Teaching kids how to dribble a basketball is like showing them how to do anything else. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience to get your kids comfortable with handling the ball. These seven drills will greatly improve your kids ball handling abilities. Remember, practice is the only sure fire way to teach kids how to dribble well.
- Standard right hand and left hand dribble. First things first. Before your kids can pull of Iverson like crossovers, they have to know the basic mechanics in dribbling the ball. Properly dribbling the ball is simple. Teach you kids how to dribble a basketball with their fingertips. Not the palms of their hands, which is a common mistake made by younger players. Dribbling with your finger tips provides more control over the ball. The ball shouldn't bounce higher than your children's waists. Have them practice equally with both hands. You can tell when your kids get comfortable with this drill because the ball will bounce and return to their hands similar to a Yo-Yo.
- Walking with the ball. Lets step it up a notch. It's time to teach your kids how to dribble a basketball while walking. Have them practice dribbling the ball while walking forward. Practice with both hands equally. It's important that you instill in your kids early, that they need to keep their heads up while dribbling. They need to get comfortable enough with the ball to realize that it will return to their hands without them having to watch every bounce. You can even set up cones that they can walk around to improve ball handling.
- Jogging with the ball. Once your little players become comfortable walking the ball. Have your kids speed up a little. Over time, they will naturally figure out that the ball needs to be pushed out in front of them as they go from a walk to a jog to an all out run. The cone drill works well here too. Remember to have them practice equally with both hands.
- Standard right to left dribble. Once your ball players become comfortable dribbling with both hands, it's time to teach them to dribble a basketball back and forth from left to right. The same mechanics apply. Dribble with your fingertips and keep the ball at waist height at the peak of the bounce.
- Walking and jogging with the ball. The same as before. Teach your kids to dribble a basketball from their left to right hands while walking. Once their comfortable teach them to jog with the ball, the finally up their speeds to an all out run with the ball.
- Dribbling competition. Divide the players into equal groups. Depending on the number of players you have, it will either be two groups or multiple. There should be at least 3 players in each line. Line up each group on the baseline with one person at the front of each line holding the ball. On the whistle the first player from each groups dribbles up the court, touches the end line and comes back. When they get back they hand the ball off to the next person who repeats. First team all the way through their group wins (http://www.basketball.org/drills/relay-race/). You can vary the race by using cones, or anything you think will help your players learn to dribble a basketball better.
Practice, Practice, Practice. It can't be stressed enough. Anything can be learned if enough effort is put into learning it. So, pound these drills into their heads. Remember there are many variations that can be used to help improve your players' ball handling skills such as speed dribbling drills, the crab drill etcetera, but it's more important for them to have a solid foundation first. Strong fundamentals win games.