While trying to formulate ways to help basketball players, young and not quite so young, improve their ball handling skills, I asked myself: Steve, specifically, what about dribbling is important? While bouncing a ball, what does one need to be able to do to be effective? And then, how does one best practice those things? Here are all the answers: 1) spend two minutes when you are on a court doing the following warm-up (and it is not only a warm-up, it is a skills builder, too, like playing scales or Chopin études on the piano); 2) with feet spread wide and eyes up court, eyes always upcourt on every one of these drills, dribble the ball from hand to hand making sure that the hand that releases the ball follows the ball almost all the way to the receiving hand – 20 reps; 3) now use just your right hand, then your left, backandforth, backandforth – 20 reps each; 3) do dribble-cross, dribble cross, the dribble being straight up and down, the cross a crossover dribble low and hard (passing hand following as it did in the hand-to-hand drill) – 20 reps; 4) step back with your right foot and do forward and back dribbles, manipulating the ball, learning to change direction with it, then your left foot back, left hand dribble – 20 reps each; 5) dribble-cross through your legs, make sure you split step, spread or separate your feet – never kick the foot up – what is this, the Rockettes? – 20 reps; 6) dribble the ball back-and-forth behind your back without moving your feet – this has almost no value except that you are practicing dribbling without looking at the ball.
Your two minutes are up!