If you enjoy playing basketball, then chances are you know how to do hundreds of ball handling drills. That is important because you have to have great ball skills to be a great player. But, if you don’t apply the drills to moves that you can use in games, what do you really gain? Trust me, I have talked to and studied the best defensive minds in the game. There are many different styles of defense that they play, but they all agree on one thing. The toughest players to stop are the ones who have the best dribble moves.
The most important of all the basketball dribbling moves is also one that many players never practice. As a result of not practicing it, they either don’t use it, or can’t use it in games. The move is the pullback or back dribble.
Having a pullback dribble that you are confident in and can go to when you are in trouble and need to back up, can save you a couple of turnovers a game. Saving you a couple of turnovers each game can save you from getting benched by your coach.
When using a back dribble, don’t take your eyes off of the bottom of the net. Never look back as you are dribbling back. As soon as you lose vision of the court, one and often two defenders will see that they have the upper hand on you and attack. Keep the arm that is not dribbling the ball up to protect the ball. Dribble the ball by your back foot to keep it away from the defense.
Not only is the back dribble a move to get you out of trouble, it is can also be used to attack the defense. Try this move if you are going against an overly aggressive defender, but make sure that you are not close to an out of bounds or the ten second line when using this move.
Take two back dribbles. If the player guarding you is aggressive, he or she will more than likely come at you. That is the time to use their momentum against them. As they are moving toward you, attack them with a second dribble move (behind the back, between the legs, etc…) It will probably catch them completely off guard and they will be slow to react. The slow reaction will give you a chance to get by, or they are also very likely to foul you.
What I have described here is a combo dribbling move. Combo moves are combinations of moves executed one right after the other. Here are a couple of examples: Behind the Back then Crossover, Between the Legs then Fake Crossover, Hesitation then spin move. The idea in a combo move is if the first move doesn’t get you past the defense, at least it can get them off balance. You then use the second move to finish them off.
Don’t rely on your creativity to come up with the right combo move at the right time during a game. That is a recipe for failure. You have to practice them enough to earn the right to succeed with them in a game. The best players have practiced every move hundreds of times by themselves for every one time they use it in a game. Start from the ground up. Pick a combination of two moves to use. Work until you can do each one individually in a game.
Then, practice the combination over and over by yourself without a defense. But, as you work, imagine the defense reacting to your first move so you can burn them with your second move. Now, you are ready to try it in a game. If you have practiced your combo dribbling moves enough by yourself, it will pay off when your team needs it most.