Determining a basketball player’s overall “offensive worth” is something I do often as a coach. I have to have some way to scout a player and figure out what their offensive potential is. Of course I look at stats, FG%, 3PT%, PPG, FT%, etc. These are definitely important but they’re often misinterpreted.
You need to look at more than just those stats, you need to look at how those stats were achieved. What made the stats what they are?
The number one thing that contributes to those stats being impressive is ball handling and your handles.
All those stats come from first creating the opportunity, and 80% of the time that was through ball handling and dribble moves.
So when players ask me how to see big increases in their offensive stats, I tell them, “yea your shot is important, but you’ll never have the opportunity to get a good shot off if you don’t have the handles to create the shots”.
Obviously the conversation with the player then turns to basketball dribbling drills. And which ones they should do and which ones they should avoid like the plague. Believe me, not all dribbling drills are created equal, you can waste a lot of practice time with the wrong drills if you aren’t careful.
The key to any basketball dribbling drill is intensity. Now, part of that is on you. You can slack off at any drill no matter how great it’s designed. But, assuming you bring intensity to your training. There are a lot of basketball dribbling drills that are setup in a way that make it impossible to run them at game time intensity.
If you’re using any basketball dribbling drills where you feel like they’re forcing you to move at a slower than game pace. Toss them out, burn them, forget them!!! They will not only hold you back from hitting your potential, they will actually send you in the reverse direction.
The only exception to that rule is if you are using stationary dribbling drills at the beginning of your workouts. But, if you are relying on these stationary dribbling drills to get you unstoppable handles, you will be thoroughly disappointed. Stationary dribbling drills are great to get you warmed up, focused and to gain ball control. But they will never get you the handles you need to beat defenders.
You have to incorporate drills that are run at a game pace and re create game situations. It always baffled me how coaches would teach their player basketball dribbling drills that didn’t mirror a game in anyway, and then expect their players to be able to execute come game time.
Analyze your dribbling drills. Can you see how the drill directly reflects an in game scenario? If not, they are probably worthless.
Now once you have these basketball dribbling drills that you can see reflect game situations, it’s on you to bring game time intensity to the training.
Like I said earlier, you can slack off on the best drill and make that drill worthless. So be sure that once you have those great drills you keep them great. You have to picture a defender, you have to see and hear the crowd, you have to go just as hard as you would in a game.
The next progression is to actually add in a defender. But I see players make some big mistakes when they do this. They add in a defender, but the defender already knows what you’re going to do. This isn’t realistic and one of two things will happen. Either the defender will constantly beat you because they are playing you knowing what you are going to do. Or they exaggerate the other way, and make it too easy to beat them. Either way you won’t get good feedback as to how good you can execute the move.
So, when you add in a defender they should have no idea what you are trying to do. They should “D” you up as if they were guarding you in a game, and they should go 100%.
Another piece of advice is to have several moves to work on when you bring in a defender. If you try the same thing over and over you will revert back to the defender knowing what you are going to do. If you can keep switching it up it will keep your defender guessing and mirror a game.
Using these training techniques will bring your ball handling to a new level and ultimately lead to easy shots, layups, assists and trips to the free throw line.