Best Basketball Dribbling Drills for Beginners

Best Basketball Dribbling Drills for Beginners

Basketball is one of the hardest-to-master sports, and for good reason. Between dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, and defending, there are hundreds of skills required to become a great player. But one of the first, and arguably most important skills to master, is dribbling. Being able to control the ball effectively while moving around the court is the most effective way to create scoring opportunities for yourself & your teammates. 

We’re going to explore the best basketball dribbling drills specifically designed for beginners. These drills will help you develop the essential foundations of dribbling, such as ball control, hand-eye coordination, and agility. We’ve categorized the drills into three sections: stationary dribbling drills, dribbling drills on the move, and game-based dribbling drills with defenders. As you progress through these drills, you’ll develop far more confidence in your ball-handling skills and overall game, making you a larger presence on the court. 

Stationary Dribbling Drills

Before you start moving around the court or practicing against defenders, you need to master a few dribbling basics while standing in place. These will serve as the foundation for your ball-handling abilities: 

Dribble Control Drill

  • Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your dominant hand on top of the basketball while your non-dominant hand rests on the side.
  • Begin dribbling the ball using your dominant hand, focusing on maintaining control and a consistent rhythm.
  • After a set number of dribbles, switch to your non-dominant hand and repeat the process.
  • Continue alternating between hands for a specified duration or number of repetitions. 

Figure Eight Dribble Drill

  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees.
  • Start dribbling the ball with your dominant hand, moving it in a figure eight pattern around your legs.
  • Focus on keeping the ball low and close to the ground while maintaining control throughout the drill.
  • After a set number of repetitions, switch to your non-dominant hand and repeat the figure eight motion.
  • Challenge yourself by increasing the speed and intensity of the drill as you become more comfortable.

Spider Dribble Drill

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Place a cone or any marker about two feet in front of you.
  • Start dribbling the ball with your dominant hand and move towards the cone.
  • Perform a quick crossover dribble, switching the ball to your non-dominant hand, and continue dribbling back to the starting position.
  • Repeat this drill for a set number of repetitions or a specified duration, focusing on quick and controlled movements.

Around the World Drill

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Begin dribbling the ball in front of you with your dominant hand.
  • Move the ball in a circular motion around your body, passing it from one hand to the other.
  • Focus on maintaining control and a smooth motion as you complete a full rotation around your body.
  • Challenge yourself by increasing the speed and accuracy of the drill as you become more comfortable.

Tennis Ball Dribble Drill

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Hold a tennis ball in your non-dominant hand and a basketball in your dominant hand.
  • Begin dribbling the basketball with your dominant hand while simultaneously tossing and catching the tennis ball with your non-dominant hand.
  • Focus on maintaining control of both balls and develop a rhythm between the two actions.
  • Gradually increase the speed and difficulty of the drill by incorporating crossovers, between-the-legs dribbles, or other advanced moves.

The tennis ball dribble drill helps improve your hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and overall ball-handling skills by challenging you to handle multiple objects simultaneously.

You can practice all of these drills without having to step foot on a basketball court. Grab your silent basketball and do them while you watch TV or before you go to bed, all from the comfort of your home

Dribbling Drills on the Move

Once the stationary drills feel too easy, it’s time to put some of those fundamental skills into motion. These drills are designed to simulate game situations where you need to control the ball while on the move, change directions, and react quickly:

Zig Zag Dribble Drill

  • Set up a series of cones or markers in a zigzag pattern on the court.
  • Start at one end of the zigzag pattern with the basketball in hand.
  • Begin dribbling the ball and move laterally towards the first cone.
  • Perform a crossover dribble at the cone, switching the ball to the opposite hand.
  • Continue dribbling and moving laterally to the next cone, repeating the crossover dribble at each cone.
  • Focus on maintaining control and a low dribble throughout the drill.
  • Challenge yourself by increasing the speed and intensity as you become more comfortable.

Speed Dribble Drill

  • Start at one end of the court with the basketball in hand.
  • Dribble the ball as fast as you can while moving towards the opposite end of the court.
  • Focus on maintaining control and a low dribble while maximizing your speed.
  • Challenge yourself by incorporating crossovers, between-the-legs dribbles, or behind-the-back dribbles during the drill.
  • Repeat the drill for a specified duration or a set number of repetitions.

This drill will translate directly into your scoring ability on fast breaks.

Two-Ball Dribble Drill

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Hold a basketball in each hand.
  • Begin dribbling both basketballs simultaneously, focusing on maintaining control and a consistent rhythm.
  • Challenge yourself by incorporating crossovers, between-the-legs dribbles, or other advanced moves with both hands.
  • Practice moving forward, backward, and laterally while dribbling with both hands.
  • Gradually increase the speed and difficulty of the drill as you become more comfortable.

