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Tip #1 Locate Your Target (the Rim) Earlier

Getting in the habit of locating your target (the rim) earlier will improve your shooting
percentage. Why?
Locating the rim just a split second earlier gives your brain more time to subconsciously calculate
distance and focus on your objective. Your eyes should be on the rim as early as possible. To make
this little trick work, you need to develop this habit in practice, which
carries over into games.
Tip #2 Always Hold Your Follow Through
Youve probably heard this a hundred times but theres good reason
for it. Holding your follow through solves a multitude of shooting
problems. This simple movement helps you maintain
good basketball shooting technique without even thinking about it.
Tip #3 Finish with a Floppy Wrist
A common mistake is for players to follow-through with a tense
wrist. Your wrist should be as relaxed as possible. Your hand
should finish on line and often bouncing during follow-through.
Tip #4 Use a Colored Ball to Improve Rotation
To improve the straightness of your shot, try a colored basketball
during practice. This makes it easy to see the rotation and
direction of the ball. The immediate feedback makes it quick and
easy for you to adjust and improve your shot.
Tip #5 Dont Shoot like Kobe
TOO many kids try to copy Kobe and end up with bad shots for the REST OF THEIR LIVES!
Youngsters have no business trying to hang like Kobe and shoot. Kobe is a freak of nature! You
should shoot as youre going up (at least 1 inch before you reach the top of your jump). Trying to
mimic Kobes shot will just earn you a place on the bench and lots of frustration.
Tip #6 - Stop Thinking about Your Shot During Games
One of the worst things you can do is think about your shooting mechanics during a game.
Thinking about your shot is for practice, NOT for games! In fact, you should only think during certain
parts of your practice. Its ok to think during a form shooting session or when learning a new skill, but
once you start developing rhythm and get further into practice, dont think!
During games, train yourself to think about other things or nothing at all.
Youre going to miss a few. So what! Dont think, just shoot the damn ball!!!
If you adopt this mentality, your shooting percentage will go UP.
Tip # 7 Eliminate Negative Thoughts with this Simple Trick
Eliminating negative thoughts can dramatically improve your basketball shooting percentage.
To stop thinking and eliminate bad thoughts, you can try this little trick
Before each game, practice, and shooting session, tell yourself that you dont care if you make any
baskets. Say it out loud or in your head several times.
THEN, when you go to shoot (right as youre catching the ball), say something to yourself like, Nice
shot. I can do better. In other words, try not to care if it goes in or not.
This simple little trick helps you to relax into the process and not think about the result. Using this
technique will be enough to break you out of mini slumps and restore your confidence.
Tip #8 Develop Optimal Arc
DID YOU KNOW that a shot with a flat 35 degree arc only has .6 inches of margin for the ball to clear
without hitting the rim? The shot has to be almost perfect to get a swish.
BUT a shot with a 45 degree medium height arc has a 3 inch margin of error!
Thats right. Just by increasing the arc of your shot, your margin of error could increase as much as
How many shots bounce OUT of the basket because you missed by just a fraction?
As a general rule of thumb, finish your follow through with the rim clearly visible beneath the fingers of
your shooting hand. That way you will ensure that you have a decent arc on the shot. Shots with
proper arch have a much better chance of going in.
Just dont go too high. Because if your arc gets too high, youll loose your distance control.
Tip #9 Watch DVDs
Simply by watching great shooters groove their shots over and over, you can improve your confidence
and form.
The good habits and examples can be contagious. As you watch, the good form becomes ingrained
in your mind.
Not to mention, you should never stop learning. There are lots of good shooting DVDs and books for
you to learn from.
Tip #10 Use a Partner to Tune your Shot Alignment
Spend a little time during each practice lined up along a court line about 20 feet from a partner,
shooting back and forth and trying to have the ball bounce as close to the line as possible. This simple
practice technique will help you to fine tune your control of the precision of your shot.
Tip #11 Land in the Same Spot
Balance is a very important aspect of shooting. You achieve balance primarily through a proper
stance and footwork. After your shot, you should land pretty much exactly where you started. This
