If you want to be successful at anything in life, it is important that you have a certain level of confidence. You must have confidence in yourself, in your ability, and in your preparation. The best performers across the world have a confident swagger.
The most confident players on the basketball court are the ones with the best handle. Some of the most flashy, confident players the game has ever seen have been the ones who have the “ball on a string”. Allen Iverson (Click link, it’s our favorite crossover of all time) , CP3, Derrick Rose, just to name a couple, could get anywhere on the court due there amazing dribbling skills. In a prime example of how electrifying a great ball handler can be, we look no further than this past All-Star weekend where Kyrie Irving crossed Brandon Knight to the floor, just hours after proclaiming he gained his ball handling confidence from dribbling a basketball with a plastic bag covering it.
If ball handling is the foundation of a player’s individual basketball game and the better you handle the basketball the more you will excel in game situations, then you must work dribbling everyday. There are numerous drills and games we can use to develop you ball handling ability but today we here at The Locker Room want to highlight some unorthodox ways of practicing your dribbling skills.
Below are four different ways to spice up your ball handling workouts and challenge your ball control in ways you never imagined. A word of warning; do not get discouraged when it doesn’t go smoothly at first. These are all advanced methods and you may never master any of them. But if you add in some dribbling under these overloaded conditions as a change of pace during your workouts, it will make dribbling through a double team seem like nothing.
Dribbling with Plastic Bags over the Ball
This crazy method, now made famous by Kyrie Irving, is the ultimate in creating an unpredictable feel for the ball during dribbling. What are the exact benefits of putting a plastic bag on the outside of the ball? The bag on the outside of the ball takes the bounce out of the ball and makes you dribble harder. The smooth, plastic surface also reduces the feel you have for the ball, so that you have to focus more on the controlling the ball using your fingertips and finger pads. Once the bag comes off, the ball now feels more sticky in your hands and you can trust in the new sense of touch you have developed with your basketball.
Dribbling on Grass
This method is old school. One of our high school basketball coaches way back in the day told us to do it and we thought he was crazy until we actually tried it. The benefit is that you are dribbling on a lumpy, uneven ground. You never get a natural bounce and it really improves your coordination with the ball. Also, the grass surface is soft, so you really have to pound the ball to get it to bounce back up increasing the force of your dribble. One of the keys to being a great ball handler is consistently pounding the ball. Soft dribbles are scared dribbles. This is one of our personal favorites to increase your dribbling ability.
Dribbling a weighted basketball
This variation on unconventional ball handling drills is a mandatory progression for any basketball workout program. Dribbling with a weighted basketball is a great way to build strength in your hands and wrists. 10-15 minutes of dribbling with a weighted ball and your arms will be extremely fatigued. After you are done with the weighted ball switch over right away to a regular basketball and notice how much lighter and faster the ball feels, allowing you dribble the ball harder. Trust us, the speed in which you will able to handle the rock will shock you.
Dribble with a tennis ball
Dribbling with a tennis ball was made famous by Steve Nash who dribbled tennis balls around the campus of Santa Clara University. Dribbling a tennis ball will greatly improve your hand-eye coordination due to the size of the ball. The theory behind tennis ball dribbling is that if you can dribble a tiny tennis ball with out losing control then dribbling a normal size basketball will be a piece of cake.
Use the following Stationary Dribbling Series from the OneBasketball Skill Development App under the previously described unorthodox conditions.
The biggest tip we can give you is simply to ALWAYS dribble your basketball, everywhere. And we mean everywhere. The best ball handlers never leave home without their ball. Remember, basketball never stops!