Proper ball handling gives you a high-scoring advantage while helping you control the ball on your side of the court. It is an essential skill for basketball players as the sport involves handling the ball as you dribble, pass or shoot into the basket.
Working on your ball-handling skills helps you achieve the needed confidence to be an all-rounded player. With such ability, you can hit the target from any distance against the most brutal defense from your opponents.
Among the ball handling tips UVU Training recommends in basketball are:
Proper Fingertips Grip
The rule of thumb in polishing your ball handling skills states that you must pay extra attention to your fingertips. The grip should be firm but flexible enough to keep you in control of the ball. Broadly spreading your fingers increases your hand's surface area, giving you broader ball coverage.
Gripping with your widespread fingertips prevents the ball from resting on your palm, which could make it harder to control. For better results, keep your arms extended outward as you push the ball to and fro with the tips of your fingers. Once confident with the grip, you can start moving around as you dribble the ball while attempting to pass or shoot.
Protect the Ball
Ball protection should be one of the critical goals for players on the court. This handling skill involves shielding the ball from the opponent's offense. It also helps you penetrate the defense without losing touch with the ball.
One tactic to protect the ball is spreading your free hand and bending your elbow to create the arm bar position. This tactic prevents the defenders from taking the ball or disrupting your dribbling. In addition, the position denies the opponents access to your space, prompting them to move from that position, leaving you with enough space to handle the ball.
Hard and Quick Dribbling
You can handle the ball by dribbling hard and fast to shield it from exposure to the opponents. This skill helps you keep the ball by your side until you know what to do with it. If you release the ball into the air, your opponents have a higher chance of snatching it and taking control.
Ensure you're aware of your surroundings as you dribble the ball so that you can transition to the next move smoothly. For example, you can look out for your teammate and pass to them or study weak links in the other team's defense so you can move closer to the basket for a precise score.
It’s advisable to avoid staring at the ball or the floor when handling the ball. Looking up helps you identify opportunities to pass the ball, shoot or escape the opponent’s defense. It also keeps your opponents guessing your next move. You can fake them out as they concentrate on the spot you’re looking at when you shoot in the opposite direction.
Maintain Your Balance
Always ensure your body is balanced to avoid tripping and mishandling the ball. You can achieve this by slightly bending your knees, straightening your back, and keeping your chest outward. Dribbling the ball in a balanced position keeps you in control, and you can plan your next step without losing it to your opponents.
When dribbling, use your arms only and ensure your body remains steady. Also, avoid bending your knees too low as it limits you from utilizing the space around you.
Expand Your Imagination
Imagine the outcome of every move and how you can utilize every opportunity with the ball as you expand your imagination to know when to dribble and move on. You can also use your imagination to analyze the best angles and speed when the ball is in your hands.
You are encouraged to think outside your comfort zone and make every moment of your practice count. For example, avoid making two dribbles if you can accomplish your target with one. Dribbling twice increases your chances of losing the ball mid-air.
Work on Your Catches
To handle the ball successfully, you need good ball reception skills. Keep an eye on the passer and ensure you are in an open space. When your teammate chooses you as the target, spread your arms out front of your chest. While both thumbs remain close together, spread your fingers.
For an accurate reception, keep a steady posture and prepare your body to withstand the force. You should take some time with the ball in hand before setting it down for dribbles or other movements.
As a wrap-up, how you handle the ball on the court determines your scoring ability. It also prepares you to make passes or shots as you dribble past your opponents. To improve your ball handling skills, maintain a firm grip on the ball with your fingertips while preventing it from laying on your palm.
You should protect the ball and avoid looking at the ground while playing. Ensure your balance and posture are steady as you use your mind to explore new possibilities. Additionally, be prepared to receive the ball as your teammates pass it to you.