means you have established good balance from your stance.
Tip #12 Film Your Shot
Youd be amazed at how filming your shot in both games and practices can help you.
The most common response from players is Thats how I shoot!!??
Thats right. Most players havent seen their own shot before. Seeing your shot on film can help you
to detect poor mechanics and motivate you to make commitments for improvement. Bottom line its
a great way to refine your shot.
Tip #13 Get a Partner
When possible, try to shoot with a partner. Because when youre alone, you end up chasing the
rebound before following through properly.
This is important. Think about how you practice
You shoot and then you start following the shot immediately so you can get lots of reps. Guess
what? This can mess up your follow-through. You need to FINISH each shot and hold your follow-
through. Thats why we recommend getting a partner to rebound for you. Now just because you cant
find a partner you can (and should) still practice by yourself. Just be aware of holding your follow
Tip #14 - Fix Bad Habits by Immediately Correcting Your Shot
This is one of the easiest ways to break bad shooting habits. For example, lets say you forgot to hold
your follow-through. Well, immediately after you shoot, raise your hand back up and put your hand in
the correct follow-through position. This simple technique will help you quickly correct the bad habit
Tip #15 - Use a Return Device
Using basketball rebounding and return devices can literally double the number of shots you can take
in practice. Just think how much time you spend chasing the ball when you practice. A return device
solves that problem and lets you take more shots in less time.
Tip #16 Keep the Ball Above Your Waist
When you catch the ball, always keep the ball above your waist and in the shot pocket. Theres NO
need to dip the ball. This is wasted movement.
Tip #17 Dont Fall for Gimmicks
Too many players spend their hard earned money on shooting gloves and gimmicks, thinking this will
make them great shooters.
You cant use these devices during a game so it really doesnt do you much good. You need to learn
how to shoot effectively without these devices. There is NO magic pill.
Tip # 18 Keep Your Shot Motion Balanced, Fluid, and Consistent
A fluid motion means that there are no jerky movements or stopping points, just one constant flow
from start to finish.
Consistency cant be stressed enough. Your feet, arms, shot pocket, and jump height should use a
consistent motion every time you shoot. All the greatest shooters in the world have amazingly
consistent movements.
Tip #19 Groove 50 Shots Before Every Game
Before every practice and game, face the basket and shoot 50 EASY shots about four to ten feet from
the basket.
Not only does this improve your shooting form, but it helps to develop phenomenal confidence.
Youll quickly become very good at grooving these shots over and over. Youll see the ball going in
the basket over and over. Youll swish the ball repeatedly and probably shoot 60%, 70%, 80%, or
more, which is great for your psyche.
Why do you think that NBA players do this before games? Why do you think that Tiger Woods starts
all of his practice sessions by making 100 three-foot putts?
Because it works! Dont overlook this powerful strategy.
Tip #20 Quickly Chart Your Shot to Determine Tendencies
Head to the gym and shoot a bare minimum of 50 shots. Ask your partner to chart your shots. The
KEY is to chart the detailed results of each shot. You will track how many shots fell short, too long, to
the left, and to the right. This information will help you to determine what you need to work on.
For example, if you consistently miss short (like many players do), youll need to work on your power
and distance control. If you consistently miss to the right and the left, you need to fix the mechanics
of your foot and/or arm alignment.
Tip #21 - Work Game-Like Movement into Your Practice
To make game shots, you need to practice game shots. You should use good shooting drills and
practice movement off screens, cuts, chairs, and pivoting in both directions.
How to Improve Free Throw Shooting
It is almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of free throws, both to teams and to players.
If you have a player who can make just 4 baskets per game and add 4 free throws to his total, you
have a double-figure scorer. Adding fifteen points from the free throw line to your team's total would
create a very difficult obstacle for you opponents to overcome.
In addition, free throw shooting is something that should be consistent and figured into your game
plan. Players should incorporate how to get to the foul line into their game.
What is a Good Foul Shooter?
I know this seems like a silly question, but I'll bet your definition is different than ours.

