Control dribbling is an important ball handling skill dribblers use when they're closely guarded by a defender. It's a way to protect the ball and keep it out of the opponent's hands.
To perform a control dribble, keep the knees slightly bent with the body between the ball and the defender, dribbling the ball by the back foot. Keep the dribble low and close to the body. The other arm is held out in front, slightly bent, and serves as an arm bar or shield to further protect the ball.
The arm bar can't be used to push or grab at a defender's arm, but it can prevent the defender from reaching around.
Watch the video below for a good demonstration of the control dribbling technique.
Good ball handling is important. Protecting the ball under pressure while being closely guarded isn't easy. It takes practice.
The following basketball dribbling drills encourage control dribbling by teaching players to keep the ball low to the floor.
We call them "lazy" because they're done from a sitting, kneeling, and lying position. But don't let the name deceive you. These basketball ball handling drills will give you a great workout while building your confidence and skills handling the rock.
For this first set of drills, sit on the ground with your legs together stretched straight out in front of you.
With the ball in your right hand, begin dribbling on the right side of your body with tiny dribbles. Without stopping, dribble a little higher, and then continue dribbling as high as you can. Without stopping, reverse the order and bring the dribbles back down to medium height and then down to low dribbles.
Repeat with your left hand on the left side of your body. Keep the dribble comfortably by your thigh.
Perform the same drill while lying down. Your dribbling arm should be fully extended while you dribble the ball in the upper thigh area. Repeat for the other hand.
Begin in the upright sitting position, dribbling on the right side of the body. Continue to dribble while you slowly lie back until your back is flat on the ground. Keep dribbling while you raise your body back up to the sitting position. Repeat for the opposite hand.
Spread legs slightly apart so there is enough room for the ball to dribble between them. Using your right hand only, dribble once on the right side of the body, push it to the middle for one dribble between your legs, and then push it over to the left side of your body for one dribble. Continue the pattern back and forth across your body. Repeat using your left hand only.
Lie down flat on your back and dribble the ball above your head, first with one hand, then the other, then while alternating hands.
Sitting with the ball in your right hand, dribble it in a "V" pattern on your right side so the ball bounces parallel to your leg. With your hand on top of the ball, push it so it lands just to the side of your right hip. Then rotate your hand behind the ball to push it back toward the front, so that the point of the "V" where the ball bounces is right beside your hip. Repeat with your left hand.
Sitting up with legs out straight in front of you begin with the ball in your right hand, dribble the ball around your body in a clockwise direction, going behind your back, over to the left side, down the entire left side, around your toes and back to the right. Change direction.
For the next group of basketball ball handling drills, sit on the ground and pull your legs up toward your body in an upside down "V" with your feet flat on the ground.
Using only your right hand, dribble the ball directly in front of you, out in front of your feet, pushing the ball from one side of your body to the other, so that it hits the floor in a "V" pattern. The point of the "V" where the ball bounces should be in the middle of your feet. Repeat with your left hand.
Pass the ball from one hand to the other by bouncing it back and forth under your legs from your right hand to your left. You might need to lift your feet slightly off the ground.
Perform the same drill as above, but dribble the ball a couple times on one side of your body before bouncing it through to the other side.
Legs can either be together straight out in front of you flat on the floor or they can be in an upside down "V" like in the last drill, whichever you prefer. Dribble the ball back and forth from one hand to the other behind your back.
Pull your right leg up so that your right foot is flat on the floor making an upside down "V" and keep your left leg extended. Dribble circles around your right foot by dribbling around your toes and under your leg in a clockwise direction. Switch directions and go counterclockwise. Switch legs and repeat around the left leg.
Pull both legs up into an upside down "V" with feet flat on the floor and ankles together. Dribble circles around both feet in a clockwise direction and then switch and dribble circles the opposite way.
Sit up with both legs pulled up into an upside down "V". With the ball in your right hand, dribble the ball around your body in a
clockwise direction, going behind your back, over to the left side,
down the entire left side, around your toes and back to the right.
Change direction and dribble the other way.
For the next basketball dribbling drills, you need to kneel down on one knee.
Kneel down on your left knee and put your right foot flat on the ground in front of you so that your right leg makes a bridge. With the ball in your right hand, dribble the ball under your right leg one time, pushing it over toward your left hand on the left side of your body.
When your left hand touches the ball, push it back under your leg with one dribble over to the right hand. Continue dribbling back and forth. Switch legs and go back and forth under your left leg.
Kneel down on your left knee and put your right foot flat on the
ground in front of you so that your right leg makes a bridge. Dribble
the ball under your right leg and around your right foot in a clockwise
direction. Change directions and dribble counterclockwise.
Switch legs and repeat drill by dribbling around your left leg.
Now that you're warmed up with these lazy basketball dribbling drills, how about trying some other
stationary basketball ball handling drills?
Ready for some more advanced ball handling drills? Try these!
Or, maybe you're ready to start working on basketball dribbling drills with movement? How about trying some full court dribbling drills?