5 Keys to Improving Your Ball Handling

10983153_859696977428168_1395054869423583843_n

Ball handling is one of the most important fundamentals in the game of basketball. While it might not be the same as scoring 30 points a night, being a steady and reliable ball handler is crucial to any good team. That’s why it is important for players to work on their handle every day, starting at a young age. Whether you are a point guard, wing or center, you can always afford to become a better ball handler. Here are five things to focus on when you are working on your ball handling.

Non-Dribbling, Dribbling Drills

That’s not a mistake, you can improve your handle by not even dribbling the basketball! Drills such as finger tip touches and ball wraps help you get a feel for the ball in your hands. The more comfortable you are with the ball in your hands, the less looking down you will have to do while dribbling, resulting in better court vision. Better vision on the court makes you a better guard. 5-10 minutes of stationary non-dribbling drills to start your workout will go a long way over time.

Use Two Basketballs

Using two basketballs allows you to work both hands simultaneously. Doing this forces players to work on their “off” hand, which many, especially younger players, avoid. Another key reason to utilize two ball dribbling is because it is challenging for most. It requires much more focus, which will make switching to one ball easier. If you can master two ball dribbling drills, you will be terrific with the ball in your hands.

Former NBA guard Jay Williams showing a two ball dribbling series at Hoop Group Skills Camp

Former NBA guard Jay Williams showing a two ball dribbling series at Hoop Group Skills Camp

Practice Full Court

When you finally do switch to one ball drills, use the entire length of the court to work on your change of direction handles. Going full court allows you to simulate game play, and work on your moves at a faster pace. Start at one baseline and use a different change of direction move every two dribbles. The more times you go up and down, the better you will feel when you are playing in live games. There is no such thing as too many reps!

Go Fast

The most common misconception players make when working out is it is bad to mess up; that is completely untrue. Players who don’t push themselves outside their comfort zone are actually preventing themselves from getting better. By going as fast as you can during every drill, you are training yourself to play at that speed, which will make it easier during games. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE A MISTAKE WHILE TRAINING!

Play Live Competition

When it comes to working on your ball handling, the only way to improve is to work on drills by yourself. Playing games will not help your handle get better, but it is a great place to practice all the work you have been putting in; playing in front of cones only goes so far. Use team practices or scrimmages to test your handle in a live setting before you test yourself in real game play. Make sure you put the work in by yourself first, then test yourself in a little live gameplay.

With school seasons just around the corner, players everywhere are working on their games this preseason. These five keys will help make your ball handling workouts the best they can be. While many of them may be simple for older players, they are still crucial for all players looking to improve their dribbling, and everyone can always improve their ball handling.

Bob Hurley Skills Camp 1 (June 29- July 3) – Top Performers

10399982_725488377515696_4807202020355089677_n

Hoop Group Skills Camp was proud to host Hall of Fame Coach Bob Hurley’s Camp from June 29 – July 3. From the opening whistle of camp the play on the court, in both games and stations was intense.

In addition to Coach Hurley’s instruction, which alone would be priceless to any aspiring scholastic and collegiate player, campers were lectured on shooting from Hall of Fame coach Herb Magee and on ball handling from St. Thomas Aquinas College head coach Tobin Anderson.

And while every camper appeared to take something away from the lectures and drills and incorporate that new found knowledge into their game, the following players are just a handful of those who enjoyed a very successful week at camp.

 BOB HURLEY CAMP PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

SAMAR ABDULLAH
On the court he was solid in all facets of his game. From the beginning of the week he demonstrated that intangible of being a team leader and it showed in his play.

RASHAWN BATTLE
A very physical player, Battle proved effective on both the offensive and defensive glass and seemed to always find a way to get open in the post for easy baskets.

DOM BIANCARDI
One of the best defensive guards in the SEC Division, Biancardi seemed to always disrupt the play whether his man had the ball or not. On offense, when it was necessary he was able to score.

ZEKE BLAUNER
Dominated with a long-range jumper all week. He also exhibited excellent use of both hands with the ball and a very high basketball IQ.