Free throw shooting is a unique skill. It is the only thing that I can think of in all sports that every
player should be good at. It is the only skill that the offensive player controls in its entirety. There is no
movement to counteract, there is no reaction to the defense, and there is no adjustment for range.
Foul shooting is the same skill over and over and over and over again.
Good free throw shooters do the same thing every time. Same shot, same routine, same reactions -
make or miss. In the NBA, good free throw shooters are the ones that shoot over 80%. While those
are the best of the best players, when you think of it, there really is no reason why players at lower
levels can't do the same. Realistically, though, they don't. As you move down in level, the percentages
change. On the college level, players who shoot above 75% are considered good shooters; while high
school players should shoot over 70%. I, personally, don't think that anyone over 15 years of age (or
high school age) who shoots below 70% is a good free throw shooter. I think that, if you shoot below
70%, you should look seriously at making some adjustments, whether it is in form, routine, or thought
I say this not as a criticism but as a point to prevent
complacency. I think we all understand bad foul
shooters, but I think we have to beware, as coaches and
players, of players who shoot just well enough to make
us believe they are good shooters, but they are not good
enough to get you over the hump. It is easy to say you
are good enough and massage an ego but you must
determine what really is good enough to make you a
good player or team.

Picture by Sunflowery
Shooting Foul Shots
I am not going to into the technical aspects of the foul shot, how to hold the ball, elbow toward the rim,
follow through, etc. Those elements are present in all shooting. Free throw shooting is a very personal
process and everyone has his own style. However, there should be some common elements, and,
since shooting free throws is a repetitive process, each free throw should be the same, shot after
The Court
In the event that you have not noticed, 99% of inlaid wood basketball courts have a dot right in the
middle of the foul line. When installing the court, the baskets and painting the lines, you need to have
a reference point upon which you can measure. The installer places a dot on the floor at 15, directly
at the center of the rim. All the lines are laid out from that dot. If you look closely, you will find it.
What is the significance of that dot in regard to free throw shooting?
Its simple. The dot tells you where to stand. Some players like to stand with their shooting foot on the
dot. Some players like to straddle the dot. Some players will stand 3 feet to the side of the dot. I am
not going to tell you where to stand. I am only going to say, use the dot so you stand in the same
place every time.
Fouls shooting routine is one of the places that individuality comes out in regard to foul shooting.
Some players will dribble the ball once, some will dribble 3 times. Richard Hamilton likes to take 1
dribble to the side. Jason Kidd likes to wind the ball around his back (he also blows a kiss to his son).
The thing that is common amongst those personal expressions is that they do it every time.

What is the purpose of a free throw shooting routine?

It is to help you adjust to the uniqueness of the free throw situation and make it the same shot every
time. Think about the changes that take place during a free throw. During the body of the game, you
are running, cutting, jumping, adjusting to defense, and reacting to game situations. All of a sudden,
you find yourself standing all alone at the free throw line; no one to stop you; plenty of time to get the
shot off. It is such a different situation from the rest of the time you are on the court, and the
adjustment must be immediate. How do you make the transition from a game player to a free throw
shooter? The answer is your free throw shooting routine. Your routine will give you a certain measure
of comfort and a trigger mechanism that you need to meet the unique demands of a free throw.
Mental Aspects of Shooting Free Throws
The great philosopher Yogi Berra once said,"90% of this game is 50% mental." I think that when it
comes to free throw shooting, Yogi was underestimating the mental aspects.
We must appreciate how difficult it is to stand at the free throw line, knowing that everyone is
watching you, and make a free throw. The flood of thoughts that race through your mind at that time is
more like a tsunami. What should you be thinking? The answer is NOTHING!

The purpose of practice is to make your actions automatic; no thought is required. Build in the muscle
memory and the psychomotor pathways, and tell your mind to get out of the way. Thinking about your
shot will only cause "Analysis-Paralysis." You will study your shot so closely that you will not be able
to shoot. Players, at any level, are not immune from this

I actually had a discussion with a player who has been in the NBA for several years, has multiple
championship rings, and is considered one of the best 3-point shooters in the league. However, his
free throw shooting percentage hovered around the 50% mark. I asked him how it could be that he is
such a good shooter yet has so much difficulty from the line. He proceeded to tell me that when he
shoots from the field, he does not have time to think. But when he shoots free throws, he tries to talk
himself through his shot. When he misses, he thinks of all the adjustments he has to make. I have
seen him make hundreds of free throws in practice. I asked him how many free throws he has taken
in his lifetime. He replied that he had probably taken hundreds of thousands over the course of his life
as a basketball player. I wondered why that, after so many shots, he thought that after he missed one,
he had forgotten how to shoot and had to shoot it differently. It is possible to shoot it correctly and not
have it go in. In addition, as a human being, there will be small variations in actions. That does not
mean that you have forgotten how to shoot. It is hard enough to master one shot. If you change your
shot every time you miss, you will be trying to master several shots. Not a likely scenario for

So don't analyze your shot after a miss! You're going to miss some shots. Don't worry about it and just
shoot the ball!

