The most challenging NBA season to date has recently come to completion in the form of the Los Angeles Lakers securing their 17th NBA championship after taking down the Miami Heat. Despite the interruptions of COVID-19, the NBA community united to share their game loved by millions of fans around the world, all from the surroundings of the Orlando ‘Bubble’. With the interest and fan base generated from all over the world, basketball is clearly one of the world’s most popular sports…and it’s easy to see why. A fast-paced intense sport, requiring athleticism, hand-eye coordination and decision-making prowess – it has it all! This fascination of basketball is being seen closer to home in Australia, and more specifically with the Geelong community. Here at SportsPower Geelong our basketball range has proven to be quite popular of recent times. From our range of NBA team caps to our variety of Nike Basketball shoes, we have you sorted. Furthermore, our selection of Spalding and Molten basketballs will get you bouncing down to the local court in no time! Clearly we aren’t all experts when it comes to the sport of basketball, yet at SportsPower Geelong we would like to do our best to give our tips and tricks to improve your game on the court, covering a number of different areas of your game. Read along to be sorted with the tools to lift your game from beginner levels.
Today's lesson is all about learning to dribble!
Now to the most frequently occurring skill in basketball…dribbling! Whilst being a skill that can sometimes go unnoticed, it’s essential to work on, especially at the beginner level. The fact that every player on the court, no matter their position, will have moments when they are required to dribble means that it’s a fundamental skill everybody must practice. Luckily for you, we’ve got you sorted with all you need to know when beginning to dribble.
To begin, when bouncing the ball, it’s best to spread your fingers whilst also keeping them relaxed. The spread of the fingers means that you are covering a greater area of the ball and therefore have greater control of the ball. Your finger pads should be used to dribble the ball rather than your fingertips of the palm of your hand. Your fingertips won’t allow for enough control of the ball, whilst using the palm of your hand will mean you are slapping down on the ball too hard, again affecting control.
When bouncing the ball, it’s recommended to push the ball into the ground with force. This means that the ball is moving quicker and therefore in your hands for greater amounts of time. Compare this to softer, slower dribbling which hangs in the air for longer. Any good defender would be licking their lips before stealing the ball off you with ease. Therefore, shorter more powerful dribbles are a tool to protect your own dribble out on the court. This technique coupled with a low stance allows for less time without your fingers in contact with the ball. In addition, a low stance should be utilised in order to maintain a stable base which you are ready to accelerate from. Being in a basketball match, obstacles are thrown at you from left, right and centre when you’re in control of the ball. Having a stable base means you can respond to any obstacle with a degree of alertness rather than being upright and out of position. This means that knees should be slightly bent, and the torso should be lowered slightly towards the ground.
The next phase of dribbling in basketball involves being able to protect the ball from opponents. We’ve spoken about using your dribble to protect the ball, however using your body to protect the ball from being stolen is a key skill to develop. An arm-bar is a technique used by many players to protect their ball handling space from opponents. This simply involves raising your non dribbling arm to out in front of your body where the defender stands. This arm must remain stationary however, do not look to push against your opponent with it. A second technique involves turning your body so that your back faces your opponent. This sets up a protective shield from the ball, due to it being extremely hard for a defender to reach around an opponent’s body and steal the ball.
Whilst protecting your dribble is very important, it shouldn’t be the only thing on your mind! Keeping your eyes up on the rest of the court will allow you to make good passes and the right decisions. This will benefit yourself and your teammates enormously. For a start however, it’s understandable to practice your dribbling by keeping your eye on the ball. Just like anything, with more repetition, the easier it will become, allowing you to eventually scan the court with ease whilst dribbling the ball. Who said men can’t multitask?
Hopefully these tips will come in handy for all! At the beginner level I suggest practicing whilst remaining stationary, making sure both hands are practiced. This will allow you to develop your hand-eye coordination without any distractions for a start. As ball-handling skills improve, start to dribble whilst moving and add in some obstacles which may cause you to change your dribbling pattern. Eventually you should be able to practice dribbling against a partner, whilst incorporating other skills such as shooting and passing amongst it.
Now go on, jump off the couch and get stuck into some dribbling practice. The best thing about it is that all you need is a ball and small space to bounce the ball. No basketball ring or partner even required! SportsPower Geelong will have you covered with our range of Spalding and Nike basketballs. Come and secure yours and you’re halfway there to having the ball handling skills of the Harlem Globetrotters!