ball handling

Passing: Different Types Of Passes

I’m a big advocate on trying to simplify things and I don’t want to go overboard with the types of passes that I outline here. Emphasize a mastery of all four types of passes that I am about to outline because unlike ball handling, it is crucial to be a strong passing team with each different type of pass.

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Here is a list of passes that I recommend teaching:

  1. Chest.
  2. Bounce.
  3. Overhead.
  4. Handoff.

Every single one of these passes is important and has a place within any half-court and full-court offense.

Passing: Stats & Why Its Underrated

With any skill or fundamental, you need to be able to apply some kind of metric as a way to track progress. Passing as I stated in my post yesterday is the most underrated fundamental skill of all those that exist (yes, even more than defense). If you have an ability to pass the ball, it gives you a ton of flexibility on offense and also can help you out if you have a team that does not shoot the ball very well.

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Statistically, teams who pass the ball well and don’t turn the ball over very much do very well in games. The result of improved passing is fewer turnovers and more assists.

Here are steps to tracking your passing:

  1. Look at the number of turnovers your team averages for the season prior to your commitment to improving ball handling and also look at the number of assists.
  2. Commit to incorporating passing drills (stay tuned next week for some ideas) into every practice and truly developing the skill level of your athletes.
  3. Start tracking the assist to turnover ratio and see if your assists are increasing and your turnovers are decreasing.
  4. In addition, when tracking turnovers, determine if they are a result of passing or ball hall handling.

The goal that I have set for my teams is to have an assist to turnover ratio of 2:1. If your team can do this, it bodes very well for your offense.

Ball Handling: Moves & Options

Going more in depth with the idea of creating scoring opportunities through ball handling, I have created a list of moves and options that I suggest teaching to athletes as a way to develop their ball handling and ability to score. Please make sure that you emphasize footwork and the basics as an introduction. Do not jump into teaching advanced skills and moves before your athletes are ready.

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Here is a list of moves and options that I recommend teaching:

  1. Jab step and go.
  2. Ripping the ball through into a drive (Right to left and opposite).
  3. Jab right and attack left (Teach the opposite as well).
  4. Crossover.
  5. Between the legs.
  6. Behind the back.
  7. Stutter step with hesitation.
  8. In and out dribble.
  9. Double move.
  10. Shot fake into drive.

Not every player is going to have every one of these moves work for them. If they can focus on mastering four or five of these moves, it will help them to become a more balanced and proficient athlete.

Ball Handling: More Advanced Drills & Concepts

As your team starts to become more proficient with the ball, you can start to teach more advanced concepts with the ball. Being able to use ball handling to create scoring opportunities for the ball handler and also being able to draw defenders to set up a teammate are some of the more advanced concepts. A great teaching emphasis to help with creating scoring opportunities is teaching athletes to change speeds. Being fast is great but changing speeds is the best way to become an elite ball handler.

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As your teams start to take it to the next level, you need to start making the drills that you run in practice more difficult as well. Here are some of the more advanced drills that I like to run to improve ball handling:

  1. 4 lines dribbling one ball up and back. (Right hand, left hand, crossover, between the legs, behind the back, step back/crossover, and changing moves). To take this drill to the next level, have your athletes were dribbling goggles and mix in the use of a medicine ball or tennis ball.
  2. 4 lines dribbling two balls up and back. (same time dribble, staggered dribble, and crossover). To take this drill to the next level, have your athletes were dribbling goggles and mix in the use of a medicine ball or tennis ball.
  3. Another great advanced drill is having your athletes dribble a basketball with one hand and hold a tennis ball in the other hand. As they make a move to switch the basketball to the other hand, they must toss the tennis ball up and catch it with the other hand.
  4. Dealing with defeating traps, have athletes dribble in a confined space and avoid multiple defenders. This is a great drill to teach your players how to trap on defense as well.

If you need a diagram of any of these drills or have questions about my descriptions, do not hesitate to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Ball Handling: Basic Drills & Ideas

The basic ideas of ball handling are having your players able to dribble the ball. In addition to being able to dribble the ball, I would define ball handling as an ability to have possession of the ball and maintain possession without turning it over to your opponent. Without these basic concepts, your teams simply will not be able to play against even an average opponent.

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Some basic drills that I incorporated when I first stepped in at Ontario really helped out with improving basic skill level. Here are a few drills that I incorporated to help improve our athletes:

  1. 4 lines dribbling one ball up and back. (Right hand, left hand, crossover, between the legs, behind the back, step back/crossover, and changing moves).
  2. 4 lines dribbling two balls up and back. (same time dribble, staggered dribble, and crossover).
  3. Full Court game speed layups.
  4. Dribbling through cones. Making a specific move at each cone or weaving in between.
  5. Placing an obstacle at the wing, have players work on moves in transition while finishing a lay-up.

If you need a diagram of any of these drills or have questions about my descriptions, do not hesitate to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Ball Handling: Statistical Significance

I had a little bit of extra time this week which has allowed me to write a bonus post on ball handling. With any skill or fundamental, you need to be able to apply some kind of metric as a way to track progress. Ball Handling as I stated in my post yesterday is the most important fundamental skill that you can develop to see improvement in your teams. If you can’t handle the ball, you can’t even put yourself in a position to score.

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Statistically, teams who turn the ball over a lot need to improve their ball handling. The result of improved ball handling is fewer turnovers and an ability to compete with more competitive teams.

Here are steps to tracking your ball handling improvement:

  1. Look at the number of turnovers your team averages for the season prior to your commitment to improving ball handling.
  2. Commit to incorporating ball handling drills (stay tuned next week for some ideas) into every practice and truly developing the skill level of your athletes.
  3. Start tracking the turnovers per game as you are working on ball handling during your practices.
  4. Chart the trend of turnovers per game and look to see if the number decreases.

The goal that I have set for my teams is to have less than 4 turnovers per quarter. This goal is attainable and I think it will put is into a good position to win more games.

Ball Handling & Its Importance

Ball handling in my opinion is the most important fundamental skill that you can develop in a basketball player. Whenever you see teams get blown out in games, it is often due to turnovers against a pressure defense. These turnovers are a direct result of not being able to handle the ball. If you can’t handle the ball, you can’t win ball games.

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Players today put so much emphasis on making three point shots and this is a huge mistake. I love it when players can shoot from the outside; however, as you will see when we continue this series next week, a lot of other shooting skills are needed to make a player skilled at shooting.

Much like ball handling, shooting drills need to include all of your athletes and you must tailor these drills to the specific athlete. Have your post players practicing shots that they will get in the game not running three point shooting drills with the guards. Your guards, forwards, and posts might all participate in different drills when you are working on shooting and that is fine. By having your players focus on shots that they will get in a game, it makes your practice time much more efficient.

Much like ball handling, I spend time in every practice working on different shooting drills.