Mastering a technically-sound movement pattern for shooting is not sufficient to ensure consistent scoring. You must also possess certain abilities of mind; concentration, confidence, and relaxation.
You may be an excellent shooter in practice, in the pre game warm-up, or at halftime, but shoot a low percentage in games. Or, you may be able to score consistently when open, but not when closely guarded.
Shooting requires single-mindedness, the ability to exclude everything from one's consciousness, except the immediate task at hand: putting the ball in the basket.
Shooting requires self-assurance. This capacity is sustained and nurtured by the knowledge that one is doing the "right things."
Doing the "right things" is taking the good shot and knowing that the execution of every shot is consistent with its technically-sound movement pattern. An example of taking a good perimeter shot is shooting only when teammates are in position for an offensive rebound.
Shooting requires a high degree of flow. Consequently, when shooting, you should keep your muscles relaxed and your joints, which connect your major limbs, such as the hand to the wrist, loose and relaxed.
The ability to relax is closely related to having a feeling of confidence. The inability to relax when shooting is often the result of stress which is induced by the belief that you are incapable of doing the "right things" related to shooting. The stress which comes from not having confidence makes it difficult to concentrate on executing a shot.
When shooting, you may also be unable to relax, if, when you are shooting, you are thinking about whether or not you will make the shot. To help you relax, focus only on doing the "right things" related to shooting, and not on whether you will score.
Being a great shooter can change your life. Great shooters have a much better chance to make the team, become a star, get a scholarship or even play professional basketball.
Here are 10 mental concepts and techniques that will help any player become a better shooter and make more shots, in any situation, in any game.
Go beyond the physical fundamentals to get into the "zone" like all great shooters do:
Use Relevant Psychology
The part of psychology most relevant to sports performance is neuroscience. A major concept of neuroscience is that everything you do is controlled by thought. Your body is controlled by your mind. Controlling your mind through thought is called focus.
Peak performance requires focus. You must have very specific purpose and intent. Simplify that purpose to the smallest variable possible, and that becomes your focal point. You don’t need to think, but you do need to focus! Pure focus equals maximum performance!
Physics and Biomechanics
Before understanding and adjusting your personal shooting psychology, you must first establish this baseline concept. The physics of making shots are exactly the same for everyone. Things like arc, trajectory, and backspin are equally in play for all of us, with every shot we take. Yet the "fundamental shooting form" taught by most coaches when teaching players to shoot doesn't always match proven science. Biomechanics and physics say it's about the ball--not the body.
Rick Barry (6th on the all-time scoring list when he retired) averaged over 90 percent from the charity stripe for his entire career and has the second best free-throw percentage in the history of the NBA. At the NABC convention, I had the opportunity to talk to Rick about his two-handed/underhanded free throws. Barry’s shooting form is a totally different technique from what players prefer to use today. But Barry is the perfect example of a player who focused on getting the basketball to go in, regardless of how he got his body to do it.
While players can use totally different shooting form and "fundamentals," the physics of the shot arc, trajectory and distance remained constant.
Get Beyond Analysis Paralysis
As coaches we often tell players to "concentrate," or "take a deep breath and relax." Another popular coaching directive is "don't think too much" and just shoot. But how do you deal with the mixed signals of relax, stop thinking and yet still work to concentrate? What does being relaxed mean? By the way, when was the last time your mind was completely blank? Okay, except for now while you ponder the question! To get beyond analysis paralysis in shooting you must learn to control your focus.
Feel Your Body and Trust Your Feelings
Top shooters have a feel for what a good shot is. They know the moment a shot leaves their hand if it is good or not. So what "feel" should you aim for? Here's a simple drill to get more control over the basketball and one of the most effective ways to improve your shot:
Stand within eight feet or so from the basket and make an all-net shot with one hand. Do this over and over again. Memorize how the ball feels rolling out of your hands and off your fingers as you make all-net shot after shot. Do it with your eyes closed and focus on feeling the ball roll off your fingers--don't look, just feel!
When you duplicate that feeling, you will engrain the necessary physics of arc, directional control and even backspin to make more shots. When you focus on getting that feeling, you are better able to duplicate the feeling. When you use this technique you stop thinking. Your mind will then subconsciously search for and recreate the feeling/sensation of the ball rolling off your fingers towards the basket. As you focus on that one specific thing, all of a sudden your footwork, jumping, and everything else will begin to align to give you the best chance to make the shot.
