The move looks simple, right? But it is not that easy to perfect. OK, guys like Allen Iverson, Tim Hardaway and Derrick Rose have mastered it, and you may lack their natural talent. But you can develop your crossover dribble—by practicing the move [obviously], but also by enhancing your athleticism, improving your ability to change direction and harnessing your lower body rotational power.
Perform the following drills to work these areas.
The Zigzag Drill, from Speed Strength Systems owner Tim Robertson Jr., incorporates the use of a basketball to improve quickness, agility and change of direction. Robertson says, “You can dribble with the same hand throughout the drill, switch hands after each cone, crossover dribble, behind the back, between the legs, whenever you get to a cone and transition from one cone to another.” Another variation is to alternate sprinting and laterally shuffling: sprint and dribble between the first two cones, then laterally shuffle and dribble between the next two.
Set up cones in the following pattern from baseline to baseline on a basketball court:
Sets/Reps: 1x5-10; perform twice a week
Coaching Points: Move through the drill at full speed // At the cones, lower your center of gravity and make quick, precise cuts // Make sure you get three quality dribbles on each move to a cone
Harness your lower body power with Lunges. “Multi-Angular Lunges are an ideal way to strengthen all of the muscles of the legs and hips in a very functional way,” says DeMatha Catholic High School strength and conditioning coach Alan Stein. “When you blow by a guy, you are actually in a Lunge position for a split second.”
There are many Lunge variations, but here are two prime examples:
Clock Lunge Series
Sets/Reps: 3x each leg, each direction
Sets/Reps: 2-3x each leg
Coaching Points: Don't overextend knee past foot // Keep chest up
According to Xtraordinary Sports Performance owner Erick Land, to change directions abruptly, an athlete must be able to explode through the hips by first reducing the force of the initial movement toward the opponent, then exploding and applying force in the other direction. Land recommends these two rotation-based exercises to condition your body to reduce and produce force.
This exercise activates the glutes and hips, and also strengthens the piriformis, the muscle responsible for rotation within the hips.
Sets/Reps: 3x10 each side
Coaching Points: Keep feet straight and on top of each other // Press bottom glute against wall
One-Arm Row With Rotation
This is an explosive movement that conditions the body to properly distribute weight for efficient change of direction.
Sets/Reps: 2-3x12-15 each side
Coaching Points: Maintain athletic base // Initiate movement through hips // Keep chest up, shoulders back and core tight