The other mental aspect that I feel is very important is understanding that all shots are the same and
carry their own "intrinsic value," or their own reward and sense of satisfaction. A free throw in the first
minute of the game with no score is the same as a free throw in the last second of the game with your
team down 1 point. The effects of the shot may be different, but the basket is still in the same place,
and so is the free throw line. The shot should be exactly the same in either case. The objective of
taking a throw shot is NOT to win or lose a game. The objective is to MAKE THE SHOT! That is the
only object. To inject outside values to a particular shot is a recipe for failure.
If you can master these two mental aspects, your effectiveness will improve dramatically!

Free throw shooting practice should be just that, practicing your shot. Coaches try to introduce
aspects to help shooters shoot in pressure situations. I do not believe that works as well as many
believe. First, you cannot simulate game situations with game concerns and thought patterns. You
can only simulate game like situations, which carry different concerns.
Negative ramifications for missed free throw (such as running for misses) does not work either. This
only teaches players to be afraid of missing. It does not make them better free throw shooters. If you
want to conduct activities for not attaining a goal, make it a positive activity that will improve your
players' skills (for example, instead running a sprint for missing a free throw, have your players do a
full court, 2 ball dribbling drill).
Shooting when you are tired is also a myth. Repeatable fine motor skills, such as those involved in
free throw shooting, depend on building muscle memory through pathways that go from you brain to
your shooting motion. Fatigue alters those pathways. It is difficult to improve when making
adjustments for fatigue. Rather, you should take enough repetitions when you are fresh so there is no
change in your shot when you are tired.
Free throw shooting practice should concentrate on two areas, technical improvement and improving
confidence. Repetitive free throw shooting should be a part of a team practice, as should shooting live
free throw shots during scrimmage time. However, real improvement as a free throw shooter can only
come when a player commits to take the time outside of practice and outside of the season to get his
repetitions and work on the mentality of shooting.


Can be done as an individual or in a group Determine a + score and a score you wish to play to.
If you play +5/-5, reaching +5 is a winner, reaching -5 is a loser. If you chose +7/-2, you determine
winners and losers accordingly. If playing with a group, the first one to attain the score (as long as
everyone has a chance to shoot) wins or loses.
+1 point for a made free throw
+2 points for a swish
-1 point for a miss
Player steps to the foul line and shoots and counts the appropriate score. If working alone, player
shoots for the entire game. If with a group, player shoots until he misses and then the next player

