He Got Handle!
You ever find yourself watching a NBA basketball game or perhaps even a NCAA game and think to yourself, I wish I had handle like that!? Looking at guys like Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, and Chris Paul put multiple defenders in the blender with a ball is a fascinating thing to observe. But they weren’t always like that, it came with practice and dedication (and a little bit of God given talent lol). But for the most part, it takes training to master an art and I’m here today to tell you how you can do it!
First things first, you have to prepare your mindset and believe in yourself. Faith without works is dead, you have to really believe that something is going to happen and then work towards it so that it will! Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re a 100% correct… always remember that! Now once you have gotten your mind in the right direction it’s time to get started on the physical aspect of things surrounding basketball.
1) First you will need some sort of ball that bounces, doesn’t even have to be a basketball just as long as it’s round and can come back to you off the ground. (I personally started off using tennis balls, miniature basketballs and even kick balls when I was younger that helped a great deal!)
2) Keep a ball with you at all times, I mean all times! Where ever you walk to you should be dribbling a ball. You should also be dribbling said ball with both hands while you walk so that you can get comfortable using each. (Whenever I was in school, I would utilize my tennis ball and dribble it through the halls to my classes, since obviously a basketball wouldn’t fly too well with teachers and principals.)
3) To be clear, a tennis ball and miniature basketball is key to training your coordination and hand placement. If one can dribble each of these within reason, it makes dribbling a regular basketball much easier since it’s a lot bigger.
4) Once you have free time to actually practice, I want you to not focus on even having a basket around. There’s no need for it because shooting is not required, you’re not here to play A Game Of HORSE, you’re looking to get that Kyrie Irving handle okay! So find an area that is unoccupied where you have room to dribble, walk and run.
5) Now that you have space to maneuver, practice walking and then sprinting as fast as you can up and down about 10-20 yards with both your left hand and right hand dribbling the ball. Start off each day or training with this warm up. Focus on control and not how fast you can go. You want to be able to go as fast as you can while not losing the ball. So if you keep losing your dribble then tone it down a notch. Over time you will get better and faster so trust the process.
6) While you are dribbling, focus on using your finger tips to bounce the ball and not your palms. This is critical because finger tips help you snap the ball faster which leads to harder dribbles and better ball control. You can perform better moves once you master dribbling with your fingertips.
7) Stand still, facing forward take one leg and place it forward so that you look like you are walking but at a standstill position. Now I want you to slightly bend over and begin to bounce the ball through your legs. If you are just starting out, you can catch the ball and repeat until you are able to not have to catch and just bounce it back and forth to each hand. Do this drill for about 5 minutes and then switch legs. After both legs, go back to Step 5 and run up and down for 5-10 minutes. Then take a 5 minute break. Repeat this for about 30 minutes. This drill will get you comfortable dribbling between your legs.
8) Next you will stand still again, but this time you will bounce the ball behind your back. Again, if you’re just starting out you can catch the ball and repeat until you are able to bounce the ball back to your other hands without catching. Do this drill for about 5 minutes or sometimes I like to try and do 100 repetitions, meaning 1 dribble to the other hand 100 times. Then after you’ve done this, repeat Step 7 and Step 5 simultaneously. You see where I’m going with this? You’re building fundamental skill that will eventually translate into in-game skill.
9) Now that you have gotten comfortable dribbling between the legs and behind your back, it’s time to work on the crossover. Now this move was one of my most dominate moves in my arsenal when I played and even still til this day. I don’t want to give you advice on some regular, boring crossover that anyone can do because that would be an injustice to you for even reading this article. I’m going to give you the Allen Iverson crossover that I perfected when I was an adolescent. So what I want you to do if possible is find an area that you can dribble that has a wall beside it. The wall is slightly important because it will save you time from chasing after your ball lol. Now, you are going to focus on one hand at a time of course. So if you want to start with your right hand, then the wall should be to your left. While standing still dribble the ball with your right hand and then practice shifting your hand to the left inside of the ball as it bounces back up. Next, once the ball comes to your hand while you have positioned it into the inside, push the ball to the right and then snapped it down to the ground. It should look like you are intending to dribble to your right but you don’t actually go anywhere. Practice doing this for 5 to 10 minutes.
10) You should now be familiar with turning the ball in your hand off of the bounce. Next what you will want to do is, instead of snapping the ball down to the ground, quickly turn the ball by turning your wrist so that you now have your hand on the right side of the ball ready to crossover. You will now have to add your foot movement in order to get this going in sync. So it should look like you are intending to dribble to your right, but at the last second you are turning the ball and crossing over to your left. Remember that wall? Well, since you are a beginner, you will probably screw this up quite a few times and that wall will be there to catch the ball. Don’t get discouraged that you’re not able to complete the move by catching it with your left hand. That will come in due time. Your goal at this moment is to master the art of faking your direction.
11) Soon you should be able to catch it with the other hand and then it’s simply rinse and repeat with both hands. You can then grab a chair, use a pole or whatever you like to crossover for practice. It gets fun at this point because where ever you walk to you will be looking for objects to shake- haha.
These are just a few simple but powerful steps you can begin doing today that helped me become the great ball handler that I am and I know it can help you do the same! Keep it simple, mix in some hesitations, and you should be on your way to being a beast on the court!!
Here’s some Bonus drills you can practice afterwards as well….
- Dribble Figure 8’s – Spread legs about shoulder width. Dribble the ball through and around legs in a figure 8. Can be done multiple ways – front to back, back to front, low dribbles (as many dribbles as possible with dribble about shoe height), as few dribbles as possible (high dribble about waist high), can even be done walking. For even more of a challenge, try the drill with one hand instead of two.
- Spider Dribble – Feet spread about shoulder width. Dribble the ball between your legs in the following manner – left hand, right hand in front of your legs; left hand, right hand behind your legs. Work as fast a possible.
Allen Iverson crossover on Michael Jordan