How to dribble a basketball

How to dribble a basketball

Dribbling the ball well in basketball is the one true skill that can separate you from the rest of the competition. The ability to handle the ball in a way that renders the defense helpless can affect the flow of a game and put you in control.

Those new to the game may need a brief definition of what exactly dribbling is in the game of basketball. It is the act of bouncing the basketball up and down as you move down the court in order to avoid traveling. Even though some players on basketball teams may handle the ball more than others, dribbling is a skill that will be used by every basketball player to some degree.

Let’s take a look at some drills and techniques to help you learn how to dribble a basketball. Once you have these down, you just need to put forth the effort to become a great dribbler.

Dribbling Technique

If you watch someone dribbling the ball really well, it doesn’t look too hard to master. The secret is that dribbling really isn’t a hard skill to learn, with the proper technique and hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours of practice anyone can learn to dribble.

So what are those proper techniques?

1. Stay Low

Having a low center of gravity helps with dribbling in many ways. You are in a stable position to run while dribbling and are able to endure physical defenders and keep the ball. It also helps with our second step on technique, which is to make sure to keep the ball as low as you are.

2. Dribble Ball Low

A general rule of thumb while dribbling the ball is to keep the height of the bounce between your knee and waist and never dribble it higher than your belt line. The lower the ball, combined with your body also being low, the more difficult for the defender to steal the ball from you.

3. Keep Your Head Up

This step will take some time to master. Dribbling with your eyes up and not on the ball is hard initially, especially during a game. But once you are able to both dribble and survey the court, you are in a much better position offensively. Maybe a teammate is open for a basket, or maybe you are open for a jump shot if your defender is not guarding you closely. There are a number of situations that you may not be aware of on the basketball court if you don’t have your head up while dribbling.

4. Fingertips, Not Palm

The ball should rarely ever touch the palm or heel of your hand while dribbling. Using your fingertips, instead of your palm, can give you more control over the ball. If you were to use your palm your technique would look more like you are slapping at the ball instead of bouncing it and receiving it with your fingers and a softer touch.

5. Bounce The Ball Hard

Once you have mastered how to dribble the ball you are going to want to make sure you bounce the ball hard to the ground. In your dribbling motion, your arm will extend and your wrist should snap forward while your fingertips push the ball to the ground. Bouncing the ball hard ensures the most efficient motion and gives you a better chance of the ball bouncing with enough speed to return to your fingers each time.

3 Killer Dribbling Drills for Beginners

1. Stationary Dribble

While this drill may seem too easy, it is used in practice and drills at all levels of play, including in the NBA. While they use the drill as more of a warmup, it is highly effective at the beginner level due to the repetitive nature of the drill.

For the Stationary Dribble (also called “Pounding”) drill, you will bend down in a low athletic stance and quite literally pound the ball to the ground as hard as you can. Remember to keep the ball between your knees and waist when you are dribbling. This drill is great for your muscle memory and also gets you very acquainted with the act of dribbling at a basic level. You can switch hands for this drill and “POund” with both your left and right hand to practice with both.

2. Stationary Crossover Dribble

The crossover is one of the most effective moves in basketball if done right. It is a change of direction move, like the between the legs or behind the back move, where you dribble hard in one direction and then plant your foot, dribble the ball across your body to your other hand, and quickly change the direction of your move.

A great starter drill for the crossover is a stationary move where you get into an athletic stance and continuously cross the ball over for a period of time. Once you get the hang of it, compete with yourself: count how many crossovers you can do in one minute and try setting a new high score every day.

3. Zig Zag Dribble

Now that you have gotten the hang of dribbling in a stationary position, let’s add some moving with our dribbles. This drill will involve approximately 100 feet of straightaway distance, preferably the length of a basketball court.

