The Importance of Ball Handling in Basketball

After giving up an easy layup, the scoring team runs back lethargically to get their defense into position. The ball is quickly inbounded to the point guard and rolls down the court, before being snatched by the floor general at the tempo of a slow crawl. Should the point guard push to take advantage of a temporary lapse in the defense, or is this lapse a decoy designed for a quick snare? Regardless of the decision, the fate of the play lies in the tempo of the primary ball handler. And the tempo, of course, is dictated by the ball-handling itself.

The Subtleties of Ball-Handling

Often times, ball-handling drills are emphasized but the theory behind why is neglected. One reason for this is that ball-handling is quite abroad category; ball-handling can encompass dribbling, catching the ball, releasing it for a pass, or for flashy purposes to dupe the opponent.  Fundamentally, the main reasons that we work on our ball-handling are to build strength in our hands and to increase hand/eye coordination. These drills also keep the muscles in our hands loose, which helps prevent cramping up in late game situations.  In our quest to get better at basketball, improving in this area will also improve other areas of our game — since hand/eye coordination lends itself to so many facets.

Dribbling

Once we have enhanced the strength in our hands, we move on to one of (if not the most) important factors of ball-handling: dribbling. Obviously, having sound dribbling skills is crucial to a ball-handler’s success. Dribbling allows us to artfully move around our opponent — setting up separation and space to either create our own shot or to set up a play for a teammate.  Our dribbling skills also help us dictate the flow of the game. With dexterous ball-handling, we have the ability to change our pace multiple times when attacking the basket. Introductory handling drills are stressed to be of paramount importance in all basketball training programs.

Inspiration for Ball-Handling

When we look at teams such as the Golden State Warriors or the San Antonio Spurs, we witness a beautifully constructed system that is similar to a musical orchestra. The source of this soundness lies in a team that has multiple playmakers, and thus, multiple ball-handlers.  The fact is, the game of basketball has evolved quite a bit over the recent years. No longer do all of the ball-handling duties lie in a single point-guard or floor general on a team. Instead, we are witnessing the trend of a positionless game where even centers and forwards will push the ball up the floor to create plays with their ball-handling skills.

Quite simply, ball-handling is important because of versatility. And versatility is an excellent trait to have in our continually evolving game. These skills can be improved at a basketball academy such as Core Skills Training, where players will work on a variety of offensive skills alongside ball-handling.

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