Dribbling and passing are the two skills that make basketball the great game it is. Without these abilities, the game would be a slow, boring activity. Youth players often struggle with dribbling successfully which leads to frustration for the players and coach. By identifying these five problem areas, coaches can help players develop good skills and increase their enjoyment and skill in basketball.
Dribbling is one of those skills that looks easy but can be very demanding. Young players are impatient and attempt to move ahead of their learning progress. Before becoming proficient in dribbling they want to shoot, shoot, shoot. Being able to dribble alone in the driveway is a start and should be encouraged by all coaches. Players need to practice slowly at first, using both hands equally. There are thousands of ball handling drills to utilize on your own. It’s when the young player faces the defense that makes them realize they have a lot of work to do.
Here are 5 problem areas for dribbling in Youth basketball:
1. Players try to do too much too fast. Dribbling takes time and patience. Just to bounce the ball up and down off the concrete consistently take a concentrated effort.
2. Only one hand, usually the right hand, is developed. The one handed dribbler gets by in 3rd or 4th grade but eventually catches up with them. Both hands need to be equally developed at an early age.
3. Dribble with the fingertips not the palm. Fingertip control can be developed over time. Young dribblers should lightly tap the ball with fingertips to start. As they progress, they can dribble harder and higher. Most young players begin as palm dribblers because they are not properly taught or attempt to progress to quickly.
4. Looking at the ball with head down. This is natural for a young player to look at the ball as they learn to dribble. When team play begins, a player with their head down while dribbling will not be able to see open teammates or pass to them.
5. Stance. A young player usually stands upright as they dribble. They need to be taught to bend at the knees and assume an athletic stance. This will keep the ball closer to the ground, requiring less control. This will also help them protect the ball from other players trying to steal the ball from them.