The key offensive individual technique categories are:

  • Dribbling;
  • Passing and catching;
  • Movement Fundamentals and Getting Open to Receive the Ball;
  • Shooting;
  • Rebounding;
  • Basic Perimeter and Post Moves.

Coaches of junior athletes, at all ages, should focus on each skill category. Importantly though, the level of detail that is taught depends upon the age and relative skill level of the players.

For example, when coaching 8 or 9 year olds, the skill of “shooting” may simply be getting them to be balanced before throwing the ball at the basket, without worrying too much about their shooting technique. At the age of 11 or 12, technique (elbow under the ball etc.) is of paramount importance.

Skill Category: Dribbling

What to Teach


Fun Activities to Teach

Left and Right Hand Dribble

Push the ball to the ground, flexing the wrist. Don’t look at the ball.

“Dribble, Pivot, Pass”

Crossover Dribble

Use this to change hands. Keep the dribble below the knee.

“Zig Zag Lay-up”

Hesitation Dribble

Stop your feet and keep the knees bent. Dribble the ball slightly above your waist and lift your shoulders and head.

“Dribble Chicken”

Speed Dribble

Bounce the ball directly in front of your body. Pushing with the right hand, then the left hand etc. (using natural running motion).

“Relay Races”

Retreat Dribble

Turn sideways and dribble the ball at your back foot (keep it away from the defender) still look ahead at the defender in front of you.

“Punch & Retreat”

Behind the Back Dribble

Slide the dribbling hand to the back of the ball and push the ball forward, slapping your bottom so the ball goes in front of you. An alternate method is to do a crossover dribble (in a “v”) behind the back. This is most effective when stationary.

“Dribble Knockout”

Fake Crossover Dribble

Push the ball as in a crossover and then with the same hand dribble it back to the same side (dribble the ball in a “v”).

“Dribble Chicken”

“Double Moves”

Combining different dribble moves

“Dribble Mirror”

Attacking the Legs

Emphasise using dribble moves to beat (get past) the defender, not just look fancy!


Key Teaching Points

• Spread fingers around the ball – don’t have the ball touch the palm of your hand

• Push the ball with force

• Don’t look at the ball – “see with your fingers”

• Move your hand on the ball. For example, to do a cross over dribble, move the hand to the side of the ball.

Tips for Success

• Learn to dribble with either hand (left hand going to your left – right hand going to your right)

• Always dribble with the hand that is furthest from your opponent

Dribbling Activities

Dribble, Pivot, Pass

  • left-handed dribble to the middle and jump stop.
  • drop step (pivot backwards) with the left foot (step with the left foot, with the right foot staying on the ground as the “pivot foot”).
  • right-handed pass to the next player in line counter clockwise.
  • Passer follows the pass to the end of the next line.
  • Alternate dribbling hand, pivot foot and direction of pivot.

Zig Zag Lay-up

  • offensive player starts with a right hand dribble for 2-3 steps
  • change direction and change to a left hand dribble with a cross over
  • after 2-3 steps, change direction and change to a right hand dribble with cross-over
  • after 2-3 steps, pass to 2 and cut to the basket to receive a pass back for a lay-up

Punch and Retreat

This is a great drill to teach players to retain their dribble under defensive pressure. The dribbler “punch dribbles” to get to the elbow in 1 or 2 dribbles. They must then retreat to their starting spot and “open” their stance to face the basket. They continue for 30 seconds, recording how many times they touched the elbow.

Initially, the defender may stand and just be a reference point for the dribbler to “attack the hips”. Progress to where the defender attempts to stop the dribbler reaching the elbow.

Relay Race

The athletes begin at the foul line and speed dribble to the opposite line, then touch and sprint back. Players must stay in control of the ball, aiming to do 14 –15 sprints in a minute.

Divide the athletes into teams and have them race against each other.

You can also place obstacles in the way of players so that they have to change direction using cones, for example.

Similarly, the coach can walk in front of dribblers which will reinforce them needing to look up! The coach can even have another two groups going across the court, instructing players to stop (but to keep dribbling) to avoid any collision.

Dribble Chicken

Players dribble towards each other (starting with the same hand) and change hands using a designated dribble move and dribble past each other. Players should take a quick “first step” as they move past their partner. They should also “attack the hips”, moving past their partner, not moving sideways.

The coach can have groups moving in the other direction in the area. Players are to use hesitation dribbles (stop and go) to avoid bumping into others.


The offensive player attempts to run through a corridor. Defenders move laterally to try and stop them. Once the offence gets past a defender, the defender stops.

If offence does not have a ball, make the corridor narrow. If offence is dribbling, make the corridor wider. Offence must (at times) retreat, in order to beat the defender.

Dribble Knockout

Players must move and dribble continuously within an area (e.g. inside 3 point line), attempting to knock away with their free hand other players’ balls.  Players are eliminated when:

  1. their ball is knocked out of the area
  2. they go outside the defined area; or
  3. they are caught double dribbling

Reduce the size of the playing area as numbers decrease.  When eliminated, players sit or stand outside of the area, dribbling their ball. These players can also attempt to knock the ball away from dribblers, but these players cannot step into the area.

Dribble Mirror

Two athletes stand opposite each other, both with a ball (or two balls).  One athlete is the leader and does various dribble moves (either on the spot or on the move). Their partner copies the moves.

Bongo Drums

A player has 3 balls and must dribble them at the same time!  They start by dribbling two balls (say 4 times) and then change one ball for the 3rd ball (which a team mate has been dribbling).

This can also be done with 4 balls, as players dribble two balls four times and then the other balls four times and continue in this pattern. The other player must act like a mirror, imitating the moves.

Speed Dribble
Between the Legs
Retreat Dribble
Hesitation Dribble
Crossover Dribble
Behind the Back Crossover
Onside Dribble
Behind the Back