You’ll never dribble two balls at once during a game. But if you can comfortably do it during practice, handling just one will feel effortless during a game.

Cone Attack Drill

  • Set up a series of cones or markers in a straight line on the court.
  • Start at one end of the line with the basketball in hand.
  • Dribble the ball towards the first cone, performing a move such as a crossover, between-the-legs, or behind-the-back dribble.
  • Accelerate past the cone and move towards the next cone, repeating the move at each cone.
  • Focus on maintaining control, speed, and explosiveness throughout the drill.
  • Challenge yourself by incorporating different moves and varying your speed and intensity.

Partner Dribble Drill

  • Pair up with a teammate or training partner.
  • Stand facing each other with some distance between you.
  • Begin dribbling the ball while your partner mirrors your movements, trying to steal the ball.
  • Practice dribbling with both hands, incorporating crossovers, between-the-legs dribbles, and other moves to protect the ball.
  • Challenge each other by increasing the intensity and competitiveness of the drill.
  • Switch roles and repeat the drill, allowing your partner to dribble while you attempt to steal the ball.

These drills require you to simultaneously move around the court & change directions, all without losing control of your dribble. The Partner Dribble Drill is a good introduction to defender and game-based dribbling drills, so let’s keep it moving with some more advanced drills. 

Game Based Dribbling Drills With Defenders

The famous motto is “practice like you play.” And if you practice these dribbling moves consistently, you’ll have nothing to worry about when it comes to tip-off. 

1-on-1 Attack Drill

  • Set up a designated area on the court with boundaries.
  • Pair up with a defender and start at one end of the area.
  • The defender's objective is to prevent you from reaching the opposite end while you try to dribble past them and score.
  • Focus on using dribble moves, crossovers, and change of speed to create separation from the defender.
  • Practice maintaining control of the ball while under defensive pressure.
  • Switch roles with your partner and repeat the drill, taking turns being the defender and the dribbler.

The 1-on-1 attack drill helps improve your ability to read defenders, make quick decisions, and execute effective dribble moves to create scoring opportunities. Plus, you get a few defensive repetitions in, which will boost your overall game. 

2-on-2 Pick and Roll Drill

  • Divide into two teams of two players each.
  • Set up a pick and roll situation by placing a screener (teammate) and a defender near the top of the key.
  • The ball-handler initiates the play by dribbling towards the screener.
  • The ball-handler uses the screener to create separation from the defender, either by going around the screen or using a dribble move.
  • Focus on making quick decisions based on the defender's reaction and executing effective pick and roll actions.
  • Practice maintaining control of the ball while under defensive pressure and making accurate passes to your teammate.

This drill’s sole focus is to improve your pick and roll execution. Read the defender and make a quick decision based off of their movement. 

3-on-3 Transition Drill

  • Divide into two teams of three players each.
  • Set up a half-court or full-court playing area.
  • Start with one team on offense and the other on defense.
  • The offensive team initiates the play by rebounding or stealing the ball and quickly transitioning to offense.
  • The defensive team's objective is to stop the offensive team from scoring by applying defensive pressure and attempting steals.
  • Focus on maintaining control of the ball while under defensive pressure, making accurate passes, and executing effective dribble moves to create scoring opportunities.

This simulates fast-paced game situations where you need to navigate through defenders and make decisions on the fly. It improves your ability to handle defensive pressure, make quick decisions, and execute effective dribble moves in transition.

Full-Court Press Break Drill

  • Divide into two teams, one on offense and one on defense.
  • Set up a full-court playing area.
  • The defensive team applies full-court pressure to the offensive team, attempting to steal the ball or force turnovers.
  • The offensive team's objective is to break the press and advance the ball to the other end of the court.
  • Focus on maintaining control of the ball, using dribble moves and quick passes to evade defenders, and making accurate decisions under pressure.

Full-court presses can be a nightmare scenario for teams, especially in crunch time. But if you practice how to break them, emphasizing quick decision-making and effective passing & dribbling, you won’t feel nearly as stressed when your opponent sets a press up against you. You’ll be more composed than ever, enabling you to escape traps, prevent double dribbles & turnovers, and set up easy scoring chances. 

By incorporating these game-based dribbling drills with defenders into your training routine, you will quickly evolve your skills from beginner to advanced hooper. They’ll improve your decision-making abilities, enhance your defensive skills, and elevate your overall performance on the court. Practice consistently at home and at practice, challenge yourself, and watch your dribbling skills soar to new heights.

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