This "focus on the feeling" action is how our mind clears away conscience thought (even fear) and finds "the zone." This will happen all by itself if you "focus" on one simple feeling. This is exactly what happens when people use a mantra to meditate and find enlightenment.
Meditate to Concentrate
According to psychologist Daniel Goldman, "powerful concentration amplifies the effectiveness of any kind of activity." Meditation, or mindfulness, is the ability to retrain attention, so that it fosters concentration. Several NBA players meditate before games. Lakers coach Phil Jackson is a proponent of meditation and is known as the "Zen Master." Coach Jackson has had both his Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers teams practice Buddhist meditation before they practice jump shots.
Jackson has won 10 NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers. Meditate on that..
mprove Your Shooters EQ
Basketball IQ is incredibly important in shooting. Shots are often made or missed before they are ever even taken. Shooters IQ is the instinctive ability to know how to get open for a shot, where and when to take a shot, what type of shot to take, and even when not to shoot.
Basketball EQ (Emotional Quotient) is a player’s ability to control emotions regardless of the changing circumstances (time and score – missed/made last three shot attempts, etc.) of a basketball game. EQ affects a player’s abilities to adjust on the fly and perform under pressure. Our research indicates that your emotional quotient may be twice as important in contributing to shooting excellence than basketball IQ and shooting skill alone.
Start doing. Stop practicing shooting. Start making shots. It doesn’t matter how many shots you practice. What matters is how many shots you actually make during practice.
For true shooting mastery, it also helps to limit practice to making only the one or two types of shots you will actually get to take while in the flow of your team's offense. Also, instead of trying to "practice at game speed," make shots while being denied the ball and even guarded by one or two defenders. Successful experience in practice leads to successful experience in games and raises the your personal level of expectation.
Raise Your Level of Expectation
Make perfect shots. we require that all layups go off the backboard and through the net without ever touching the rim. Hit the rim and the shot does not count. Jump shots must also be "all-net" in order to count.
Make shots with your eyes closed. Play "all-net/eyes closed" shooting competitions in practice to develop your "feel" for making shots. Focus on the feel needed to make perfect shots from warm-up to cool down, and your practice effort will transfer into real game success.
Basketball players and teams practice hard and often still play inconsistently or poorly. Make better use of practice time. Get your practice time effort to transfer into real performance in real games.
As an expert in pedagogy and behavioral science, I firmly believe that the most effective way to perform at peak performance levels is to practice (even when you are initially learning new skills) with a success/failure-based immediate and effective consequence. That's how it is in a real game. That's how it is in life."
Go Beyond Confidence
We do clinics for coaches and players all across the country and internationally. Unannounced at every clinic, I walk to half court and a make shot, facing backwards, with my eyes closed! I never practice, yet I consistently make the shot in less than seven attempts.
How can I do this? I have simply memorized the feel of a successful shot. As I'm holding the basketball, I take just one to two seconds to focus/meditate on getting that feeling as I take the shot. With everyone now watching, we then take a player from the clinic group and get them to make the shot (eyes open for rookies!). Always a crowd pleaser, this is a great example of what mastering the mental aspects of shooting can do for any player.
Release old ideas and beliefs. Empty your cup of pre-conceived barriers and fill it with new knowledge. Be in the moment--no past, no future--and only aware of the meditative mantra feeling of the ball rolling off your fingers.
As players begin playing against better opponents, getting to the basket and finishing with a score becomes more difficult. Because defenders are bigger, quicker and more athletic, the risk of steals and blocked shots becomes much higher.
Offensive players must develop a variety of ways to counter these potential problems around the basket and score as they get to the rim. Players must have the ability to avoid the steal and the blocked shot if they want to be consistent finishers at the basket.
Avoiding the Steal
Players must be aware of the hands of their defender as well as the hands of any help defenders. To avoid being stripped on your drive, here are some general rules:
- Lock It: After the last dribble, keep the ball away from the hands of your defender by keeping the ball on your outside hip. We tell our players to “lock it in your pocket.” This way, if the defender tries to steal or strip, he will wave at air, or will foul you on your inside arm as he reaches across your body. This must be practiced and perfected so that it is not a reaction to the defenders move, but preparation for it.