You will start in one corner of the basketball court and begin to dribble diagonally up the court until a certain point, usually marked with a cone or chair, and then make a change of direction move back towards the sideline of the court. You can start with crossovers at the cone or chair and work your way up to changing direction between your legs or behind your back in the drill. The video linked in the title does a great job of showing the full scope of the drill.

Best Dribblers in the NBA Today

There are so many talented ball-handlers playing in the NBA, which makes it tough to pick out only a few. However, the two I chose are on another planet in terms of their ball-handling and may all go down in history as some of the most talented dribbers ever.

James Harden

Harden is one of the top scorers in the league each year and the main reason is because of how talented a dribbler he is. His moves are all very complex and he uses several moves in a row during most of his attempts to get to the basket. He is a deadly outside shooter too making defenders have to guard his jumper which helps his chances of blowing by them for a layup.

Kyrie Irving

Irving can get by his defender and to the basket literally almost every time he touches the ball. He is known around the NBA as one of the best finishers meaning he can get to the rim, and once he does he usually always finds a way to put the ball in the hoop.

Irving looks like he has the basketball on a string on the court and has put together an impressive highlight reel of his dribble moves that should be studied by any player wanting to become great at dribbling the basketball.


Learning to dribble well can be tedious and involves doing the same task over and over again for hours before you can become great. However, the best players understand the importance of dribbling and work on it relentlessly.

Who are some of your favorite ball-handlers in the NBA today? Drop us some names in the comments section!

Why is dribbling important?

Dribbling is a way of getting around the court while in possession of the ball. Dribbling is important because when your team doesn’t give you an option to pass, you can dribble. Dribbling can also allow you to manipulate opponents and get past them, this makes a basketball game much more fun and exciting.

There are many fancy dribbling tricks and skills to get around people, people who have mastered these skills and are able to manipulate their opponents. Because the mastery of this skill is very difficult to achieve, people who have achieved this skill gets the most respect among their fans. These tricks are very difficult to master because you have to have very good control of the ball, and like any other skill you need to start from the very beginning before you go on to learn the more advanced skills.

How to Dribbling Works

Basically dribbling is the ball bouncing up and down repeatedly. This may sound very simple and easy to do, but it is actually a lot more difficult than you think.

To successfully dribble the ball without losing control you need to bounce the ball up and down with the same power, location and height every time.

How to Dribble a Basketball

1. Start of holding the ball with your stronger hand and on your stronger side of the body (so if you are right-handed, hold it with your right hand on your right side). Now bounce the ball once and catch it when it bounces back up.

2. Now bounce the ball again. Instead of catching it when it bounces up, bounce it again using your fingertips. Make a slightly cupped hand like in the picture and push the ball down (don’t slap the ball down). Do this over and over again until you are confident you won’t lose control of the ball.

Many mistakes people make are bouncing the ball in front of the body instead of on the side, bouncing it in front of your body will make it easier for the opponent to steal the ball away while you are dribbling, it would also make it easier for you trip. So make sure you bounce the ball on the side of your body.

Another mistake is slapping the ball instead of pushing it down. Make a slightly cupped hand shape as shown in the picture and push the ball down using your fingertips, your hand should be following the ball as it bounces. If you’re doing it correctly, the ball should really stick to your hand most of the time. This makes it a lot easier to control the ball.

3. Bend your knees a bit and make sure you put power in pushing the ball down so it would be harder for the opponent to steal the ball away from you. But don’t bounce the ball too hard if not you can easily lose control of the ball. The ball should come up to your waist before you push it down again.

4. Keep bouncing the ball like it it described above. Make sure your dribbling is consistent and that the ball comes up to the same place. Keep practicing until you are able to dribble the ball with control and without looking at the ball (look ahead of you). It is important that you keep your head up in a basketball game so you are aware of whats going on, and maybe looking for a good pass or shot.

5. Now try walking in a straight line while keeping your dribble under control, and make sure you look up. This might take a lot of practice, but once you can do this try running instead of walking.

