Dribbling the ball is one of the most basic elements of the game, and the teams that do it best are the toughest to defend. Although dribbling is basic, you can teach different types of dribbles that will make your players more efficient with the ball.
An obvious benefit of being efficient with the ball is that opponents can’t force as many turnovers, which translates into more scoring opportunities for your team. Two of the more advanced types of dribbles, the crossover and the reverse pivot dribble, are techniques that can bolster your players’ ball-handling skills.
The crossover dribbling technique allows players to change direction quickly side-to-side in order to maneuver past defenders and create open passing or shooting lanes. This list shows how it’s done:
1. The player dribbles the ball with his dominant hand (in this case, the right) while facing the defender.
2. He takes a jab step with his right foot about 12 inches forward while lowering his body closer to the court. A jab step is a short, quick step, like what a child does to squish a bug with his shoe. (A left-handed dribbler takes a jab step with his left foot.)
3. The player shifts his weight to the inside of his right foot. He keeps dribbling the ball ahead of his right leg and to the right of his right foot.
4. He leans slightly to his right to get the defender’s body going in that direction.
5. He pushes off his right leg, switches the ball to his left hand by bouncing it low, and dribbles past the defender with his left hand and leg. He must do this quickly because he’s exposing the ball to the defender.
Many times during the course of the action — especially when a defender is guarding a player closely or the defense is springing a trap — the reverse pivot can be a perfect mode of escape, catching opposing players by surprise. The reverse-pivot dribble allows the ball handler to spin away from a defender to generate a scoring (or at least a better passing) opportunity. The following looks at how a player performs the dribble (players should be proficient with both hands):
1. To start the execution of a reverse pivot, the player dribbles the ball with her right hand (if she’s right-handed) while facing the defender. Left-handed players begin the pivot while dribbling with their left hands. The righty’s left leg should be about six inches in front of her right leg.
2. She pivots clockwise on her left foot while swinging her right leg and torso in the clockwise direction. She should keep her body low to the court and stop the spin as her back faces the defender.
3. The ball handler pulls the ball toward her while keeping her body between the defender and the ball. Make sure she keeps her hand off the bottom of the ball to avoid palming.
4. She switches the ball to her left hand while completing the spin move. She’s now ready to pivot on her right foot to dribble past the defender.
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