How to Dribble a Basketball like a Pro: 11+ Effective Techniques and Drills

In order to dribble a basketball like a pro, you need to achieve excellent control and ball handling. Excellent dribbling, apart from providing you with expert ball handling, will also allow you to be more effective to score with drives.

In this blog post, we will explain the most effective techniques and dribbling drills that you can use to improve your ball handling skills.

We’ll start by discussing how to maintain control of the ball while dribbling. Then, we’ll present some dribbling drills that you can use to improve your dribbling speed and accuracy. Let’s get started and become a better ball handler!

How to dribble a basketball for beginners

The first thing everyone needs to know to play basketball is how to grip the ball. You want to use your fingers, not your palm, to control the ball. Place your hand on the side of the ball and then wrap your fingers around it.

Your middle finger and index finger should be doing most of the work. Make sure you keep your hand relaxed and don’t grip the ball too tightly.

Now that you know how to grip the ball, it’s time to start dribbling! Start by bouncing the ball off the ground and then catching it with your opposite non dribbling arm.

As you become more comfortable, try bouncing the ball higher off the ground. Remember to keep your head up and look ahead as you dribble.

Now that you know the basics of how to dribble a basketball, let’s move on to some drills that will help you improve your dribbling technique.

Top rules for excellent basketball dribbling:

  1. Keep your head up and your attention focused on the game. Don’t keep your eyes at the ball. Learn how to dribble without looking at it
  2. Use your arm and your wrists to apply power to send the ball bouncing to the court. Do not use your fingers for power
  3. On the contrary, to control the ball, use yout fingertips rather than your palm.
  4. Lower your body and keep your knees bent in order to mimimize the bounce height. This way you will achieve: a) to be able to change direction faster b) mimimize the chance of oppontents stealing the ball
  5. To protect the ball from opponents, try putting your body between the ball and the defender and protect it with the non-dribbling hand as often as possible

How to dribble a basketball faster

One way to improve your dribbling speed is to practice bouncing the ball off the ground as quickly as possible. Start by standing in one spot and then rapidly bounce the ball off the ground, using both hands.

As you become more comfortable with this speed dribble drill, try moving around while you do it. You can also vary the height of your bounces.

Another way to improve your dribbling speed is to practice dribbling with one hand while you move around. This will help you develop the coordination and control you need to dribble with the dominant hand. It will build up muscle memory and soon you will be able to do this fast enough without event thinking about it.

Expert Hint 1 : if you maintain a low center of weight stance, eg by keeping your knees bent while you are practicing, this will also foce you to bounce the ball low and thus reduce the ball journey, forcing you to dribbling faster! After you get adjusted to this speed dribble stance, try dribbling below your feet and also behind you back to improve the speed of all your dribble moves.

Note: Remember to always keep your head up and look ahead as you dribble.

Expert Hint2: Fast basketball dribbling requires more energy and strength from your upper body and more specifically your arm bar. There is a very effective exercise that basketball players can practice to help them with dribbling a basketball fast and this is the Cobra pushup.

This is really simple, take the Cobra stance and then lie down by applying strength to your arms. Repeat. This emulates the movement your arms are making when applying force for the fast dribbling motion.

How to dribble a basketball while running

If you want to be able to dribble a basketball while running, it’s important to practice using both hands. This will help you develop the coordination and control you need to dribble with both hands.

Remember to keep your head up and look ahead as you run and dribble. It does not make sense to improve a skill in different conditions that the ones tha exist in a game. In real games you are trying not to lose control of the ball from opponents but you also need to look at the court to identify scoring or passing opportunities. Hence you need to run with the basketball properly without losing control while looking ahead.

Expert Hint 1 : try to keep the ball as long as possible on your dominant hand when running and dribbling, but not too long to get fouled with a travelling violation.

Expert Hint 2 : try not to bounce the ball too long ahead from you when running because this will make it easier for the opposing team to steal it from you. Dribbling the ball far ahead is only advisable if you are having open basketball court in front of you like in a fast break, in which situation you can try running faster by minimizing contacts with the ball

Expert Hint 3 : when running with the ball, handle it by putting your palm behind it and not on top of the basketball. Dribbling this way, ensures better chance of moving it forward appropriately. Just make sure to put your hand on the top half of the basketball to mimize the danger of getting a carrying foul.

How to dribble a basketball while running
when running and dribbling put your hand behind the ball and not on top of it

How to dribble a basketball under your legs

The first step is to get in a low stance, and then bring the ball up from between your legs. Next, you will want to extend your arm and snap your wrists to send the ball out in front of you. As the ball comes back down, make sure to keep your hand on top of the ball so that you can control it. Finally, as the ball reaches your other hand, you will want to snap your wrists again and send the ball back through your legs.

