Basketball Dribbling Fundamentals For Beginners

ball dribbling fundamentals

Written by Ohmer

March 19, 2021


In Basketball where every possession counts, ball handling with precision is an essential element of success. It allows you to break open the floodgate of scoring opportunities and position yourself on the court where you are most potent, all the while protecting the ball from a swarm of defenders. So, it should not come as a surprise that every player must have a firm grasp of basketball dribbling fundamentals, and you are no exception.

A beginner as yourself should develop a reliable dribble package to become effective at any competitive level. This entails a strenuous path of unending practice and game experience. To get you on the right track, Watts Basketball will guide you through basic dribbling, and here are the key principles to keep in mind.

Basketball Dribbling Fundamentals: Control The Ball, Control The Game

The core of an efficient offense lies in the hands of the ball handler. It is almost impossible to produce a basket without the help of dribbling, let alone generate winning results. So, in order to experience the fun of scoring and even taste sweet victory on the court, learn and incorporate the foundation of dribbling a basketball into your repertoire.

Elevate your performance on the court by mastering the fundamentals of dribbling a basketball. 

Dribble in a low athletic stance

The first step towards learning the art of dribbling is picking up the textbook stance, which should be done by staying low to the ground. This athletic position allows you to have a firm balance while controlling the rock since it stabilizes the center of gravity of one’s body. It also enables you to bust out a series of dribble combinations with added power, speed and precision, considering that the ball has less distance to travel from the hand to the floor and back than doing it in an upright posture.

Besides its enhancement on the execution of dribble combos, the low athletic stance serves a critical purpose when it comes to protecting the ball. Since the ball is close to the ground, the defenders would have a hard time reaching out to the dribble pocket and steal the ball. The stance can also act as a shield to the ball since your body would be in the way of a defender attempting to snatch the ball out of your hands. With the rock secured in your possession at all times, the team you play for will have less turnovers and more  chances to score and win, making it an important pointer among basketball dribbling fundamentals.

Still, make no mistake, you can dribble in an upright position. Even the most seasoned of ball handlers could be seen doing this, but only when there are no defenders around that could pick the ball out of their pocket. So, keep that in mind in case you want to take a rest from the low athletic stance.

Use finger pad control

A basketball can be quite a handful, in the most literal sense, when you try to palm it. Because of its size and shape, countless beginners would opt to use their palms when handling the ball. Now while it is possible to execute dribble moves using the palm, doing so will not cut it at a high level of competition.

If you happen to closely monitor the basketball dribbling fundamentals of an elite player, you would notice that the finger pads are the ones used to bounce the ball off the floor instead of the palm of a hand. This method is taught and applied by the old heads of the game since it has been long proven that it enhances one’s dribbling prowess.

One of the main reasons why finger pad dribbling is far superior than using one’s palm is the control it provides to the ball handler. With the help of your finger tips, the precision when altering the direction of the ball will be amplified. This allows you to shift from one direction to another without having to worry about losing the leather. Not to mention that palm dribbling is detrimental to the speed and power of your execution, while using the pads of your fingers can pack every dribble move with force for a swift and powerful performance.

So, as a new blood in the game, start getting used to dribbling with a finger pad control rather than utilizing your palm.

Keep head high and eyes up

Take a look at the game of some of the best ball handlers in the world. From Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, and down to Russell Westbrook, it is a rare occurrence to see players of such high caliber to constantly keep their head down while looking at the ball when dribbling. Come to think of it, most elite ball handlers often serve as point guards, who are like music conductors that keep a team’s offense humming through sound on-court decisions. In other words, being a ball handler means that you are at the helm of scoring, so you should be the one who best reads the opposing defense.

For this exact reason, the need to develop a habit of keeping your head high and eyes up while ball handling should be among your topmost priorities when integrating basketball dribbling fundamentals. This allows you to scan the field, pinpoint the lapses in the defensive schemes of the opposing side, and pounce on it to produce a basket. Simply put, to make the right plays as a ball handler, this habit is the one you need the most.

Still, it is fine to glance at the ball at times in cases where a defender is trying to poke the ball out of your possession. This gives you a chance to make swift adjustments with your ball control to prevent a steal or turnover.

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Make It A Habit

Simply learning the basketball dribbling fundamentals is not enough. As a beginner, it is imperative to put these dribbling pointers into practice over a long, consistent period of time. This will elevate your game to new heights and make you a positive factor on any team you suit up for on the court.


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