Game: Eyes Up, Dribble to Rim

Ever wonder how some players seem to get so good at dribbling under pressure, while others struggle for years? Well, the answer is nothing special, they simply practice.

Steve Nash is known for his passing, his ability to handle the basketball is often forgotten. Nash had one of the best handles in the game, and his confidence with the ball allowed him to make all those spectacular passes.

But like many stories about Nash, he wasn’t born that way. He worked and worked and worked at improving his skills.

This game below is great for putting your players in situations where they are challenged to dribble under pressure. This game is similar to many stationary ball-handling drills, but adds a “games approach” element. (The video also explores how the drill can progress to making a pass and getting to the rim.)

Eyes Up, Dribble to Rim

DESCRIPTION Split players get into pairs; one with the basketball and one as a “guide” defender. Players will start between the 3-point line and half-court line. As coach, stand on the baseline under the hoop. Coaches hold up a series of fingers for players to call back. Ball-handlers dribble around in the space above the 3-point line, while defenders put on medium pressure. Players keep eyes up on the coach, calling back the numbers.
SKILL FOCUS Ball Handling, Awareness, Attacking
AGE (STAGE) 8+ (Learn-To-Train Stage)
PLAYERS 2+
EQUIPMENT  1 basketball per pair
VARIATION:
PASSING & ATTACKING
Passing: If the coach makes eye-contact with a player and puts up their hand in the air as a target, that player makes a pass to the coach.

Attacking (the rim): Increase defensive pressure (attempting steals). If a coach calls out the name of a player, that player will attack the key (shot optional). Track points to add an element of competition.

We love progressive ball handling drills! Share your favorite in the comments below!

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