- Cover It: When driving through traffic with your defender and helpside defenders reaching for the ball, cover the ball up with both arms – just like a running back in football. This gets you through the hole of reaching hands and arms, and allows you to finish the play without being stripped. Again, this must be practiced and perfected in preparation for this situation.
Avoiding Blocked Shots
It is important to prepare for different scenarios based on where the shot blocker is positioned. Here are two basic situations to prepare for.
- Reverse Lay Up: When the shot blocker is coming from the foul line area down toward the baseline to block your shot, he is usually timing your move to block the shot on your side of the basket. He’s lining it up to pin it on the glass. As you see him coming, stretch out your move out by lengthening your steps to finish underneath on the opposite side of the basket. Most shot blockers will have a difficult time adjusting to this move. Once again, this is not a reaction to his attempted block. It is prepared for in advance and anticipated based on where the help is coming from.
- Overhand Floater: When the shot blocker is coming across the lane, waiting on you or coming out to meet you, you now shorten your move and float the layup overhand. Your footwork is the same as a regular layup, just shorten the steps. The overhand shot rhythm should be smooth and unhurried, and the ball be released high and hit softly on the rim or backboard.
At higher levels of basketball, players often make good moves to get by their defender, only to encounter trouble when they get near the basket. Finishing plays becomes more difficult as the athletic ability of your opponents increases. By developing the above techniques, players can to avoid steals and blocked shots and become more proficient at finishing the play at the rim.
Here are three tips that you can implement right now into all of your basketball shooting drills.
Whether it's shooting off the dribble, off the pass or from the triple-threat, these tips will serve you well as you continue to master new basketball shooting drills and skills.
Keep these in mind as you work on your shot, and with hard work, you can be that sharpshooter that every opponent fears when you step on the court!
Practice Fast, But Not Out of Control
This is the sweet spot for continuous improvement. Practicing basketball shooting drills at a speed that is comfortable is great to first learn the skill. But to improve you need to constantly challenge yourself. If you want different results, do something different.
You are never going to improve substantially by practicing at the same speed. Once you are comfortable with a shooting drill, always strive to do it faster, harder and quicker. Do it in less time, with less dribbles or less steps; etc. Always ensure you're challenged.
To balance this argument, make sure you are not out of control. Making mistakes is a good sign that you are pushing yourself but once your good habits start to fade or your shooting mechanics start to falter, you need to slow down. This could lead to bad habits replacing your good ones or faulty mechanics. Once you develop these bad habits, they are hard to correct. After all, it doesn't matter how quickly you release your shot if it doesn't have a good chance of going in.
Find that sweet spot in continually challenging yourself while staying in control, if only barely. That's the key to continuous improvement.
Footwork is the Base and Basis of your Shot
Your feet really are at the base of your shot and form the basis for the rest of your shot. When players get tired or are shooting out of range, the first symptom is often poor footwork from being lazy or trying to generate that extra power. This leads to bad habits that become harder to correct as the player gets older and they become more engrained in their routine.
Sound footwork ensures you are shooting from a stable platform, are aligned with the target, and gives you rhythm when shooting off the dribble or pass. When your feet are aligned, the rest of your body follows suit. Focus on your feet and your hips and shoulders will follow suit. It's very difficult to have your feet square to the basket and have your hips and shoulders pointing anywhere else.
Low Man Wins
"Low mans wins" is an axiom that holds true for tackling in football, checking in ice hockey and also for many one-on-one scenarios in basketball. Shooting is one of these scenarios, as keeping a low center of gravity allows you to get your shot off quicker and with more control.
Strength and stability in your shot both come from your legs and core. Whether you are making a cut or bracing for your shot, keeping a low center of gravity improves your stability, responsiveness and overall agility. You'll notice players who are fatigued coming into their jump shot are more upright with less bend in their knees and a less athletic stance. What follows is a slower release, since they can't gain their balance as quickly, and the shot falling short, since they can't generate the same amount of power.
Squats, dead lifts and lunges are staple exercises that will enable you to be a "lower" man.
So the next time you're going through a drill, remember to always challenge yourself,you're your shot in motion with good footwork, and low man wins. Have fun and play hard.
We train a number of players in our program at various levels, from Division I signees to younger high school players with great potential. Although these players have different individual needs, we also feel there are a number of important foundational building blocks that are essential for all players at all levels. As the player moves to higher levels of competition, these basics become even more important for successful execution against better athletes.