MITCHELL BLOOM
Cutting hard to the basket, knocking down jumpers and making the extra pass for wide open teammates were some of the things Bloom did all week to earn a spot on this list.

10464013_725699830827884_5874895596848165132_n

DERECK BOULDEN
Tough guard, Boulden appears to be a student of the game and even though he plays physical, he also has a touch of finesse.

LIAM CASSIDY
In one of the most competitive weeks of the summer, Mr. Cassidy walked away on the final day with the MVP award in the Big East division. Liam earned the award with not only his talents but his work ethnic throughout the week and his feel for the game. He knew exactly when the right time to get his teammates involved and when to hunt his own shot. Looking forward to seeing this young man on the high school stage.

BEN BRANIGAN
Described as a “coach’s dream” this week at camp, Branigan worked hard and steadily improved every day of camp.

LUKE BULSTER
An unselfish player, he was always looking to make not only the extra pass but the smart pass. Also knew when it was his turn to put the ball in the basket.

HUNTER CLARK
A forward who is just getting comfortable playing in the paint, he uses his length to his advantage on defense by blocking and altering shots. Clark’s dribbling skills improved throughout camp and he seemed very confident in his ability. He was named the SEC Division’s MIP.

10433295_726010350796832_2718275842989523145_n

 TYLER COAN
A solid ball handler, Coan was highlighted as a key playmaker for his team this week. He was also a very high-intensity player on defense

LOGAN CRIMMINS
From day one he took on the role as his team’s most physical player and it showed as he fearlessly took the ball to the hole on numerous occasions.

KHARI CROMMARTY
Hard worker who seemed very motivated to improve. Sprinted the floor to allow for easy baskets and was consistently looking to make hustle plays on defense.

LIAM CURLY
Aside from his work-ethic, Curly was strong when handling the ball and always seemed to know what to do when he had it.

AJ DANA
Dana’s skill set seemed well developed when he arrived at camp and thanks to his size and intelligence, it improved daily at camp.

GRANT DEL VECCHIO

When it seemed his team need a big basket or a turnover in the clutch situations, Del Vecchio tended to be the player his teammates turned to, earning him a spot on this list.

LEGEND DOMINGUEZ
A true point guard with excellent floor vision. Dominguez has ability to finish with both hands and can hit the pull-up jump shot. Also a great on-ball defender

JAHI DWYER
His leadership skills came through on the court and he lead by example as he seemingly found crafty ways to the rim when his team needed a basket. There was no quit in Dwyer all week and he was always working to get better.

 TYREE DWYER
Joining his brother Jahi on the list, Tyree brought a game to the table that was all his own. A great dribble penetrator, he was adapt at playing both full and half court and possessed a dangerous mid-range jumper.

 EMILIO FIERRO
Taking shots when you are open is easy, hitting them what seemed like every time is why Fierro is listed here.

 RASHAWN FREDERICKS
A power player with a knack for rebounding and making big plays, Fredericks saved his best for last as he earned the NBA Division’s All-Star Game MVP award.

 ALONZO FRINK
Good footwork near the basket helped Frink appear quicker than most defenders. When he stepped out of the paint he was able to hit his jumpers, which made he more difficult to defend.

LIAM GALLAGHER
Using his strength and size, Gallagher was a beast on both the offensive and defensive boards and worked hard all week to improve his skill set in the paint.

CB GARRETT
His presence on the glass and scoring second-chance points was a key for his team throughout the week. According to many coaches, he was his team’s most improved player over the course of the week.

EVAN GAUGER
His week at camp was highlighted by his above-average play at point guard. Distributing the ball and making sure his teammates knew where to be on the floor really helped Gauger be among the week’s top players.

 SANTINO GEORGIO
As a player Georgio knows only one way to get up and down the floor, to run. His high motor and amazing ball handling skills where highlighted by his coach and his dedication to waking early and working hard earned him honors as the SEC Division’s Early Bird Workout Star.

