The crossover dribble is the ultimate basketball maneuver. It’s shifty, it’s explosive, and when done right, it’s unstoppable. In my humble opinion, at the high school level, it is the only basketball move you need. If the defender doesn’t bite on the initial hesitation, explode right by him with a hesitation push dribble. If the defender bites and shifts his body, a strong crossover dribble will give you a clear lane.
Here are three of the best drills I use at my crossover camp. They teach and reinforce the threee components of every great crossover. Just watch Kevin Durant and you’ll quickly understand why these drills are so important.
1. Wall Crossover Step: Creating the Shift
This drill is specifically designed to create a lateral shift to force the defender to go one way while you cross him over and go the other way.
- Stand in an athletic stance perpendicular to the wall, roughly 12 inches away.
- With the ball in your right hand, closest to the wall, pound the dribble twice. On the second dribble, jab your right foot along with the ball toward the wall. Jab hard, making sure the ball isn’t too far in front of your body.
- Hesitate for a split second and return to the starting position.
- Perform this drill for 60 seconds, rest 20 seconds, and repeat for a total of five rounds. After each round, try to inch farther away from the wall so you can cover a larger distance.
- Repeat with the opposite hand.
Keys to perfect repetition:
- Jab hard toward the wall. You want your defender to believe you’re going in that direction.
- If the ball is in your right hand, only your right foot moves toward the wall. Your left foot should be firmly planted. I tell my athletes to imagine that their left foot is nailed to the ground and cannot move.
- Cover as much distance laterally as you can without moving your stationary foot. The more distance you create laterally, the easier it will be to cross your defender up.
- When the ball and moving foot are closest to the wall, add a small hesitation. You need that split-second hesitation to determine whether the defender did or did not bite on the fake.
2. Wall Crossover Cross: Creating the Cross
Now that you’ve mastered (or have begun to master) the initial lateral step, you need to work on an explosive crossover. This drill will create a fast, low crossover.
- Set up exactly as you did in the previous drill, and perform the initial side step as described above.
- Instead of returning to the starting position, crossover hard to your opposite hand. Make sure the crossover is fast and below your knees.
- Perform this drill for 60 seconds, rest 20 seconds, and repeat for a total of five rounds. After each round, try to inch farther away from the wall so you can cover a larger distance. Repeat with the opposite hand.
Keys to the perfect repetition:
- During the crossover, make sure your hand is on the outside of the ball, not on the top. This creates a whip-like effect that results in an extremely quick crossover.
- Keep the crossover below your knees and close to your body. I tell my athletes, “Ball to wall and then to opposite hip pocket.”
3. Band Crossover on Chair: Adding the Power
This is my favorite crossover drill. It’s not only a skill drill, but it’s also an impressive strength exercise. Once you perfect the initial side step that fools the defender into thinking you’re going one way, then you perform a low, hard crossover dribble that evades him, your next step is to add some power behind the move so even the quickest defender doesn’t stand a chance. This drill creates that explosive power.
- Assume an athletic stance 6 to 8 inches in front of a chair.
- Hold the ball in your right hand.
- Have your partner wrap a band around your waist and stand slightly behind and to the right of you, keeping pressure on the band.
- Pound the dribble twice with your right hand, side step to the right with your right foot, then crossover.
- As soon as you crossover, your right foot should attack the chair and land to the left of the chair.
- Perform this drill for 60 seconds, rest 20 seconds, and repeat for a total of five rounds. Repeat with the opposite hand.
Keys to the perfect repetition:
- Remember the cues I provided during the crossover: “Ball to wall and then to opposite hip pocket.”
- Explode out of the cross and try to get your right foot to the left of the chair as quickly as possible. As soon as your foot hits the ground, stabilize yourself. You will struggle at first, because the band is trying to pull you back to the right side.
Perform this workout 3-4 times per week. If you do the drills correctly, you and your coach will notice an improvement within just a few weeks. After a few months, defenders won’t want to guard you.