There are two techniques that the dribbler can use. From the wing or corner, they will usually face the basket, moving sideways and looking for the opportunity to “attack” the basket and dribble forwards.

If the dribbler just moves sideways, they are unlikely to get past their opponent. Instead they use a variety of moves such as:

  • Hesitation Dribble: stopping and then starting again
  • Punch Dribble: pushing forward and then retreating if the defender is able to defend the drive
  • Crossover Dribble: changing direction using a variety of crossover dribbles (in front and behind)
  • Fake Crossover: moving as if to change direction and then returning to the original direction.

A change of direction is often most effective when it follows a retreat dribble, taking advantage if the defender lunges forward.

A second technique (most commonly used when moving across the court) is to turn and face the direction they are moving. The offensive player is now side on to their opponent and the basket.

Again, the offensive player may use a variety of dribble techniques in order to beat their opponent. They can also use ball screens or hand-offs. The disadvantage of this technique, is that the player has their back to one side of the floor and may not be able to see both opponents and team mates.

The best way to introduce the use of these skills is to have players practice in contested situations, whether that is 1v1 or with more players. Young players often use the dribble too much, instead of passing and using space and coaches may prefer offensive players pass. However, the ability to beat an opponent from the perimeter is important, as it does then create a situation of advantage.

It is recommended that coaches vary rules used in scrimmages so that teams learn to create opportunities of advantage by:

  • Moving the ball by passing (e.g. “reversing” the ball and creating a “long close out”, where an offensive player can drive)
  • Beating a defender whilst dribbling, emphasizing other players adjusting their position to create space for the dribbler.
  • Limiting the number of dribbles, the time that a player may have the ball (e.g. 3 seconds at a time)
  • Restricting the offensive team allowing only one player to dribble (after that only passes can be made) or that after a player dribbles the next offensive player cannot dribble (however the player after them can).
  • It is important that players learn to understand how to beat defenders using a dribble but not to over use the dribble.