Great players and exceptional ball handlers like Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Steph Curry can do more than just dribble the basketball well. These players have the ability to change speed, pace, and direction with the ball and make decisions in a matter of seconds. This explosive change of speed, from slow to fast, allows a great offensive player to keep their defender off balance. When the defensive player is uncertain of what the offense will do, this creates an advantage for the ball handler, making them a significant scoring threat.
Many players, especially those younger and less experienced, dribble the basketball at the same speed all of the time. By doing this, the player is predictable and too easy for the defense to guard. This ball handling basketball drill will allow the player to work on multiple combination moves, with the primary focus on being able to change significantly speed and pace. This shift of speed will really concentrate on setting up the defender and then blowing by them.
Drill Name: Slow to Fast Freestyle Basketball Dribbling Drill
Equipment Needed: 1 basketball.
Similar Drills and Resources
- Slow to Fast Behind the Back Crossover Basketball Dribbling Drill
- Slow to Fast Crossover Between the Legs Basketball Dribbling Drill
- Slow to Fast Between the Legs Behind the Back Basketball Dribbling Drill
Goals of the Drill
- Work on ball handling and being able to change pace from slow to fast.
- To increase control and explosiveness with the basketball.
- Work on selling different dribble moves.
- Encourage players to stay in a low athletic stance throughout the basketball drill.
- Make sure players keep their eyes up to see the whole court and to help sell the move.
- Players need to have a significant change of speed from the first dribble move to the second. For example, on a scale of 1-10, going from a speed of 3 to 10 is optimal.
- Challenge players to be creative with their basketball dribbling moves. They should try to avoid doing two of the same ball-handling moves in a row.
- Have players focus on the reception of the ball from the first (slow) move into the second (fast) move. The player should have their fingers pointing down toward the floor. Make sure the ball is received cleanly from one hand to the other.
- The change from slow to fast will set up the defender, as they will relax on the first move, and then the offensive player can accelerate by them on the second move.
Basketball Drill Instructions
- The player will start in an athletic stance and begin dribbling the basketball with their right hand.
- After a couple of stationary dribbles, they will execute any dribble move (crossover, behind the back, between the legs, etc.) at a slow speed.
- As soon as the player completes the first dribble move, they will quickly snap the basketball back into their second move, drastically increasing the speed.
- The player has the choice of moves to execute for each sequence. The only rule is they can’t do the same ball handling move twice in a row.
- To emphasize the slow to fast move, the player can take a couple of stationary dribbles between each double move.
- The player will continue to make the slow to fast stationary dribble moves for the desired amount of time or repetitions.
- After the desired amount of time or reps, switch which hand the basketball begins in.
Recommended Time, Scoring, and Repetitions
- The recommended time for this ball handling basketball drill will be a total of 60 seconds. Players will start with the basketball in one hand and complete the slow to fast moves for 30 seconds. The player can take a brief break before beginning with the opposite hand, completing the slow to fast ball-handling moves for another 30 seconds.
- You can add or reduce time to 30 seconds or have the players complete a specific number of repetitions.
- If the players struggle with the creativity of the dribbling moves, you can modify the drill by telling them what sequence of slow to fast dribble moves to execute.
- If the player is advanced, you can have them take 1-2 steps forward with each slow to fast ball handling move. This will allow them to visualize as though they are setting up the defender slowly with the first move and then exploding by them with the second move.
Slow to Fast Freestyle Basketball Dribbling Drill Conclusion
The game of basketball is dynamic, with players constantly changing speed and direction. This basketball drill will help players build confidence to make dribble moves that will allow them to change pace with the ball in their hands effectively. By setting up the first dribble move slow, the offensive player will lure the defense to relax. Once the defense relaxes, the player can accelerate into their second dribble move and explode by the defender.
Whether it’s in team practice, on the sideline in the gym, or outside at the park, players can use any space to improve their game. This slow to fast freestyle dribbling drill will help players work on their change of speed with the basketball. Once a player has the confidence and skill to change pace effectively with the dribble, they will be able to attack and score out of isolation opportunities.