Usually done individually but can be done in a group if you adjust the score.
-1 for a made shot
+2 for a missed shot
Player shoots fouls shots
Add or subtract points as appropriate
Player starts with 10 points. The goal is to get to 0 before you get to 20
I usually use both drills in workouts. +/- is usually during a break between drills, 20/0 is usually a
finishing activity at the end of the workout.
Basic Lay-ups
Lay-ups are the backbone of any team offense and every player's offensive repertoire. Without the
threat of a lay-up, all other shots would become next to impossible. Just think, how you would defend
if you knew that lay-ups were not allowed? What offense, what screens would be set, what dribble or
one on one move would you make if you could not take a lay-up?
Interesting food for thought. Yet the lay-up is the shot we spend the least time on and the most
technically ignored shot of all.
How do we make lay-ups?
I ask you, what part of the body allows you to make lay-ups? Your hand? Your arms? Your legs?
I think you make lay-ups with your eyes. With all that goes on around you during a basketball game,
that activity level increases ten-fold as you get closer to the basket. There are more players, more
defenders, more hands, and more contact the closer you get to the basket. The demand for your
concentration goes up accordingly. No matter what else you do, you must keep your eyes on the
prize. Block out all that is going on around you, and keep your eyes on the target until the ball comes
through the net.
What is a lay-up
A lay-up is just what it sounds like: a shot where we lay the ball up on the backboard or over the rim
and into the basket. It can be done forwards, backwards, or sideways. It is a lay-up just the same.
Teaching lay-ups
I am a big believer in visualization and pantomime when teaching new skills. They are especially
effective techniques when teaching lay-ups.
When teaching new concepts of leg drive and follow-through while handling a basketball and trying to
throw it through the basket, consider that it might be very difficult for young players to keep track of all
the factors involved. You would be well advised to simplify the process by eliminating the ball at first.
Try these techniques without a ball.
Line up your team in rows.
On the command, Set, have them stand with their left leg forward and their right leg
extended straight back. Knees should be bent and hips low in an athletic posture.
On the command, Drive, have them step forward with their right leg, without taking their left
foot off the floor, and drive their right knee in the air. The visualization phrase that I use is "Try to hit
your nose with your knee."
After driving the right knee, talk a little about the feeling they get when they drive the knee.
They should feel their whole body lifting.
Next, on the command Drive, combine the knee lift with a jump off the left leg. It might take a
few reps to co-ordinate the knee drive with the jump but it will come quickly.
Next, give the command "Drive," and, at the appropriate time, add the command, "Shoot."
Players then go into a right- handed shooting motion. Timing is important, as you want to shoot while
the player is in the air. Emphasize holding the follow-through on the shot until after they return to the
Next, in cadence, call, "Set, Drive, Shoot." Explain that this, when done with proper timing, is
the action involved in taking a lay-up.
When you feel that the shooters are comfortable with the right hand, alter their stance and
have them practice a left- handed lay-up motion.
Once you are comfortable with that action, go to the next step
On the command, Set, have them stand with their left leg forward and their right leg
extended straight back. Knees should be bent and hips low in an athletic posture.
On the command, Step Back, players step back with their left foot so it is extended straight
back and the right foot is forward.
On the command, Step, players step forward with their left leg. Follow the, Step, command
with, Drive, and, Shot, in cadence, to create the rhythm for taking an active lay-up.
When you feel it is proper, switch to a left handed lay-up.
Once you are comfortable with that action, go to the next step
On the command, Set, have them stand with their left leg forward and their right leg
extended straight back. Knees should be bent and hips low in an athletic posture.
On the command, Step Back, players step back with their left foot so it is extended straight
back and the right foot is forward.
On the command, Step Back, players step back with their right foot so it is extended straight
back and the left foot is forward.
On the command, Step, step forward with the right foot.
Add the command, "Dribble." Players will then imagine they are taking one dribble with their
right hand. (This is a great opportunity to teach them about the rules concerning when the ball must
be dribbled in order to move their pivot foot without traveling.)
Follow the "Dribble" command with, "Step," "Drive," "Shoot."
When said in the proper cadence and with proper timing; "Set," "Step Back," "Step Back,"
"Step," "Dribble," "Step," "Drive," "Shoot," will give players a basic feeling and rhythm for taking lay-
ups, with and without a dribble
After they are good at taking lay-ups without a basket, move to a basket; teach them the proper angle
to approach the basket; and go through the same sequences shooting right-handed and left-handed.
Once they are comfortable at the basket, give the players a ball and go through the same sequences.
Teaching Points
You make lay-ups with your eyes.
Shooting is about rhythm
The power to get the ball to the basket comes from your drive leg. Try to touch you nose with
our knee.
Early in the process, success has to be defined in terms of correct form rather than made
Focus on the process, not the results. Younger kids may have problems with balance and
strength. Dont sacrifice form for made baskets

Basketball Passing Fundamentals, Drills, & Tips

Basketball is a team game. By definition, that means all players are involved with the process of
playing the game and should function as one. One of the primary skills created to accomplish this is
passing. Yet, passing remains one of the most under-taught, under-emphasized, and under drilled
skill in the game!!

Players assume the values that the coach places on each aspect of the game. When teaching
passing it is important that the coach teach not only the skill, but the mentality as well. Too many
players think of passing as something to do when they don't have a shot as opposed to an unselfish
act that is designed to include other players.

When teaching younger players, be aware of their physical and mental limitations. Young players
usually lack the strength necessary to make the plays that they believe can be successful (like the
ones they see on television) and they are still developing their sense of space and time. In addition,
their recognition skills can only be honed by experience. Passes that look open to them often are not
because they do not have the experience to know how long it takes to get from point A to point B and
bad passes are often a result of slow recognition. In either case, negative reinforcement of the
attempted pass often results in a reluctance to make the next pass. The long term effect could be a
player who does not understand the value of passing and takes no joy in it.


There are essentially two types of passes:

Air Pass - The pass travels between players without hitting the floor.
Bounce Passes - The pass is thrown to the floor so that it bounces to the intended receiver
Each type of pass comes with its own variations.

