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Team Focused Ball Handling Drills

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I can't lie and say this was my favorite drill. I never liked it. But I can say that few drills helped me improve my ball handling skills like this drill. The offensive player must beat 2 defenders from one end-line to half-court or the other end-line. For the sake of your players go to half-court because this drill can be grueling and damaging to the psyche. One player has the ball at the end-line while being closely defended by two players. If the ball is knocked away for whatever reason, the offensive player must start over.

The defensive players must be rewarded if they stop the offensive player and vice versa. This should force you to really use your speed, strength and ball handling moves. My theory on this was to speed to a corner until I was cut off, then I would immediately back the ball off by taking two hard dribbles backward to create space. Once I had my space I was able to go full speed again another direction. Use your off arm as a shield and don't shy away from contact. This drill will prepare you for games like few will. I teach it to everyone who will listen.

Pistol's Circle

In Pistol Pete's video series he talks about a circle drill that he would use to work on his ball handling. This man was amazing. Anyway, the drill is simple in concept. For coaches you start by getting players on the 3 circles on the floor. We used the half-court circle and both foul-line circles. Once in the circle you use all the dribbling moves that you have in your repertoire. This should be a crossover, a spin move, backing the ball off and any others you may have practiced. Pete recommends using 3 minutes to start and going up to 5 minutes as you build up. This gets you extremely tired but since it is a drill that can be done in a short time frame, I highly recommend it for all players, not just guards.

Maximize your Dribble

I've touched on some variations of this drill, but in a team setting it is a little different. Form 2 lines at the foul-line extended. We called it the elbow, but some call it the junction. It is 15 feet away at the elbow in either case. Players are allowed 1 dribble to get to the basket.

Players must complete 2 types of shots to complete this drill correctly. First they must complete a layup using the dribble and second they must come to a jump stop and shoot a short jump shot from lay-up distance. Both are used in games and are very important. Coaches, teach your players the importance of stopping with both feet in a controlled manner. You'll be surprised how much space you can cover by completing a jump-stop. Complete both types from each side. Once the foul-line is completed, move to the 3 point line.

From here each player is allowed 2 dribbles. Some will be able to get there in 1 dribble and they should be commended for it. The point to the drill is to get as far as you can on limited dribbles. Each player must complete a layup and jump stop from both sides. Once that is completed, move to half court and allow 3 dribbles. Same rules apply. Once that is completed, move to the baseline and see how many dribbles it takes them to get to the other side. 4-5 dribbles is possible for some older players. This drill is fun and challenging. It teaches speed dribbling, control and gaining space with limited dribbles. In a high school game once, I remember having the ball at the top of the key and taking one dribble and then going into a jump stop. I probably went 7-8 feet on the jump stop to get me right by the basket. I was under control and was glad that I practiced this drill.

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