Ball Handling – Eliminate Waste in Your Game

All basketball players should try to eliminate waste in their game.  There should be a purpose behind each pass, dribble, step, shot, sprint, cut, etc.. 

Two ball-handling related things that always stuck out to me as waste are when players waste the dribble or when they pick up the dribble for no reason.

For some unknown reason, many players have trouble simply holding the ball and surveying the floor, finding teammates, and measuring the defense.  Everyone wants to immediately dribble the ball as soon as they catch it.  However, if you watch the best players at any level in many situations, they are crafty with jab steps, pump fakes, and other non-dribble moves, long before they ever put the ball on the floor. (Even if you are playing at the high school or college level and you have the 5-second violation to worry about, relax; there is plenty of time.  If you catch the ball and survey the floor for 4 and a half seconds, dribble for 4 and a half seconds, you can still pick the ball up again and hold it for 4.5 more seconds.  That is a total of over 13 seconds with the basketball with no violation called.)  There are 5 defenders on the floor that all want the ball…but you have it…no rush to do anything with it…it’s yours!  Don’t hurry to start dribbling. Additionally, dribble moves are often not the most effective for getting by the defense…often time those same jab steps and pump fakes mentioned above are the best way to get by a defender. 

Another unneeded thing is picking up you dribble when it is unnecessary.  Often times players will pick up their dribble with no real reason, which causes them to get stuck, trapped, turn the ball over, or to force up a bad shot.  It is much easier to keep the dribble alive and back out of a congested area, or use the dribble to get to the middle of the court to avoid a trap.  Keep the dribble unless you are forced to pick it up, or have a plan.

These two items are more for non-post players, but wasting your dribble is also a huge mistake for a big man in the post.  Too many times I watch big men catch the ball put it on the floor and make a half-assed move then have to force up a bad shot or turn the ball over.  Catch the ball, feel the defender, and make the right move for the right situation.

Do you get caught in these situations?  Leave your comments below…

About Joe Lucas

Joe Lucas is the founder of The World of Hoops. DSC_8916 He has 25 years of experience playing basketball, training basketball players, and coaching basketball. The World of Hoops provides intelligent and intense basketball training to take basketball players to the next level.

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