolded – Wrap a cloth around your head as a blindfold, or you could simply close your eyes…no peeking. Power dribble a ball for at least 60 seconds. This drill helps you enhance your tactile sense of the ball. You can enhance the drill by performing it in the center of a deserted basketball court, walking around while dribbling. To make the drill even more challenging, try power dribbling two balls, one in each hand, while being blindfolded and slowly walking around a deserted basketball court.
3. 10-5 Repeats – This drill exercises power dribbling with one hand at a time. Choose which hand your would like to practice. Power dribble for 10 seconds, then soft dribble for 5 seconds. Repeat multiple times. This exercise teaches your arm muscles how to alternate between various dribbling speeds that occur during game play.
4. Dribble Between Legs While Walking – In order to do this drill you will need a segment of floor, such as a basketball court floor, a street’s sidewalk, or a wide hallway that is deserted. Power dribble while walking up and down the walkway. Power dribble the ball between your legs to practice fancy dribbling skills. To enhance the drill, perform the drill at a quicker walking pace, maybe at a light jogging pace.
5. Double Ball Power Dribbling – Power dribble two balls, one in each hand. This will increase your arm strength for dribbling and enhance your dribbling control. Since you can’t look at both hands at the same time, this drill will also practice your ability to power dribble without looking at the ball.
6. Power Dribbling Sprints – This drill requires you to power dribble for an extended period of time and run back and forth on the basketball court. Stand at one end of a basketball court. Dribble to the nearest foul line, and then return to the baseline. Dribble to the middle of the court, and then return to the baseline from which you started. Dribble to the farthest foul line, and then return to the baseline from which you started. Finally, dribble the entire length of the court, and return to the baseline from which you started. This entire continuous power dribbling exercise counts as one complete cycle of the drill. Repeat multiple times to practice your dribbling, speed, and direction-changing abilities.
7. 3-Chair Dribbling – Set up 3 chairs or cones in a line, spacing each chair/cone 10 feet apart. Power dribble around the chairs/cones in different shapes, such as figure-eights, circles, or any shape. Use your imagination.
8. Dirt dribbling – This drill actually requires you to leave the basketball court and find a patch of dirt. Do a Power dribble on the dirt for 1 or 2 minutes. You will need to power dribble the ball even harder than usual in order to get the ball to bounce on the dirt. This drill is an extremely good arm workout with power dribbling.
Start with just a few of these exercises, and then expand your workouts to include more drills. You can also modify the drills to be more challenging by increasing the number of repetitions or slightly modifying the drill. The key is to vary your routines and have fun with them. By practicing the power dribble, you will greatly improve your dribbling.