There are various things beginner players need to get used to to effectively practice under the leg basketball drills:

  • bounce the ball hard at the spot right underneath you and between your feet and not infront of them (the ball will hit on you after the bounce) or behind them (the ball will go away and you will loose control)
  • always keep your head up (can’t stress this enough times)
  • bend your knees
  • put more force on your pivot foot, as this usually help you maintain better balance
  • train your opposite hand as well, as dribbling below your legs involves both hands (same hand below the leg dribbling is also possible but more rare)
  • practice dribbling below your legs on the opposite direction as well, ie moving the ball from your behind to in front of you starting the crossover dribble with your opposite hand
  • after you have achieved dribbling a basketball below your legs with confidence when standing at the same spot, try making this when walking ahead as well

Learn how to dribble a basketball behind your back

Few things are more impressive in basketball than being able to dribble the ball behind your back. Not only does it look great, but it can also be a very effective way to get around your defender. It put an obstacle (your body) between you and your opponent, while allowing you to keep your head straight up and be able to spot your teammates easier.

If you’re looking to add this move to your repertoire, here’s how to do it:

-Start with the ball in your right hand (or the left hand of you are left handed).

-Extend your right arm out behind you and snap your wrists to send the ball behind your back.

-As the ball comes around, catch it with your left hand and bring it back in front of you

-Repeat this move as quickly as you can while maintaining control of the ball.

Expert Hint 1 : most players find dribbling a basketball behing their back easier, when they accompany it with a small hop. Bend your knees and bounce the ball hard just behind you while at the same time taking this small hop. You should focus to sync the 2 motions, ie when the ball hits the court the same should happen with your feet after the hop at the exact same time.

Repetition will help you improve this essential skill, so that you are able to use it in your game. Of course the direction that you will use inside a game will depend on your positioning in the court, the way you want to move forward and the positioning of your defender(s). This will determine if you will start your behind the back dribble with your right or your left hand.

How to make a crossover dribble

The crossover dribble is one of the most effective and impressive ways to get past your defender. It is also known as the “ankle-breaker”, because sometimes the opponent finds it diffucult to maintain their balance and falls to the basketball court with hilarious effects.

James Harden crossover dribble

The purpose of the crossover dribble is to make your defender lose their balance, by faking that you are going into the opposite direction from the one that you really want to move towards. After your pretend to move into an initial direction, hesitate and turn to the desired one. Then dribble the ball (between your legs, behind your back or even in front of you) and dash forward.

To perform a crossover, you will need to dribble the ball from one hand to the other while moving your body past your defender. This can be done by using a quick movement of your wrists and arms.

crossover dribble basketball
crossover dribble

Your whole body movement also plays a crucial role as you whole body has to contribute to the crossover dribble. For this dribbling technique to be effective, you also need to have fast legs, so working on your leds speed and agility is really important.

How to dribble past defenders in basketball

There are different ways that you can dribble past your defender, but the most important thing is to be able to change directions quickly. This way you will make it diffucult for your defending opponent to anticipate your next move and they will eventually end up out of position, giving you an opportunity to score or pass the ball.

Some of the most effective basketball dribbling drills to get past your opponent are analyzed in this article:

  • crossover dribble
  • behind the back dribble
  • between your legs dribble
  • running fast when dribbling

How to shoot a basketball off the dribble

When you’re playing basketball, one of the most important skills you can have is being able to shoot off the dribble. This means that you can score even when there’s an opponent trying to stop you. If you can master this skill, it’ll make scoring a lot easier and give you a big advantage on the court.

Here are some tips on how to shoot off the dribble:

  • Focus on the court and not on the ball when dribbling. Keep your head up
  • Use your fingers, not your palm, to control the ball. This will give you more control and accuracy.
  • Get in a low stance when you’re shooting. This will help you stay balanced and prevent the defender from knocking you off balance.
  • When you’re shooting, snap your wrists to create spin on the ball. This will help it go in the basket more often.
  • Follow through with your shot. This means that you should extend your arm all the way and point your fingers towards the hoop after you release the ball

Basketball drills to improve your dribbling skills

In this section we will present you some of the most effective basketball dribbling drills available to improve your skills.

