Point Guard Development: Fundamental Dribbling Skills

A couple of weeks ago I said I was going to start a series on point guard development. It is a tremendously important topic and to my surprise I have found there is not a lot of information on that subject matter. I started brainstorming some thoughts and ended up filling 12 pages of notes. I have decided that I am going to write a book on point guard development and I have been obsessively researching the topic. I did want to write a few more entries teaching “points” to play, but these articles will be not nearly at the level of depth as this book I am developing.

I have purchased a handful of videos on the playing the point guard position and they primarily focus on attacking dribble moves.  Having a lead guard as a penetrator is a great asset to any team, but even more important in my estimation is ball protection. Such dribble moves as a front cross, behind the back, around the back, inside-out, between the legs, and the reverse dribble all must be taught and mastered but my primary concern is ball protection.  My expectation is that these four dribbling concepts should be taught before I start working on attacking moves which have a strong turnover potential.

1. Power Dribble – this really is the dribble I want my lead guard to use the most often. The concept of using a power dribble is that the lead guard is pounding the basketball. I want the ball to bounce as quickly as possible off of the ground and I want that guard to almost suck that ball up into his hand. The concept of power dribbling is that I am keeping it in my hands as long as possible, this giving myself as much control as possible.

Drill Work: Two ball dribbling is the cornerstone of developing the power dribble. Have the player move into an offensive stance and pound two basketball’s at the same time. Work on bouncing the ball high and low and at different heights with either hands. Eventually add movement to the drill as well, for example work on zig zagging up and back use power dribbles and changing the height of the basketball.

Note: Adding two balls is to make the skill more difficult. I might work with just one ball with a player who is starting out or use it as a regression if a player is struggling.

2. Kill Dribble: A kill dribble is a very low dribble (below the knee); we use this dribble when we get in trouble. The idea of using the kill dribble is to get low to the ball and protect it. There is a lot of contact in the game of basketball and at times you need to recover our balance, this is where executing a kill dribble occurs. Here is an example of where I might use it,  I have a guard bringing the ball over half court and he sees a player running to trap him, his first reaction needs to be getting low and taking the dribble down.  From this balanced position, he can make his next move. In stressful situations players have the natural instinct to pick up their dribble but a great lead guard does not give up his dribble.

Drill Work: Same as two ball dribbling but at different times work on “killing” the ball. We also work on the ball in variety of other situations, for example 2v1 ball handling or dribble tag.

3. Speed Dribble – this dribble is obviously allowing us to maximize speed. A speed dribble is where we are aggressively pushing the ball forward and higher than normal. The ball will spend more time in the air than in the hand, thus allowing us to run to catch up to it. We would use this in transition situations. We need to however work on slowing/stopping and getting into a power dribble from this dribble.

Drill Work: Pretty simple, try doing full court layups (or pull up from the foul line) but limit the number of dribbles the player can use. This will force them to push the ball forward and really stretch out there steps.

4. Power Dribble Stance – this is a concept rather than an actual dribble. The idea of the power stance is that I get my one of my legs forward, aligned perpendicular to the defender. I am thus using my body to keep the defender away from the basketball. This is a stance I can move into when I see very strong pressure. We want the offensive player to keep the ball off his back leg – keeping the ball away from the defender. I found a picture that has a pretty nice representation of a power dribble. Notice how the player is sitting into their stance and has the off arm up protecting the ball.

Drill Work: I work on the power dribble stance in our pull back series. We have a player start on the baseline, he will make an attacking dribble and then stop at the foul line and get his foot forward and get into that power stance.  From this power stance – we back dribble two times and then either attack again with the same hand or we execute a crossover (or behind the back) dribble and attack.  We continue this process stopping at the mid court line, opposite free throw line, and the end line.

Now that we have these three different types of dribbles – we need to ensure that our guards are using them at the appropriate time.  This is where game/scrimmage time comes into play, be sure to point out the appropriate times to use these different dribbling tactics.

That is it for now; I will probably write another article on point guard development. Would love some feedback and ideas for this upcoming project, should be a heck of a challenge for me.  If you had not seen it, I had just done a review of some Kevin Eastman videos.

If you are interested in more quick tips I encourage you follow me on twitter at CoachAnglim. As always , I love feedback. Drop me a line at CoachAnglim@FundamentalsFirstBasketball.net.

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