10501918_724544060943461_8408260562631205852_n

GAVIN GOLICK
Was able to score from anywhere on the floor and even though he came into camp with a nice shooting form, he worked hard this camp to improve on that with the effort he put forth in stations and games.

 ZACH GORDON
He is always trying to learn and improve his game. He has improved greatly on his ball handling and his decision making since the start of camp. He is a solid defender and leader.

ELIJAH HARDEN
Elijah is a talented player who showcased a tremendous upside with the strides he made this week. His hard work in stations paid off with ball handling and shooting success in games.

 UNIQUE HARRIS
Coachable player who never takes a play off. He handled the ball well and was able to score the basketball with quick moves to the basket and a solid jumper.

 ANDREW HECK
An all-around great offensive player. He has extended range and is able to attack the rim. Heck used those offensive skills, along with a hawkish defensive style, to win the Big East Division’s 1-on-1 Tournament.

 JORDAN HECK
Played point guard all week and lead his undefeated team in transition by completing many full court passes and even in the half-court set. He had some outstandingly strong moves to the rim with spinning finishes. Lead the team in assists and had to defend the opponents best guard.

ISAAC HOUSE
Running the floor hard, setting solid picks and making the smart pass all combined to highlight House’s skill set this week. Almost always made the right basketball play.

JACOB INSLER

Just because you come to camp with a solid shot doesn’t mean you just don’t work. In addition to performing in stations and games, Insler could always be found at a basket during free time just getting up the extra shots necessary to polish his shooting form.

 TYRESE JENKINS
A very versatile player, he can handle and shoot the ball and is an excellent passer. Jenkins is an outstanding shot blocker and offensive rebounder.

 LUIS KING
Receptive to instruction from coaches all week. An all-around great kid who has a tremendous upside due to the skills he already has and the work is willing to put in to develop them.

 SCOTT KUHN
He is an extremely hard worker who made each day’s Early Bird Workouts. A serious student of the game who has the ability to score in multiple ways

 LUKE LENIHAN
Possessed one of the purest jump shots in camp, extremely coachable and talented. When the ball was in Lenihan’s hands his coach never doubted the shot was going in the basket.

SAM MACMILLAN

The improvement in his game from last summer was undeniable. His skill set has started to round into form and he capped his week with an all-star spot in the SEC Division.

 MIKE MAHON
A great team player and very easy to coach.  He finds the open spots on the floor and is always ready to catch and shoot.

ELIA MALARA
Big man with great ball handling skills. He cleans up the glass on offense and defense. He is also great at running the floor and making the extra pass.

 WILL MICHAELS
A hardworking player who recognized his weaknesses and each day improved dramatically. By the end of camp Michaels was covering the opponent’s best player and was the cornerstone of his team’s zone defense.

TIMOTHY MORAN
Like many others on the list, Moran’s work ethic helped separate him from other campers. A very smart player who always knew where to be on the court, when Moran did get the ball his shot was one of the most accurate on his team.

BILLY MURPHY
A versatile offensive threat with an accurate 3-point shot and a great drop step. Runs the floor hard and is an active defender.

PAT O’GORMAN
A dangerous shooter from mid to long-range, O’Gorman was his team’s most productive 3-point shooter. A very  coachable kid who wants to keep working on his game.

 DILLON OLSEN
Demonstrated good ball handling skills and a polished shooting touch while being a very vocal leader for his team all week.

DREW PELHAM

A wing player who is always looking to get his teammates open. Pelham always looks to make the extra pass and always finds the open man. His quickness allows him to get out on the break quickly and help finish the play.

ROBBIE PETERSEN
The strength of Petersen’s game was that it brought out the best in the rest of his teammates. While he was solid in every facet of the game, his strength was setting the key screen and making the extra pass to the open man.

 TIM PETERSEN
Stepping up the intensity at both ends to help start fast breaks and hitting buckets. Exhibited excellent ball handling with his weak hand during the through the legs dribbling drill.