6. After you can do all of the things described above, try switch the dribbling hand by bouncing it at an angle in front of you towards your other hand. So that is starts on your side, bounces in front of you and ends up on the other side. Keep practicing this till you can do it!

You need to learn how to dribble consistently with both hands. I know its harder with your weaker hand, but it is very useful to be able to dribble with both hands. It might be very difficult at first, but keep practicing till you get it!

Published: 08 July, 2011

How to dribble a basketball

Being able to dribble is one of the most important skills you can have as a basketball player. Learning to dribble effectively can vastly improve your ability to play the game as it opens up the floor and provides more offensive opportunities for you and your teammates. Developing your handle on the ball requires hours of practice and repetition using both hands.

Getting a Grip

Before you can effectively handle the basketball, you should develop the important muscle groups needed to control the basketball. Your fingertips and wrists are essential to your success as a basketball player in all aspects of the game. The stronger your hands and fingertips, the more control you will have over the ball. Doing ball-handling drills and exercises such as fingertip pushups will ensure that you have the strength to improve your dribbling skills.

Feel It Out

To improve your handle on the ball you must get a good feel for it. If you are serious about becoming a dribbler and have improved your fingertip strength, the next step is to be in constant contact. The basketball should become an extension of your body. When you are practicing, devote time to moving the ball from hand to hand using only your fingertips to develop dexterity and hand-eye coordination. The more familiar you are with the grooves and the overall feel of the basketball, the better you will be at handling the rock.

Practice Makes Perfect

Devote time during your basketball workout to dribbling drills. While monotonous, incorporating dribbling drills into your workout is the best way to develop your muscle memory. Spend 30 minutes a day doing figure eight dribbles, behind-the-back dribbles, power crossovers pounding the ball on the floor as hard as you can, blind-folded dribbling, double ball dribbling and uneven surface dribbling utilizing unpaved surfaces or dirt patches. These drills will greatly enhance your ball-handling ability in practice and game situations, as they will make the less complex dribbling moves you make during game play seem much simpler.

Dribbling is Fun-damental

None of your practice will matter if you are not able to fundamentally execute what you have worked on in game situations. Push the ball in front of you as you are sprinting down the floor, keep your head up while dribbling, keep your dribble below your knees and remain loose while using your entire body to control the basketball. Paying attention to the fundamentals will greatly improve your ability to handle the rock and take advantage of the defense.

How to dribble a basketball

Dribbling is the skill to deceit the opponents defend and proceed to score a basket.

Dribbling is a different ball game and is an art that takes much more time than the other basketball skills.

Dribbling is the simultaneous response of hands and ball coordination, legs and mind synchronization and the purpose of dribbling at a specific time in the game.

To score points, dribbling is the way to create the gaps in the defending lanes of the opposition. An attacker can’t only run straight to the opposite rim.

This article is a collection of tips to improve dribbling skills in basketball.

Best Dribbling Tips for Basketball

To improve the dribbling skill in basketball, you should enforce the following tips in your daily dribbling practice.

Always Keep Your Head Up

How to dribble a basketball

This is the initial step to improve dribbling skill.

When the head is up, the eyes will have the complete view of the court and a player can easily judge the moves of the opponent team.

During practice, look at the rim or the walls etcetera.

It will help you to develop the habit of looking forward during the match and the question of when to dribble becomes tranquil and clear.

Dribble with Fingers Pads

Fingers pads are the principal objects to perform a breath-taking dribble act in the game.

Many players are practicing the dribble with complete fingers and even palms too. The best technique to dribble a basketball is with the use of finger pads. They will give enhanced control on the ball and makes dribbling easy and smooth.

Pound the Basketball Hard

It is an important factor involved in dribbling the ball.

The more forcefully you pound the basketball, the more quickly it will get back to your hand after striking the ground.

“Every action has a reaction that is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction”

It’s Newton’s third law of motion. It is the essence of dribbling.