For example, when performing a "catch and shoot" shot sequence, obviously good extension and follow through at the end of the shot are important. However, we feel that there are essential elements to "shot preparation" that take place even before the ball arrives and before the shooting motion even begins. These key elements can have an even greater impact on the outcome of the shot. A mistake in preparation leads to a mistake in execution, which will lead to misses that should have been makes.
Much in the same manner that a baseball player prepares for each swing, a basketball player must prepare for each shot. The key aspects of shot preparation and consistency are as follows:
- Low, Balanced Stance -- players should "sit down," have their knees bent, with a lead foot forward to prepare for the catch. Players should be "under the ball" as they prepare to receive the pass.
- Hands In Ready Position -- hands should be in the position they will be on the shot, with the shooting hand under and behind the ball and the guide hand on the side. "Catch it the way you are going to shoot it."
- Hand and Elbow Below The Ball -- players should catch the ball with their shooting hand and elbow below the ball. This helps keep the player low on the catch and helps to prevent "dipping" the ball. The ball swinging "down-up" creates unnecessary action and causes the shooting motion to work against itself. With the shooting hand and elbow tucked under the ball on the catch, the player has already done everything necessary to then begin the shooting sequence.
- Low to High -- players should catch in a low position and go from that position into their shooting sequence. When catching the ball in an upright position, players have a "High to Low" motion with their body. This adds time to the shooting sequence--meaning it now takes longer for a player to get off their shot. Against better defenders, this causes an open shot to become a contested shot and a contested shot to become a block. This "High to Low" body motion also leads to inconsistency in distance and trajectory, as well as to shot fatigue in late stages of games. Catching the ball in a good stance with the shooting hand and elbow under that ball takes the player from "Low to High" for a nice consistent shooting rhythm.
- Straight Up, Straight Down -- players should not fall forward or backward on their shot. This leads to inconsistency and missed shots that should have been makes. Balanced vertical elevation will lead to more made shots. This can be achieved by keeping the shoulders directly in-line with the knees as players leave the floor.
Young players learning to play must develop these skills to build consistency, confidence and shooting range. Experienced players need to perfect these concepts in order to execute more quickly and efficiently against bigger, better, more athletic opponents. Regardless of experience or degree of competition, these five are essential to becoming a consistent shot maker at any level of basketball.
These are some great routines and games to help guards work on all aspects of shooting and prepare for the pressure of real-game situations from Coach Vicky McKenzie of Texas Tech Basketball.
Two Person Partner Shooting
Start with two people with one ball. One person shoots and follows shot. Shooter rebounds shot and passes to partner who is spotting up for a shot. Second person shoots the ball and goes to rebound and passes to partner who is spotting up for the shot. This is a continuous shooting drill. It works best if there are only two or three pairs at each basket.
One shooter with two balls and two rebounders. (Designate spots ahead of time e.g. 3pt line point, wing, baseline, elbow, etc.) Shooter stays in one spot and shoots for 30 seconds at each spot getting in as many shots as possible during the 30 seconds. Rotate spots so that everyone shoots from each designated spot.
Catch the ball on the wing, square up for 3 pt shot or put the ball on the floor with 2-3 dribbles either to corner of free throw line or to the baseline. Divide group in half with line of shooters under the basket and passers at the top of the key (point position). Shooting line can alternate sides with person breaking out from the low post block towards the 3 point line free throw line extended (wing position on offensive sets). Alternate lines.
Have players compete against each other or have teams (players) shoot from designated spot (3 pt line wing, elbow, etc); first shot (also known as the long shot) counts two points if made; get rebound off of made or missed shot and shoot a short shot which counts one point if made.
First player or team to 21 is the winner. Each player will shoot a total of two shots each timeone long shot and one short shot then pass the ball to next player or go back to the spot if playing game individually.
Pick designated spots on the floor such as 3- point shots, elbow shots, low block shot, and lay-ups. Indicate a point value for each shot. (E.g. 3 pt shots worth five points, elbow shots worth three points, low block shots worth two points, and layups worth one point). The longer the shots, the more points they should be worth.
