Players like Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, and Derrick Rose have the uncanny ability to beat defenders off the dribble. They are great athletes, but they are also very skilled at ball handling and having good footwork. Below I have 5 tips on how to make a dribble move to beat someone off the dribble.
- Stay low
When I’m taking players through drills I am constantly telling them to get low. Players that are learning this technique for the first time really struggle with this concept. I start them in a low position, but as soon as they start toward the basket they want to stand straight up. By standing up, the ball handler loses his advantage. We want the defense to change their position while we maintain ours.
- Have vision
You have to see the play in front of you. Know where help is coming. Where is the rotational defender? Do you have any open teammates? I often ask players what they would think if they were in the car with me and I was driving around with my head down looking at my feet. They give me answers like I can’t see traffic, I don’t know what’s in front of me, I may crash, I won’t know when to stop, or when to turn. This is the same situation when dribbling with your head down. You won’t know when to change directions, you can’t see open teammates, and you may crash (turnover).
- Be efficient with your dribble
Don’t over dribble the basketball. Or as my college coach used to say, “Your spinning your wheels and not going anywhere”. You must be quick and efficient with your dribble when attacking. Get something accomplished in 2 or 3 dribbles. If you don’t have anything, then you must reverse the basketball to get the defense to shift.
- Change speeds
You can’t always go the same speed. You must mix it up. Add some variety to your game. You should always go hard and give 100%, but you should also use a change of speed or a change of pace to keep the defense off balance. You may start half speed and then explode into full speed to gain the advantage. You could also be going full speed, slow down to three quarter speed, and then explode to full speed. Changing speeds keeps the defense guessing and on their heels.
- Use a hard dribble
Your dribble must be hard, quick, and below knee level. The harder and quicker you dribble the more the ball will be in your hands. This allows for quicker shots and quicker passes. A lot of turnovers on passes happen when the player makes the pass a second too late.
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