Basic Variations:

- Chest Pass
- Bounce Pass
- Overhead Pass
- Wrap Around Pass

Advanced Variations:

- Baseball Pass
- Dribble Pass
- Behind-the-Back Pass
- Pick and Roll Pass

Basic Passes

The chest pass is named so because the pass originates from the chest. It is thrown by gripping the
ball on the sides with the thumbs directly behind the ball. When the pass is thrown, the fingers are
rotated behind the ball and the thumbs are turned down. The resulting follow through has the back of
the hands facing one another with the thumbs straight down. The ball should have a nice backspin.

When throwing a chest pass, the players should strive to throw it to the receiver's chest level. Passes
that go low to high or high to low are difficult to catch.

The bounce pass is thrown with the same motion however it is aimed at the floor. It should be thrown
far enough out that the ball bounces waist high to the receiver. Some say try to throw it 3/4 of the way
to the receiver, and that may be a good reference point to start, but each player has to experiment
how far to throw it so it bounces to the receiver properly. Putting a proper and consistent backspin on
the pass will make the distance easier to judge.


The overhead pass is often used as an outlet pass. Bring the ball directly above your forehead with
both hands on the side of the ball and follow through. Aim for the teammate's chin. Some coaches
advise not bring the ball behind your head, because it can get stolen and it takes a split-second longer
to throw the pass.


Step around the defense with your non-pivot foot. Pass the ball with one hand (outside hand). It can
be used as an air or a bounce pass. You will often see the wrap-around, air pass on the perimeter and
the wrap-around, bounce pass to make an entry into the post.
Advanced Passes

A baseball pass is a one-handed pass that uses the same motion as a baseball throw. This is often
used to make long passes.

Be careful with young kids. You don't want them throw their arms out.


The dribble pass is used to quickly pass the ball with one hand off of the dribble. This can be an air or
bounce pass. You'll see Steve Nash do this all of the time.


A behind-the-back pass is when you wrap the ball around your back to throw the ball. It is used to
avoid the defender when making a pass across the front of you would be risky. It can also be used to
throw the ball to a player trailing on the fast break.

I would not recommend to use this pass during a game until heavily practiced.


This is a pass that is used when the defenders double-team or switch on the pick and roll. If dribbling
to the right, your left side is facing the target and you bring the ball up from your right side to throw the
ball overhead to the screener who has either rolled to the basket or popped to the perimeter. The pass
is used to shield the ball from the defender, and many times is thrown in "hook shot" fashion.
Advanced players can do this while slightly fading away from the defender.


6 Tips to Improve Passing and Reduce Turnovers

Little Known Secret to Improve Team Passing and Dramatically Reduce Turnovers
Basketball Dribbling and Ballhandling Fundamentals,
Drills, & Tips
Most coaches use dribbling and ballhandling interchangeably. Though they are linked, the 2 skills are
definitely separate.

Dribbling and controlling the ball is a skill that can be practiced alone and is separate from the other
ball skills on the court. Ballhandling, however, involves knowledge of the game and integrates
dribbling, passing and decision-making.

Practicing and improving your dribbling is a simple task. There are innumerable dribbling drills that are
in use today that are challenging and effective. The set of drills that have come to be known as
"Maravich Drills," (after the late ball-handling wizard Pete Maravich) are widely known. They include
drills such as passing the ball around your body, dribble figure 8s, spider dribbling, drop and catch.

Practicing and improving your ballhandling requires imagination, as you have to put yourself in game

9 Tips To Improve Your Dribbling & Ball Handling
1. Dribble the ball hard. The more time the ball spends in your hand, the more control
you have of the ball. The harder you dribble, the quicker it gets back in your hand.
2. Head up at all times. Look at the rim or a spot on the wall during all practice.
3. Use your finger tips to control the ball, not your palm.
4. Use your imagination. Picture when and how you would use each of the dribbles.
5. Teach mentality. There is too much dribbling for no reason in our game today. I like
to teach that the primary purpose for putting the ball on the floor is to get a lay-up. If you don't
have an opportunity, don't put it on the floor.
6. Basketball is a game of length. Work on lengthening the dribble. Work to get
your opportunities with 1 dribble. You don't beat defenses with your dribble. You beat people
with your feet; you SEPARATE from your defense with the dribble.
7. Basketball is also a game of angles. Try to move in straight lines. Whenever you
make an "East-West" move (something that takes you toward the sideline), re-capture a
"North-South" path (direct line to the basket) as quickly as possible.
8. Don't do things in 2 dribbles that you can do in 1.
9. Practice outside your comfort zone. Experiment; go faster than you are used to,
use your imagination. When working on new skills, don't be concerned with losing the ball.
Just pick it up and do it again. If you practice only things that are comfortable, then you will
never improve.
Dribbling Practice