Each player shoots from any of the designated spots for a certain amount of time (30 seconds or one minute). Points are given (pre-determined values) for each made shot. High score wins. Some people can add the bonus points rule.such as a player gets five bonus points if a shot is attempted from every spot within the time limit regardless of make or miss. This is to add incentive to shoot from every spot instead of just one or two spots.
Using only the amount of force necessary to get the ball to its target is called touch. Sometimes you need to pass with considerable force, for example, when you are passing the length of the court. Often much less force is required, particularly when the distance between passer and receiver is, at most, 15 to 20 feet.
Perhaps the situation which requires the most touch occurs when you must pass the ball to a player who is being fronted in the post position. You must make sure the pass is neither too short nor too long, but just right.
Using more force than is necessary often makes it harder for the receiver to catch the ball. How often, for example, have you seen a player pass the ball so hard to a teammate that they could not catch it?
Leading The Receiver
At its best, basketball is played on the move; the quicker, the better the quality of play. To play this way, you must learn to pass to where a player will be, not to where they are at the moment you execute a pass. The most dramatic example of passing to a spot where a teammate will be occurs when you pass the ball to the sweet spot. Your teammate cuts to the basket, leaps in the air, catches the ball in the sweet spot and dunks it.
Unfortunately, too often a player beats the defender and gets to the place where she/he expects a pass, only to have to wait for the ball to arrive (this is called parking). Passing after a player parks often results in a turnover, as the defense catches up with the play.
The quickest way to advance the ball is with a pass. The most effective way to advance the ball in long passing lanes is with an overhead pass, either a one-handed baseball pass or a two-handed overhead. In full-court play, for example, where passing lanes are longest, the first passing option should always be an overhead pass. Receiving the pass high, ideally above head height, enables the receiver to pass quickly to another teammate, and so on. If you cannot use an overhead, use a bounce pass.
The same applies in front-court play, particularly when the first play option sequenced is a pass to a player in the post position. In addition, receiving the pass high, players can get their shot off quickly.
The least effective pass is the chest pass, particularly for a penetrating pass. Because chest passes travel at chest or shoulder height, they are much easier for a defender to deflect or intercept than overhead or bounce passes; all defenders, on or off the ball, have to do is hold their arms partially extended to the side, at shoulder height.
Passing Away From The Defense
Always pass the ball away from the defender, so that the receiver can use his/her body to protect the passing lane. For example, when a guard passes to a wing or a forward who is closely guarded in the right half of the court, he/she should pass the ball on a path that takes the ball on the sideline side of the left shoulder of the receiver. Never pass directly to a player, unless the defender is behind the receiver, as when a defender is playing behind a player in the post position.
We've all been there. We might have started the season on fire, but now it seems that we're missing every shot.
We're in a shooting slump. There's no worse feeling, right?
Well, the great news is you have the power to get out of your basketball shooting slump. But, it takes time and focus.
Let's look at how to get ourselves back to shooting star status.
Make Hesitating a Thing of the Past
When someone passes you the ball, don't stop and think about what you're going to do. You already know, deep down, what to do. Immediately start positioning yourself for the shot. Don't think; just do it.
Think about how you feel during practice. Relaxed, right? Well, that's why practice is the best place to start dealing with your slump. In practice you don't have to worry about your opposition, or losing the game. You can just practice.
So, focus on grooving your shot. Start close to the basket to build your confidence, and then slowly move back a bit at a time.
The more shots you make, the faster you're going to get out of your slump. So, practice, practice, practice.
Clear Your Mind
The more you focus on the fact that you're in a slump, the more slumpy you'll be. So, it's important to learn how to clear your mind.
You can try this useful technique for clearing your mind:
•Start by shooting five balls eight feet away from the hoop.
•Next, take five shots using your weaker hand.
•Now, go to the free-throw line. Shoot another five shots with your weaker hand.
•Go to the 3-point line. Do another five shots with your weaker hand.
•Now move over to half court. Take five shots with your stronger hand.
•Don't laugh, but now you're going to stand on one leg. Take five shots with your strong hand. Make sure you focus; really try to make the shots.
•Don't move. Now, close one eye, and keep standing on one leg. Take 5 shots with your strong hand. You might not make it, but that's not important. Just keep trying.
•Now, switch to your weaker hand. Stay on one leg, with one eye closed. This is going to be hard, but again, really try to make it!
