An important part of being a point guard or solid ball handler is the ability to dribble the ball up the court to setup your teams offense. But this can be a daunting task considering your dangers of having the ball stolen, mishandling your dribble, or being forced into a bad pass.
To successfully bring the ball up the court you need solid ball handling skills, especially dribbling skills. You can improve your ball skills by practicing Circle Dribbles,Figure 8 Dribbles, and Power Dribbles, all of which are described on the Ball Handling page. Another great drill is Sprinting with the Ball, in this drill you run as fast as you can down the court while dribbling, so fast that you lose the ball. All these drills will help you dribble the ball in traffic at high speeds, which is necessary for bringing the ball up the court.
Additionally, here are some tips:
Awareness Before Dribbling. Before you catch the rebound or pass, have an idea of who is next to you. Have they all retreated back to play defense or are some hanging around you trying to get a turnover or full court pressing? Never start dribbling until you know who is near you.
Stay Low. Keep your legs very bent and dribble the ball extremely low (almost to the point of feeling silly), this limits the defenders access to the ball.
Keep the Ball Away from the Defender. If the defender is on your right, cross the ball over to your left and vice versa. If the defender reaches in, turn around shielding the ball with your body (if you watch point guards on TV, they never give the defender a chance to reach the ball).
Don’t Rush a Pass. Your main job is to not turn the ball over, make sure whoever you pass to is wide open.
Stay Under Control. Bringing the ball up the court should not be a risky task, take your time and get the job done in a conservative way. Take it step by step and dribble with caution and control.
Don’t Try to Score. Your team is entrusting you to get them involved, so unless there is a complete defensive breakdown you should not take a shot or drive the ball. Simply get the ball to a cutter or someone out on the wing. You may beat your defender if they go for a steel but this does not mean you should try to score. Instead, dribble towards the hoop and wait for a teammate to get open when their defender tries to help.
Watch out for aggressive defenders. If your man is an especially skilled and aggressive defender, you may want to pass the ball to someone else instead of trying to bring the ball up.
Practice Ball Handling Drills. As we mentioned already, practicing your ball handling will make bringing the ball up the court feel natural.
Bringing the ball up the court is an important and exciting part of being a basketball player, even if it’s just pickup games. If you practice your ball handling, protect the ball, and play selflessly, your teammates will soon be relying on you to be the ball handler.
Whether you are a Coach, Parent, Player, or Hobbyiest wouldn’t it be great if you had a tool to easily record basketball shots wherever you are? Well, instead of carrying around paper and pencil now you can use software on your iPhone or iPad. The most simple to get up and running is Basketball Shot Logger and it is available as a FREE install in the App Store. The app very easy to learn and has a lot of great features….
Using Basketball Shot Logger you can analyze shot history from specific games or an entire season. With an intuitive interface you can easily get important stats like:
Field Goal %
Free Throw Attempts
Average Points Per Game
Comprehensive Shot Charts
And much more…
Visit Basketball Shot Logger in the App Store to get it free and let us know what you think. If you have some tips on tracking stats please leave us a comment!
Blocked shots are a major frustration for beginner and amateur basketball players. It is one of the most embarrassing situations in basketball when the defender makes you look like a fool for attempting a shot by smashing the ball right back in your face. Shot blockers are especially problematic for players who have not developed a subconscious awareness of where everyone is on the court. In this post we explain how to greatly reduce your number of blocked shots.
It’s obvious that you can reduce blocked shots by doing things like shortening your release time and increasing your vertical jump, but that does not get to the core of the issue. In reality the simple rule of picking your battles wisely is what will drastically reduce your blocked shots.
We know this rule applies to you because you would not be having your shot blocked and certainly wouldn’t be reading this post if you were the tallest or most athletic player on the court. That is why there are situations/players that you should just flat out avoid. Below are the details of how the rule applies to each type of shot.
Pick Your Battles Wisely (the key to avoiding blocked shots)
Outside Shots: If you have issues with outside shots being blocked it is because you are not properly assessing the player who is assigned to guard you. Do not attempt shots if your defender is significantly more athletic and skilled than you. Even if you feel like you have an open shot, they may get into position quicker than you expect. Instead of shooting outside jump shots against a great defender you should focus on contributing offensively in other ways such as setting screens, going for rebounds, and making cuts.
