Complete Guide to Basketball Dribbling Moves

Basketball is full of attractive moves and that's why it is so popular around the world. But in order to learn advanced moves and copy Pistol Pete Maravich, Jason Williams or someone else of your idols, it's extremely important to master in fundamental basketball moves, such as dribbling left/right hand, crossover, between the legs, passing chest/bounce pass, shooting the right way, etc.

Fundamental basketball moves are the best way (and the most common way) to beat the defense and score the basket, and once you perfect them you will be able to add something attractive and fancy to your arsenal of the moves.

Therefore we will present to you some of the fundamental dribbling moves that every basketball player is working on every day in order to increase the level of playing. Also, in the article below you will find bits of advice on how to improve a certain move and how to make it correct and effective.

Dribbling the Ball

Dribbling makes basketball recognizable, and the moves made when dribbling the ball are one of the main reasons why basketball has so many fans. Dribbling is an integral part of the game, it serves as one of two ways to transfer the ball on the court (the other is passing), and if you have the ball in your possession and you want to move on the court, it is necessary to dribble the ball.

Although in basketball everyone uses dribbling, according to long basketball history, the most successful ball-handlers are guards.

Taller players rely more on other basketball moves, such as low-post technique. But this should not be the case during the younger age period; everyone should know the basics of dribbling, how to protect the ball during the dribble, how to change the hand of the dribble, how to change direction/speed while dribbling etc. When young players begin to grow and clearly recommend themselves for a position of center or power forward with their physical and mental constitutions (which certainly does not happen before the age of 16), only then the player can reduce the intensity of dribbling practice (we are talking about players over 6'6). But even then, the great dribbling skills are huge advantage for a tall player, and today you can see them dominating in NBA (Jokic, Embid, Porzingis).

How to Improve Your Dribbling

To improve your dribbling it takes consistency and time, but also to know what to pay attention to. We will give you a couple of advice that will definitely help you improve:

  • Eyes up- every time you dribble the ball you should be confident enough to look at the situation on the court, not at the ball. That way, you will be able to catch the right moment for a good pass, penetration to the hoop or ball protection.
  • Practice your weak hand- the difference between a good and excellent ball-handler is that an excellent ball-handler uses equally both hands while dribbling under the pressure (strong defense). Everything you can do with your strong hand, you should be able to do with your weak hand. This is very important and will give you a huge advantage against the defense.
  • Push the ball, don't slap it -To make a correct dribble, a player uses finger-tips of his hand to push the ball of the floor(do not slap), with the elbow close to his body. Dribble shouldn’t be higher than a waist and in the front of the player(always on the side). While dribbling, freehand should protect the ball.

Crossover Dribble

Crossover is the most frequent way to change hands while dribbling in basketball, and most definitely the fastest way, especially while running and changing direction with the ball. In order to protect the ball, the player aims to keep the ball away from the defender. Therefore, it’s mandatory to move the ball from one side to another(from hip to the hip), and by using crossover, a player pushes the ball in the front of himself, at the level under the knees. The player also has to pay attention if there is enough space between the defender and him, so he can make a crossover and not lose the ball. If there is no enough space between the defensive and offensive player then another move is recommended rather than a crossover.

Between the Legs Dribble

Between the legs dribble could be one of the most explosive hand-changes in basketball. Because of feet position, the player is able to change direction and dribbling hand at the same time, while the ball is constantly protected. Unlike crossovers, between the legs dribble can be used when the defensive player is close to you because the ball is protected by the front foot and body position.

Young players will not see the benefits of this move at the beginning because of the lack of coordination, but once they grow up, this can be one of their signature moves. The best way to explain this move to young players (beginners) is to step on the line with both heels while being in the position for this move; then try to bounce the ball on the line and change the hand; it works perfectly.

Behind the Back Dribble

Behind the back dribble is also one more way to change the hand while dribbling. As per the name, this change is happening behind the player’s back, and with the same reason like between the legs, lack of the space for a crossover. Same as between the legs, the behind the back dribble is much more beneficial when the player grows enough to be able to wrap the ball from one side to another. Until then, the best way to explain this basketball move to the kids(beginners) is that the ball must be dribbled behind the feet of the player, and then to try to change the hand by one dribble (same as crossover just behind the player’s back).

Spin Move

Spin move is the hand-change that players usually use against a very aggressive defense in order to change direction and a dribbling hand; when the defender is too close and changes such as crossover or between the legs would not be possible, player changes his dribbling hand while spinning around himself and protecting the ball with his body.

This could be a good move to bring the ball from one side of the court to another, no matter the age and level. In fact, you can see this move very often in basketball games.


Jul 31, 2020 BigCommerce

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