"Maravich Drills" are very good at getting players comfortable with the ball. Below are some

Dribble Figure 8's - Spread legs about shoulder width. Dribble the ball through and around
legs in a figure 8. Can be done multiple ways - front to back, back to front, low dribbles (as many
dribbles as possible with dribble about shoe height), as few dribbles as possible (high dribble about
waist high), can even be done walking. For even more of a challenge, try the drill with one hand
instead of two.
Spider Dribble - Feet spread about shoulder width. Dribble the ball between your legs in the
following manner - left hand, right hand in front of your legs; left hand, right hand behind your legs.
Work to as fast a possible.
Drop and Catch - Hold ball between your legs with right hand in front of your body, left hand
behind. Drop the ball and exchange you hand position and re-catch the ball before it hits the ground.
These are just examples. There are too many of these drills to list here. Pete Maravich devised these
drills out of his imagination, his need for challenge and his drive to improve. YYou do not need to be
bound by other people's drills; challenge yourself to come up with your own drills.

Dribbling Warm Ups

I prefer to practice skills in combinations that are relevant to multiple aspects of the game. It saves
time and instills a great sense of urgency.. It saves time and has a great sense of urgency. One of the
ways I do this is to add dribbling into my stretching exercises.

Hamstring Stretch - While dribbling with your right hand, cross right leg over left. Bend at the
waist, touch the floor with your left hand and bring your dribble down to shoe top level. Hold for an 8
count. Reverse position and switch hands.
Lower Body and Achilles Stretch - Dribble waist high while standing up. Step as far forward
with your right leg as you can, keeping your back straight and your left heel on the ground. At the
same time bring your dribble forward of your right foot, keeping the ball at shoe-top height. Hold for an
8 count and then stand up. Switch legs and dribble hand.
Crossover - Same as above except, step forward with left leg. As foot goes to the floor,
switch hands, right to left, keeping dribble shoe top height. Cross back when standing up.
Through Legs - Same as above except instead of crossing over, put ball through legs at
shoe top height.
Multiple Through Legs - Same as above except put ball through legs 3 times (left, right, left)
on quick, successive dribbles shoe top height.
Torso Twist - Spread legs outside of shoulder width, dribble with right hand. Keeping legs
straight, bring ball across body to left side, outside left foot and dribble at shoe top height behind left
These are just samples. You can develop a dribble stretch for any part of the body.

Two Ball Dribbling Drills & Videos:
I think the most effective way to improve your dribble, however, is by using 2 balls. Any dribble or drill
you can do with 1 ball, you can do with 2. Stationary practice at first will build confidence. Stand on
the baseline and try to control both balls. Then start to move. Go half court, then full court. Follow the
lines around the court or in any route you can come up with.
The difference between dribbling and ballhandling is intent. Dribbling is the skill of controlling the ball
as you bounce it to the floor. Ballhandling (at least 1 aspect of ballhandling) is what you do with that

Whether you use it to go to the basket, make a passing angle, escape from pressure or anything else,
those situations have to be imagined and practiced.

Here are some situational drills:

Full Court Lay-ups - Start on the baseline. Dribble full court with right hand in 5 dribbles and
make a lay-up, come back with left hand. Then reduce the number of dribbles to 4 and then to 3.
Chair Changes - Place a chair about 21 feet from the basket. It can be on top, on the wing,
or in the corner. Start about 8-10 feet beyond the chair. Dribble straight at the chair. At the chair, use a
change of direction dribble (crossover, inside out, behind back, etc) to go beyond the chair and make
a lay-up. Try to get to the point where you only need one dribble to get to the lay-up. Practice all the
Two up - Two back - Set a chair such as in the drill above. Take 2 hard dribbles at the chair.
When reaching the chair, take 2 backup dribbles. After the second dribble, push ahead into 1 dribble
lay-up or pull-up jumpshot.
Dropstep Dribble - (works on footwork and ballhanding)
Chair Curl - This is another great multi use drill. It combines shooting, ballhandling and speed
and high intensity change in direction.
Chair Curl Phase 2 (With 2 Chairs)
Two Ball Dribbling Drills & Moves - Excellent way to improve one on one moves.
Shooting drills can also be adapted to work on ballhandling aspects by adding changes of direction
and pivoting to create 1 and 2 dribble opportunities for either jumpers or lay-ups.
How to Quickly Improve Your Players Balance, Footwork,
and Overall Basketball Skills
If you're not using this drill, you should start right away...