Give enough force to the ball that it came back to your hands quickly at a comfortable height. This will minimize the time to snatch the ball for the defenders.

Adopt a Low Stance

Keep the body low, and knees bend. It is essential because the more you kept yourself low, the less the height will be there for the ball to reach the hand after striking the earth.

This stance will minimize the risk of snatching the ball by the opponents as the ball is kept low from the comfortable level of the defender’s stance.

Be Aware of the Ball Positioning

It is imperative that a player has complete awareness of the ball positioning during dribbling.

If you are progressing towards the rim, keep the ball in front of you.

On the other side,

if you are in a contest with a defender, keep the ball to the right or left-hand side in line with the tip of your shoes and place your body between the ball and defender to protect the ball.

Learn the Dribbling Rules

Game discipline is very important, and any foul during the game is costly for the team. Knowing the dribbling rules will minimize the opportunity of the free ball to the opposition.

The rules associated with dribbling are traveling rule, double dribble rule and carrying rule.

Important Drills for Basketball Dribbling

Some important Drills to improve dribbling are stated below:

  • Up and Back Dribbling
  • Balloon Dribbling
  • Spider Dribble
  • Drop and Catch
  • Two up – Two Back


Dribbling is the skill that will stand a player up against the others. It is the key to move a scorecard ahead and create opportunities for the teammates to score.

The skill is challenging to master, but it is not impossible. The daily practice of the above-stated tips and drills will improve the dribbling skills of a basketball player.

How to dribble a basketball

How to Dribble & Handle the Basketball Better

Good ball handling skills are essential to becoming a good basketball player, especially for perimeter players like guards and forward. The key to successful offense is to keep the defense off balance at all times and to protect the basketball. Players who have the ability to dribble both directions and don’t turn over the Evolution basketball will consistently find good scoring opportunities and help their teams win games. Great ball-handling is an art that is learned through years of practice and repetition.

[Related article for point guards and playmakers: improve jump shot accuracy]

Here are the keys to becoming a good ball-handler:

Get comfortable with the ball in your hands: The most important aspect for a young player is to become comfortable with the basketball in their hands. Get comfortable handling and dribbling the ball in a variety of situations and settings. Players do not need a game or practice setting to work on their ball-handling. Dribbling can be practiced in driveways, basements, sidewalks and on recreation courts.

The key to effective practice is to replicated game situations, such as dribbling with both hands, stopping and changing directions quickly, and protecting the ball from the prying hands of opposing defenders. It’s all about the development of effective eye-hand coordination. Years of practice will give the young basketball player true ambidextrous ability to handle the basketball. When ball-handling is perfected the player learns the ability to not only dribble in both directions, but to dribble with their head up at all times. A player who can dribble with their head-up is able to see the full court and find their teammates for an open pass.

Learn the basics first: Top NBA superstars are able to dribble in a variety of creative ways in order to keep the defense off balance and protect the ball. This includes using quick spin moves off the dribble, dribbling behind the back, and dribbling through your legs. The key for a young player is to learn the basic fundamentals of first dribbling well with their dominant hand and then their off hand.

[Related article: How to rebound like a beast]

Once a player learns to dribble in a motionless situation they can slowly build in learning to dribble on the run. Once a young basketball player has mastered the basics of dribbling and can effectively move the ball with the dribble without looking at it they can slowly build additional components into their game. NBA players use behind the back and between the legs dribbling not to show off, but to make effective offensive moves and protect the ball. It’s important for young players to realize that a solid dribbling foundation is needed first.

Develop a “go-to” move and a “change of pace” move: Once a young player has mastered the basic fundamentals and has the ability to handle the ball and see the court with their head up they can master individual “go to” moves. If a player has a quick first step to their dominant hand they should utilize that move until the defense can stop it. Of course many good defensive players will cut off a player’s dominant hand or dominant move. If this is the case it’s essential to have a variety of ball-handling moves to get past the defense for scoring looks or to draw in the defense so the player can find an open teammate for shot. Over time a player will slowly build an arsenal of effective moves they can rely on in different situations. The key is to master a handful of moves and then to build your arsenal of moves over time.