  1. Practice using your fingertips when dribbling: many players handle the ball with their palms only. For optimum handling, it is crucial to engage your fingertips and get them stronger
  2. Practice dribbling low: as we have mentioned above, this is the way to reduce bounce height, improve basketball handling and dribbling speed
  3. Practice running when dribbling: while everything might look great when you are static, dribbling towards the opponent basket is a totally different situation. Get yourself game ready by training for real life defense scenarios and running while dribbling is the most frequent case of dribbling a basketball.
  4. Practice protecting the ball: same as above. This will be a game changer if you want to become a real threat as an offensive player. Put your body between you and the opponent, use non-dominant hand and excel on your behind the back and between your leg drills.


What is the proper way to dribble a basketball?

The first thing to keep in mind when dribbling is to keep your head up. You’ll need to be able to see the court in order to make the best decisions and find the open man. Keeping your head up also allows you to see how the defense is playing and what opportunities are available.

Second, always use your fingers, not your palm, to control the ball. This will give you more control and allow you to change directions quickly.

Third, make sure to bounce the ball off the ground, using your wrist to snap it back up. Bouncing the ball higher gives you more time to react but makes it easier for defenders to steal the ball. So, you need to lower you body and dribble the ball as low as it is possible so that you can also be effective in passing and scoring it.

Fourth, when you’re dribbling in traffic, use your body to shield the ball from defenders. This will give you more time and space to make a decision.

Finally, practice your dribbling skills regularly. The best way to improve is to get out there and play as much as possible. Pick-up games are a great way to work on your handles and learn how to react in different situations.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pro at dribbling the basketball. And with some practice, you’ll be able to take your game to the next level. So get out there and start working on your handles today!

How do you protect the ball when dribbling?

When you’re dribbling in traffic, use your body to shield the ball from defenders. This will give you more time and space to make a decision. You can also use your non-dominant hand to protect the ball if necessary. And finally, practice your dribbling skills regularly by following our suggested drills in this article, so that you can react quickly in game situations.

Can you take multiple steps between dribbles?

The answer is yes! As long as you keep your hand on top of the ball, you can take as many steps as you want in between dribbles. This is a great way to create space between you and your defender or to make a move to get around them. Be carefull not to be fouled for travelling or carrying.

How do you dribble a basketball without looking down?

The best way to dribble without looking down is to practice dribbling with your eyes up. This means that you need to be able to see the court in order to make the best decisions and find the open man close to the hoop. Keeping your head up also allows you to see how the defense is playing and what opportunities are available. You can also use your peripheral vision to keep track of the ball while you’re dribbling. With enough practice, you’ll be able to dribble without looking down at the ball.

What is a reverse dribble?

A reverse dribble is when you make a spin move dribbling the ball. This can be effective when you are trying to lose your defender or create space.

Is double dribble allowed in basketball?

No, double dribble is not allowed in basketball. This is when you stop dribbling and then start again. This results in a turnover.

Can you dribble after a spin move?

Yes, you can dribble after a spin move. This is how you maintain control of the ball after performing a spin move. The key is to keep your hand on top of the ball and not let it get too far away from your body.

Can you pump fake then dribble?

Yes, you can pump fake then dribble, as long as you had not dribbled before the pump fake. If this is the case, performing a pump fake is a great way to get rid of your defender, since they will be moving towards you or even jumping to block your shot and wou will be able to dribble past them as soon as they lose their balance.

What position is the main dribbler in basketball?

The point guard is typically the main dribbler in basketball. This is because they are responsible for bringing the ball up the court and running the offense. However, any player on the court will eventually dribble the ball, regardless of their position.

The position that should be dribbling the ball less on the other hand, is the center, since those guys are taller and most of the times not very agile, hence are easier targets to steal the ball from.

How much energy does it take to bounce a basketball?

Bouncing a basketball takes very little energy. You only need to use your fingers to keep the ball in control and let gravity do the rest. Of course if you are playing at a position that dribbles the ball a lot, like a point guard, the numerous dribbles that you perform in a game sum up. Eventually, this means that dribbling might be responsible for draining a big portion of your available game energy.

How to teach a child how to dribble a basketball?

There are many ways to teach young kids how to dribble a basketball. One way is to have them bounce the ball off of the ground and catch it with two hands. Another way is to have them bounce the ball off of a wall and catch it with one hand.

You can also have them dribble the ball in different directions and at different speeds. The important thing is to make sure that they are using their fingers and not their palm to control the ball.

How to dribble a basketball in NBA 2k22?

In NBA 22k22, you can dribble a basketball by using the left analog stick to control the direction of your player and the right analog stick to control the ball. You can also use the shoulder buttons to perform different dribble moves. Experiment with different combinations to find what works best for you. For a full list of options check this excellent guide on IGN


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