You might find this hard to believe, but if done properly, the Jump Stop Drill can make a huge
difference in your players performance, both young and old.

This is an absolutely critical drill to player development. My old high school coach (who is a now a
very successful college coach) made us do a variation of the jump stop drill every single day.

The drill will lower the number of times your players travel, improve their balance, improve their
confidence, and improve their ability to pivot and create space.

I personally attest to this drill improving my basketball ability more than any other drill.

It's amazingly simple, yet very important and effective.

Here are the drill instructions and tricks to make it work:
Jump Stop Drill
Drill Purpose

This is a very important drill that all coaches should use. It will improve your players balance, reduce
travels, improve pivoting skills to create space, and improve confidence.

1. Line your players up on the baseline. If you have more than 10 players or a small
court, you'll need to divide them into two groups because they won't have enough space.
2. Have each player spread out with about 5 feet between them, so they have enough
room for pivoting.
3. When you blow the whistle, all players should start running at 3/4 speed.
4. At various intervals, blow the whistle and yell out their pivot instructions. Your choices
are: front pivot left foot, front pivot right foot, back pivot left foot, back pivot right foot.

When the whistle blows, the sequence for the player consists of: jump stop (both feet should
hit the floor at the same time), pause for a second, do a full 180 degree pivot, pause for a
second, do a full pivot bask to starting position, and stay in triple threat position until whistle
blows again.
5. Watch every player to make sure they did the jump stop and pivot properly. If anyone
traveled or if they're goofing off, make them start over again, back at the baseline.
6. If everyone did it correctly, blow the whistle again. All players should start running.
7. At various intervals, blow the whistle and yell out their pivot instructions. Your choices
are: front pivot left foot, front pivot right foot, back pivot left foot, back pivot right foot.
8. When all players reach the end of the court, start over again. You can blow the
whistle anywhere between 1 and 5 times during their trip down the court.
9. You should run this drill so players run down the court at least 5 times.
Points of Emphasis

Continually tell your players...

Don't travel!
Stay low when pivoting. Keep your knees bent and butt down, in a good triple threat stance.
Don't get out of your triple threat stance until you hear the whistle. You always want to stay
low, so you can take off quicker.
Motivation / Teaching Tips

Tip #1 - The motivation aspect of this drill is simple. If they do it wrong, they all have to go back to
baseline and start over again.

Tip #2 - It's important to always mix things up and keep your players guessing. You should mix up the
number of times and locations that you blow the whistle. You might want to let them run all the way
down without blowing the whistle once. And next time blow the whistle 5 times.

Tip #3 - Vary the speed that your players run. Start out with half speed, then progress all the way to
full speed. Again, mix things up.

Tip #4 - Add a ball. Generally, you should use a ball for this drill and have them dribble while they are
running. However, you might want to start without a ball, especially when first teaching younger
players how to run this drill. Or if you don't happen to have enough basketball balls, they will still get
benefit without it.

Tip #5 - Make sure ALL players pivot properly. Their butt should be down, knees bent, with feet
shoulder width or wider. The pivot should be a full 180 degree turn, and then back again. Some
players will have trouble with this at first or just do partial pivots. But keep on them to do it right. It's an
important skill to master!

Tip #6 - You might want to use this as a combo warm up drill every day. For me, it worked great as
the warm up at the beginning of every practice. This saved time because they worked on important
skills and warmed up at the same time.

Tip #7 - You really should run this almost everyday, especially if you have players at the high school
level or younger. At the minimum, run the drill every other day.

How to Improve and Teach Footwork Skills Properly
As you've probably heard a hundred times, great footwork is arguably the most important skill for
players to learn. Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and countless superstar players all have
ONE THING in common -- superb footwork. Yet few coaches know how to teach footwork properly.

If you'd like to learn how to teach footwork, we recommend this book by Don Kelbick. It's about post
player development but it explains footwork brilliantly. The concepts apply to all positions, not just the
post. In our opinion this is something that all coaches should learn and this is something that we
highly recommend.