Practice, practice, practice: The great hall handlers like Isaiah Thomas, John Stockton and Chris Paul became great through years and years of practice. It’s essential for a young player to consistently work on their ball-handling both through individual practice, in pickup games at local courts or rec leagues, and in competitive scrimmages and games. Real game action, even if it’s a three-on-three game with a group of friends is vitally important. Learning to use your dribble against an effective defense in a real game situation will bolster the situation awareness that a good ball-handler needs. Being a good ball-handler, someone who doesn’t turn the ball over, occurs when the player not only is adept at dribbling the basketball, but when the develop and understanding of how to maximize the space on the court.

Last thought: One of the best side effects of mastering your ball handling: your jump shot accuracy increases as you arms develop a better feel for the ball.

Dribbling a basketball should be one of the first fundamental basketball skills a beginning youth basketball player learns. Dribbling occurs when the player controls the movement of the basketball through bouncing the ball to the ground with one hand while preventing his or her opponent from hindering the ball movement.

If you want to learn how to dribble a basketball, we can help you get started by laying out these five basic fundamental points in regards to how to dribble a basketball:

1. Use Your Fingers, Not Your Palm: When dribbling a basketball, utilizing your fingers from the tip to the pad of the hand provides you the easiest avenue to maintain control and speed of your dribble. When dribbling the ball, you need to separate your fingers apart from each other instead of keeping it together. If you use the palm of your hand, you will lose control of the basketball.

2. Relax Your Fingers: When you place your hand on the ball when dribbling, make sure your hand sits comfortably on the basketball. You do not want stiff hands when dribbling a basketball. If you have stiff hands, your fingers will not maintain good control of the basketball and you will lose the ball.

3. Keep the Ball Low: when you dribble the ball, you want to make sure the ball stays below your waist. The higher you dribble the ball, the easier the opponent guarding you can steal the ball away. The key to successfuly dribble the ball low lies within your body posture. You need to make sure to drop your hip and bend your knees while you place your feet shoulder width apart.

4. Practice Using Both Hands: The theory that humans learn more quickly at a younger age applies with dribbling the ball. Make sure you practice dribbling the basketball with both your right hand and your left hand. If you know how to dribble with both hands, you will have an easier time manuevering around the court without getting the ball stolen from you.

5. Keep Eyes Up: After you master the first 4 steps, you must now keep your eyes off the ball while dribbling the ball. Keeping your eyes up when dribbling the ball enables you to look around the court and locate open teammates to pass the ball to. Also, keeping your eyes up helps you identify where you are on the court. Dribbling the basketball while closing your eyes provides a good way to learn how to dribble without looking down at the ball.

Last Updated on April 13, 2021 By Markar Smith Leave a Comment

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A player with extraordinary dribbling skills is amazing. Do you want to learn how to dribble a basketball better? What should be the posture of the body while dribbling? Whether you should bend your back or stand up straight.

Should you dribble with palms? How much should you bounce the ball up? There are different techniques for dribbling, and all techniques require practice. Do you also want to learn how many drills of dribbling are?

How much force must be applied for dribbling? Where should you dribble the ball by keeping in mind the position of the other player?

All these questions are answered below.

How to Dribble a Basketball Better?

Dribbling is a process in which we bounce the ball repeatedly on the floor while moving and create the opportunity for the score by saving it from the defender.

How to dribble a basketball

There are some tips and drills that you have to learn for better dribbling a basketball. Some of them are given below.


Read the following tips and follow them while practicing dribbling.

The Right Posture of the Body

For dribbling, always bend your knees and never bend your back. Don’t tilt your head down. While dribbling, move your shoulder down because you better defend the ball and easily deceit the defender in this posture.