Close Range Shots:If you have issues with close range shots being blocked it is because you are not paying attention to where the other teams most aggressive defender is. Teams usually have an exceptionally athletic player who will create problems for your offense. If you beet your man off the dribble and this defender is anywhere near you, he is going to steel the ball or block your shot! This is why you should always know where the most aggressive defender is on the court. If you get the ball and that player is near you, move or pass the ball to another part of the court to create an advantage for your team.
Layups: If you have issues with layups being blocked it is either for the same reason as your close range shots (see above) or it is because you are not properly assessing where the help defense is. Often in a basketball game there are as many as one, two, or even three defenders under the hoop or in the paint, this is NOT the time to drive past your man and go in for a layup. Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You get the ball, drive passed your man, get excited that you are going to score a layup then all of a sudden your shot is blocked into the bleachers. Beginners often forget that in a 5 on 5 basketball game getting passed your man is only half the battle. You should decide what you will do before you even try to drive the ball, if the paint is empty you know you are going all the way, but if there are defenders you know you will be passing or shooting. Simply put, never go for a layup if there are defenders in the paint.
In conclusion, almost all blocked shots come from not properly assessing the defense, you need to pick battles that you will win. If you just keep in mind (A) the skill level of your defender, (B) the location of the most aggressive defender, and (C) the number of defenders in the paint, blocked shots will no longer be an issue for you.
Playing pickup basketball at the gym or park can be a challenge and sometimes frustrating if you do not have a background in basketball. This is because other players have had team experience and coaching, they have been taught the the game and are fundamentally sound.
So you may be wondering, how do I get better at pickup basketball? A mistake that you may make is to think that playing more will make you a good player. The truth is that playing more basketball does not make you a better player. The reason players are better than you is because they have invested time practicing the fundamentals, specifically ball handling.
The reason that you are not a sound player is poor ball handling skills. Good players always have the ball where they want it, are not frantic or rushed, and have no problem running an offense, shooting, driving, or even posting up. With good ball handling skills, everything else comes naturally because you are no longer fumbling with the ball or looking at your dribble, instead you have the ball right where you want it and are focusing on getting into your shot, finding a teammate, driving the lane, or posting up. And the great news is that improving ball handling is easy!
So how do you improve ball handling? It’s not by playing in a game where there is ten people and one ball, it’s by doing drills by yourself at home. Ball handling is easy to practice because you can do it in your house, just a few minutes a day makes a huge difference on the court.
Below are two drills that are easy to practice at home:
Tipping. Tip the ball back and forth from one hand to the next, starting with your hands straight up over your head. Then gradually move the ball down, while continuing to tip it back and forth. Go down to your chest, then your waist, knees, and ankles, and then back up again. Keep your elbows straight and only let the the ball touch fingertips, not the palms.
Circles. Put your feet together and make circles around both legs. Then circle around the back. And then circle around the head. Then combine them and move the ball in circles around your head, then down your body, down around your knees, and then around your ankles (“candy cane”). Then come back up again. Try to only touch with the fingertips, not the palms.
Hint: Push yourself to go faster, if you are not messing up you are not pushing yourself enough.
In the video below Travis demonstrates drills that can be done in your home.
If you have more questions about getting better at pickup basketball feel free to contact us or leave a reply.
When watching pickup basketball at the park or at the gym it’s easy to spot beginners and amateurs making costly mistakes.
Below is a count down of the top 10 beginner mistakes in basketball:
10. Not utilizing the pivot foot correctly.
9. Defending with arms instead of body.
8. Not paying attention to where players are on court.
7. Shooting with straight legs instead of starting small and ending tall.
6. Attempting difficult or impossible passes.
5. Trying to dribble or shoot before catching passes securely with two hands.
4. Not following through when shooting the ball.
3. Dribbling high with the ball.
2. Not staying between their man and the hoop.
1. Not boxing out on defense.
Other honorable mentions include: setting a screen but not rolling in time, not passing to the hands of the teammate, standing to far under the hoop when catching a pass, and not utilizing free arm to protect the ball.
If you have a beginner mistake that is worth mentioning please reply to this post.