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Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Point guards: participating in an AAU summer league and basketball camp means facing some of the most serious competition you've seen all year. That's because like you, other basketball players are working to stay ahead of their opponents. (See Train Like Mr. Summer League, Kevin Durant.)
But why wait until summer to start curing your weaknesses? To produce quicker gains, attack your off-season workouts with a plan. Plus, it will get you props from your peers and some double checks from the right coaches. (See How to Solve the Major Problem With Basketball Off-Season Workouts.)
Here are some ball-handling and shooting drills from Arizona Power Basketball Academy Coach Jeff Becker. These will keep you in demand at any level of competition.
The following standing stationary ball-handling drills are to be performed with two basketballs (one in each hand). Each drill should take 15 to 30 seconds.
Try to keep both basketballs below knee level to strengthen your fingertips, hands and wrists. Go through these progressions:
- Rhythm dribbles: both balls at the same time
- Non-rhythm dribbles: alternate sides
- Wiper dribbles: side-to-side in front of your body
- "Yo-yo" dribbles: front to back on the side of your body
- Hi-Low: dribble low with one hand and high (shoulder height) with the other; switch sides after 30 seconds
High "Pound" Dribbles
Go through the same progressions as with Low Dribbles, but focus on keeping the balls at shoulder height. Pounding the basketball hard on the floor up to your shoulders may seem unnatural, but coaches use this drill to strengthen the shoulders of their guards while taking them out of their comfort zone.
"Tight" Cone Drill
This drill helps players with ball handling on the move, change of direction speed and reaction, and hand-eye coordination. It can be used in both a full and half court setting.
- Place 10 to 20 cones in a "zigzag" pattern
- Space them roughly three to five feet apart
1/2 Court Length
- Set up the cones by the half court line sideline to sideline.
- Starting at one end of the cones, zigzag dribble from cone to cone.
- Try to reach each cone in one or two dribbles.
- As you reach a cone, perform a crossover dribble (regular crossover, through-the-legs, or behind-the-back).
- When you reach the end of the cones, quickly dribble to the basket for a layup or stop and pop a 3-point jump shot.
As you become more skilled, remember to always keep your eyes up, and don't look down at the basketball or the cones. As you progress, add different types of crossovers (in-and-out crossover, spin move) and shooting moves (Euro-step layups, step back jump shots, etc.)
Full Court Length
- Set up the cones along the full length of the court, from baseline to baseline.
- Perform the same drills as "1/2 Court Length," only go the full length of court.
32 Point Shooting
- 3-point shot: 3 points
- One-dribble + 15-foot pull-up jump shot: 2 points
- Layup: 1 point
- Free throw: 1 point
- Shoot a total of 15 shots (three from each spot)
- Start with a corner shot from the baseline
- Move to the wing and take another shot
- Continue to the top of the key, opposite wing and opposite baseline
- Shoot two free throws
- If you make every shot, you will have 32 total points
- Compete against yourself or a teammate and constantly work to improve your score
Just as you would draw a star on a piece of paper, shoot in that sequence. Go through the star pattern three times for a total of 15 shots. Each made basket is worth one point.
- You will shoot five 15-foot jump shots
- Start on the right baseline
- Move to the top of the key, then to the left baseline, then to the right wing, and finally the left wing
- After shooting 15 shots from the points of the star, shoot two free throws (worth one point each)
- Repeat the sequence
- Including free throws, you can score 17 total points
- Compete against yourself or a teammate and work constantly to improve your score
Photo courtesy of Jeff Becker/Arizona Power Basketball Academy