Grasping the Ball with Finger Pads

Grasp the ball from the top of the ball with your finger pads. Dribbling the ball with finger pads increases the speed of dribbling and control over the ball.

Bouncing the Ball

Bounce the ball with enough force that it can bounce back to the height of in between your knees and waist. Keep changing the size of the bouncing and dribble it steadily.

Direction of Dribbling

The direction of dribbling changes according to the situation and position of other players. When you are in open court, then dribble the ball in front of you and try to move forward.

On the other hand, when there are defenders near you, keep your body between the defender and the ball. Then dribble basketball behind your back to avoid stealing of basketball by defenders.

Use Your Offhand

Use your offhand because this helps in dribbling better and protecting the basketball from the defender. For practice, take a tennis ball in your offhand and the basketball on the other hand and practice dribbling with both hands.

Execution of Footwork

Learn to use your footwork because, in basketball, you have to keep moving from one place to another. You have to practice a lot for dribbling and continuously moving forward, backward, towards the left and right sides. Keep your motion forward and backward instead of towards left or

Right. Always attack your defender from the front instead of from the sides.

Vary Your Speed

Similarly, don’t keep dribbling at the same speed because defenders react to your moves. Try to deceive the defender by changing your speed every time and make it difficult for the defender to guess your next move.

Force for Bouncing

When you bounce the ball, it is out of your hands. So, bounce the ball with enough force that you can again get it and keep dribbling it.

Dribbling Drills

  • Following are some drills for dribbling

1. Stationary Dribble

It is an easy kind of dribbling and, we use it for practice. Dribble the ball with each hand one by one for 45seconds. Then dribble the ball between your legs by using one hand and then by the other hand.

2. Stationary Crossover Dribble

By using this dribble, we can easily change our direction. In this drill, dribble the ball between your legs and use both your hands for dribbling.

3. Zig Zag Dribble

In this dribble, you move in the diagonal direction and then change your direction and dribble the basketball between legs also and practice to dribble behind your back.

4. Double Ball Power Dribbling

It will help you to practice dribbling even when you are not looking at basketball. In this drill, you practice dribbling with two balls and, you can use the tennis ball for this drill.


For the victory, all teammates must be aware of the dribbling. For better dribbling, practice maintaining the chair like the posture of the body. Always look at your defenders while dribbling so, practice dribbling without looking at the ball.

The most important thing is to practice dribbling with your offhand because, for better dribbling, a player should be the master of dribbling with both hands.

A basketball player must know the art of keeping defenders confused by changing its speed and direction of dribbling. So, the probability of the score increases.

For a better basketball dribbler, practice all these tips and drill as much as you can. Then try other drills and master them all.

Last Updated: January 14, 2021 References

This article was co-authored by Ryan Tremblay. Ryan Tremblay is a Basketball Coach and the Owner of National Sports ID and STACK Basketball. With over 30 years of experience, Ryan specializes in basketball coaching, social media marketing, and website design. Ryan created the National Sports ID as a platform to verify the age/grade of youth athletes and STACK Basketball to inspire young athletes to grow into mature individuals and basketball players. Ryan was a First Team All-Decade basketball player in Bergen County and finished in the top 20 all-time leading scorers in the county’s history with 1,730 points. He went on to Caldwell University on a basketball scholarship where he was part of three championship teams. Ryan was a two-time All-Metropolitan, All-State, and All-Conference point guard and the all-time three-point leader in the school’s history, landing him in the Caldwell University Athletic Hall of Fame.

There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Dribbling is a fundamental skill in the game of basketball, and passing a ball between your legs is one of the flashiest ways to do it. Although it looks like a simple trick, dribbling between your legs can help you keep the ball out of a defender’s grasp. To set up for the move, you first have to know how to control the ball. A quick step forward gives you a chance to cross the ball to your other hand. Practice the move to impress crowds and leave defenders in your dust on game day.