PAT REILY
An important presence on the boards on both ends of the floor, Reily seemed to be the player grabbing all the big rebounds when his team needed them.

ISAIAH SANTIAGO
One of, if not the, hardest workers in camp. Santiago brought a high motor and always seemed to make the right basketball play. He drove the lane well and appeared to have a solid ability to handle and finish with both hands.

 BRADY SHEA
Explosive player who runs the floor very well for a big man. Rebounds well and boxed out every player in the SEC. Brought a ton of momentum running the floor.

 RYAN SIMON
A quick guard with a high motor, Simon played hard on both ends of the floor and showcased the ability to drive to the basket and shoot from long-range. Throughout the week he seemed to relish the pressure situations.

 JORDAN STEWARD
Big man constantly battling on the boards at both ends. Made plays all week long when his team needed them to contribute to his individual and team success.

 TYLER STRONG
A physically strong player, Young complimented his strength with a great jump shot and a solid ability to pass.

 RAZEYAH SURRELL
Very athletic and has a ton of raw potential. There wasn’t a drill, game or lecture where he appeared to take off which clearly demonstrated his dedication to take his game to the next level. Tremendous upside.

BEN TAREK-KAMINKER

Eager to be coached and wants to improve on his skills in and out of games. At the point he controlled the tempo of the game and was clearly the class at that position in the SEC Division as he earned the Floor General Award after a solid week.

ANTHONY THAM
A very intense player who was not afraid to be physical when it was called for. His attitude seemed infectious and clearly set the tone for his team this week. Due to his hard work, Tham was recognized with the Big East Division’s Mr. Hustle Award.

 DOMINIQUE THAM
Tham was clearly the “Mr. Do It All” of camp. He can handle full court, run the floor, shoot from the wing, pass inside and post up. If that wasn’t enough he also dominates the glass at both ends and lead his team in points, rebounds and blocks on his way to being named the NBA Division’s MVP. Tham was also the winner of the NBA Division’s 1-on-1 Tournament.

 GUS THOMPSON
Had a very high court awareness and used it to help facilitate his team’s offense. Has a nice fake out move when driving to the basket for a layup and this led to him being among his team’s leading scorers.

 MICHAEL TUFFEY
Had one of the most successful weeks of camp as he copped the ACC Division’s MIP and Early Bird Workout Star Awards. A Great floor general who was adapt at setting up plays for his teammates, Tuffey also shot the ball very well at camp.

 GEORGE VISCONTI
Showed great shooting touch throughout the week. Moved up from the Big East Division to the NBA and showed he is more than capable in the older group

 MARCUS VON RECKLINGHAUSEN
A wing player who uses his quickness to get to the basket with ease. His dribbling skills allow him to play multiple positions on the court. On defense, he is always going in the paint for rebounds.

ZACH WARECH
His very high basketball IQ and unselfishness with the ball were two of the qualities which led to his winning the Big East Division’s Floor General Award. He also demonstrated a very quick release while possessing one of the most consistent jumpers in camp.

CHRISTIAN WISE
Was sneaky fast on the court as he displayed great speed when fast break opportunities arose. His propensity to play hard every second on the floor helped to earn him the NBA Division’s Mr. Hustle Award.

These names above are only a handful of those who came and improved there basketball skills last week at Hoop Group Skills Bob Hurley Camp. If you missed last week, or want to come back later this summer, Coach Hurley’s second camp will be held from August 17-21. To register for that camp and all other Hoop Group Skills Camps click here.

What is Skills Camp All About?

Skills Director Ryan Finch and members of Team Glory (D.C.) – Noah Charles, Zion Harmon, Dakari Bradford and Jenkins Dormu – take some time to discuss the highlights of the first few weeks of camp up at Hoop Group Skills Camp in the Poconos. Click the video below to see what they had to say.

finch glory

Space is still available for our boys camps AND girls camps. Please call the main office (570-992-6343) for any additional questions or concerns.

YOUR ONLY COMPETITION IS YOURSELF