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The Last Dribble Before the Shot

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on August 31, 2007

After you’ve made the move (and looked behind you to make sure that the fake that you threw at the defender hasn’t left him or her injured) and you find yourself open and committed to the shot, all that remains is to get comfortable: good balance, good vision, confidence in the familiarity of form and repetition. Whether it’s a layup or an open jumper, you are aided in achieving good balance (and strength) going into the shot by taking a hard last dribble. On the layup, it helps establish the rhythm of the footwork; on the jumper, it helps you elevate into your shot. It also feels good, the thwack of the ball on the floor shows confidence and lends authority to your game.

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“The Almost Palm”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on May 15, 2006

When practicing dribbling, don’t just practice dribbling the ball with your hand on top of the ball. Also, practice the “almost palm”. Here is what we mean: imagine that the ball has a clock around it and imagine that you are dribbling right-handed. If you dribble with your hand on top of the ball, that is dribbling at 12 o’clock and it is difficult to maneuver the ball forward or backward or wherever you may want to move it other than straight down. Now imagine that your hand meets the ball at 5 o’clock (slightly behind, as well), now you can get under the ball (a little) and move it forward or by rotating your hand at that level, move the ball back or left or right. Be like the pros: stretch the limits of what the rules allow and feel the freedom and manipulation that comes with it. Practice by dribbling once for every step you take (hand at 12 o’clock) and then dribble every other step (hand at 5 o’clock).

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“The Crab Walk”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on May 9, 2006

To practice staying low and to gain greater dexterity with the basketball, do the crab walk drill. Here’s how it goes: start on the baseline with the ball in two hands in front of you. Step forward with your left foot (bent at the waist and knees, trying to stay low). Pass the ball under your left leg and then step forward with your right leg. Pass the ball under your right leg and continue to walk like a crab passing the ball underneath alternating legs. Keep practicing this until you can do it while running. If you get really good at it, try racing your neighbor’s dog across the local park while you do the crab walk. Oh yeah, keep your head up, too, because later on we might put in the crab walk plus frisbee catch variation.

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“Tricky Dribbling”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on May 7, 2006

tricky-dribbling.jpgPractice ball handling by doing “tricky” dribbling. Do things like: dribble through your legs while walking, every step is a dribble through your legs, do it from the front-side and the back, try to come as close as you can to your natural stride (this will take some practice); dribble using two basketballs at once, dribble them at the same time and dribble them alternately; using just your right hand, dribble around your right leg, from the front and from the back; do it left handed, too; dribble while you do sit-ups (this is not a joke); dribble while you do push-ups (this is a joke!).

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“Dirty Fingerpads”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on April 1, 2006

three-in-triple-threat.JPGGet your palm off the ball. When either dribbling or shooting or even passing the ball, your palm shouldn’t be touching it. You want to handle it with finesse and feel and care, don’t you? I mean, when you pick up a sandwich, you don’t have your sweaty palms all over that pastrami-on-rye, do you? How about when someone hands you a baby to hold, you’re not sticking your mitts all over the little thing, are you? At the end of a practice or at the end of a game, the meaty parts of your hands should be nearly as clean as when you walked in the gym. The tips, the meaty parts of the ends of your fingers, however, should show that you’ve been handling the ball. But, remember! Wash your hands before you eat!

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“The Set-up Dribble or ‘Here Kitty, Kitty’”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on August 16, 2005

here-kitty-kitty.JPGAs a ballhandler, or someone dribbling the ball, one of the things you should watch for is the same thing you watch for everywhere on offense: defense out of position. Beyond that, when you have the ball, you can easily entice defense to get out of position by exposing the ball in such a way that defense wants to reach for it. As soon as the defense reaches, you go. Reaching, by definition, is putting yourself off balance. But you’ve got to practice quick hands to be ready to make sure you don’t lose it and you’ve got to have the mentality that you are going-by. This is also called: “you reach, I teach”. As in: “you reach for the ball and I’ll teach you a lesson or I’ll teach you to not do that again.”

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