Dribbling: Techniques, Exercises And More

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In a game of basketball, your technique counts the most. This is true for shooting a basketball, and dribbling too. In fact, dribbling is a skill that can really set you apart from other players. You can have control over the game if you’re doing it well. 

Some think that gear is what gives them their power. And, to some extent, it does give you an edge. Using compression pants, having the best sneakers, and even using a good basketball can affect your game. In the end though, with bad technique, these items will get you nowhere. That’s why it’s so important to practice. 

In this article, we’ll give you the run-down on dribbling. Read on to find out everything you need to know.  

What Is Dribbling?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us explain what exactly dribbling is, for those who are totally new to basketball. In essence, it’s when you move across the court with the ball. But, it’s a little bit more complex than that. 

As you move across the court, you have to bounce the ball continuously. If you don’t, you’ll be doing what is known as traveling. Traveling is when you don’t bounce the ball, and rather hold it in your hands. If you take three or more steps without bouncing the ball at all, it is considered as traveling, which is a violation of the rules. 

Should you be caught traveling, you’ll receive a penalty and the ball will be awarded to the opposing team. This is why it’s so important to know how to dribble. The skill allows you to keep the ball in your hands for longer, taking control of the game out of the hands of your opponents. It’s a skill that every basketball player absolutely needs to have. 

dribbling techniques


As with every skill, there are a variety of techniques for how to dribble a basketball. You should choose your technique based on the situation you’re in on the court. Here are 3 of the most popular techniques that players use: 

The Crossover Technique 

This technique is your best bet when you’re trying to move up the court, and your angle is being blocked off by an opposing defender. 

To use this technique, start by bouncing the ball low, next to your knee (on the outside). Next, you should cross the ball to the opposite hand or the outside of your other knee. The crossing of the ball needs to occur below the knees. At all times, you should be protecting the ball with the arm that is not currently being used to bounce the ball. Remember, you should be moving forward as you’re following these steps. 

The Hesitation Technique 

Make use of this technique when you’re moving up the court fast, and your defender is standing still or going backward. 

What you need to do is bounce the ball fast when you’re at defense. Then, halt suddenly (while still bouncing the ball) and stay in your stance. Ensure that you’re bouncing the ball on the side of your body, and not in front of it. At all times, protect the ball with your non-dribbling hand. After a pause, quickly move past the defender. 

The Retreat Technique 

This technique should be used when you need to get some space between you and a defender. 

First, you need to take a stance of defense, putting your body between the ball and the defender. Here, your shoulder should be angled towards the chest of the defender. Ensure you’re bouncing the ball low behind your back foot. Thereafter, you must take two back slide dribbles backward and square your body towards the defense. 

Other Tips For Dribbling: 

  • Don’t keep your eyes on the ball. You need to survey the court to scout your movement options and see what the opponents are doing. 
  • Use both of your hands equally to dribble. 
  • Keep your chin up and look forward. 
  • Use your fingertips when you dribble, it gives you more control. 
  • You need to stay low and keep the ball low too. 

Practice exercises 

1. Pounding 

Also known as the stationary dribble, this practice exercise requires you to bounce the ball as you remain in a solid stance. It’s a good way to get used to bouncing the ball at a basic level. 

2. Crossover (stationary) 

This exercise is used to practice changing direction. Essentially, you stand in your stance and cross the ball over to your opposite hand as many times as you can. You should be practicing your dribble speed and stance with this exercise. 

3. Zig Zag 

Now you need to get moving across the court. In this exercise, you begin in a corner of the court and dribble to a marked area at which point you turn and move towards the sideline. This gives you the opportunity to practice moving, and also to practice changing your direction in motion while keeping the ball bouncing. 

Rules On The Court 

There are some important rules related to dribbling that you must remember when practicing and playing. First, remember that you must dribble if you plan on taking 3 or more steps, or you’ll get a penalty. You are allowed to dribble anywhere on the court, as long as you are in inbounds. 

Further, you may only have one hand on the ball while you dribble. If you have both hands on the ball, you’ll lose your dribble and you’ll have to pass or shoot. Finally, you can’t palm the ball by lifting it up, and you can’t stop your dribble and then start again. 

dribbling techniques

Final Thoughts 

Dribbling is an easy skill to pick up if you practice enough. Remember, that it’s an important skill to have, so even though it’s not that difficult, you have to practice it well. Follow the techniques and practice exercises in this article to up your game and control the ball on the court. Finally, don’t forget to keep the rules about dribbling in mind, they’ll ensure that you have the ball in your possession for much longer!