•Now move into your regular shooting range and do some jump shots with your right hand. Don't worry about making or missing them. Just shoot. These shots are really easy now, right?
If you make a shot, then make sure you congratulate yourself. Don't berate yourself if you miss; just focus on the good. And remember to have fun!
If you're in a slump, do this exercise as often as you can. The good news is that once is usually all it takes!
1. Player begins with the ball in the paint facing the basket.
2. Player will throw the ball of the backboard, catch, and turn & pivot towards the other end of the floor.
3. The player will fake a power range dribble and immediately whip the ball behind the back to the opposite hand.
4. Once the ball is in the opposite hand, continue with 2-3 dribbles and come to a complete stop using the opposite foot as hand you're dribbling with.
5. Perform the same thing with the opposite hand (fake power range dribble then slip behind the back),
6. Perform this drill with both hands.
Drill Philosophy (Why):
• The Power Range Slip is a great drill to increase explosiveness of the dribble and first step. This drill really helps with minimizing the amount of steps taken on the court. This drill improves footwork and body control.
Point(s) of Emphasis:
• The players fake the power range dribble then immediately slip the ball behind the back to the opposite hand.
• The players must always stop with the opposite foot to which they are dribbling. For example, if the player is using a right handed dribble, to stop they must use their left foot. Never should the player come to a jump stop.
• Players take an extra dribble before slipping the ball behind the back.
• Player often times jump stop because they are not coordinated enough to stop on with the leg.
This basketball drill provides repetitions of key dribbling techniques. The idea is to establish automatic and correct fundamentals.
Start your players at a sideline/baseline corner. On your whistle, they dribble at a 45-degree angle toward the middle of the court. On your next whistle, they do a crossover and dribble at 45 degrees back toward the sideline.
Obviously, it is critically important to dribble without looking at the ball. This back-and-forth pattern on the whistle continues all the way to the opposite baseline. You could start players at each baseline corner to get two kids involved per rep.
Depending on your level, you may want to repeat this drill using the following techniques:
Crossover: Change directions by pushing off with the "outside" foot and dribbling the ball low and hard with the corresponding hand over to the opposite dribbling hand.
Spin Move: Change directions by reverse-pivoting off of the "inside" foot to perform a reverse pivot. The quickest way to do this is to start the pivot when the "inside" foot is forward. That way, the "outside" leg is already part of the way to the new direction. If you start the pivot when the inside foot is back, then your outside leg has to cover far more distance in the spin and it will be easier for a defender to get a back tip. As you reverse pivot, pull the ball with your dribbling hand over into position to be dribbled by your other hand. The more you can get the ball pulled over toward that hand and protected by your body, the less chance there will be for a back tip.
The spin move has the disadvantage of being more vulnerable to blind double teams than other change-of-direction techniques, but it can be an effective weapon when used with adequate court vision.
Behind-the-Back: Change directions by dribbling the ball the ball behind your back. Footwork is critical here. The behind-the-back dribble begins as the outside leg is back and just beginning to move forward, and the ball needs to be dribbled all the way over to the opposite hand. The key to an effective behind-the-back dribble is to continue moving forward rather than just dribbling sideways. For this to happen, the arms and legs need to be coordinated so that the ball can get where it needs to go. This is an advanced skill, but most effective point guards have it.
Between-the-Legs: Change directions by dribbling the ball between your legs to your other hand. There are two ways to do this:
•You dribble the ball backwards between your legs while your inside leg is forward. This move will create some space for you to change directions, but it will slow you down a step or two, too. This is by far the most common form of dribbling between your legs.
•You dribble the ball forward between your legs while your outside leg is forward. You will push off that same leg in the new direction. The ball is momentarily exposed in this technique, so it is best used when you have a good cushion from the defender. With this technique, you don't lose forward momentum. Though it has limited applications, this move does allow for an element of surprise.
Between-the-Legs Followed by Behind-the-Back: This is a combo technique that ends up with you going in the same direction after a momentary decoy move. First, you perform the 'inside leg forward' version of the between-the-legs dribble; as soon as the ball reaches your other hand, you immediately use that hand to dribble behind your back over to your initial dribbling hand. It's a good change-of-pace technique.
Once your players master these techniques, they will have great tools for putting the ball on the floor against pressure. The two main goals should be to perform the skills well in both directions and to perform them without looking at the ball.
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.