It’s a breakaway! Your son steals the ball, dribbles down the court, shoots and scores, winning the game, or so you think. Your euphoria is short-lived as the referee waves off the basket. The call is double dribbling, costing your son’s team, the game. Since dribbling is a fundamental skill in basketball, this can be a youth basketball coach’s worst nightmare. Help your child pin this necessary skill down to avoid getting turning over the ball.
Correct Dribbling Form
There are two ways to move a basketball down the court – passing or dribbling. A dribble consists of pushing the basketball up and down using your fingertips on one hand. The double dribble comes into play when a child uses both hands to dribble or dribbles correctly with one hand, stops the dribble and then resumes the dribble again. The ultimate goal of dribbling correctly is to perform this action without looking at the ball and to be able to dribble equally as well with either hand.
Types of Dribbles
As your son watches his favorite NBA player dribble down the court, he most likely wants to emulate his exact moves. Before you teach your son fancy dribbling techniques, make sure he has practiced the fundamental dribble and can perform it with his eyes closed. Introducing different types of dribbles too soon can increase the chances of double dribbling calls in a game. Once your child has the basics down, teach him different types of dribbles depending on the situation. Demonstrate dribbling low to the ground or switching hands if he’s being closely guarded. Practice dribbling while running as fast as you can in breakaway situations or throw in a fancy behind-the-back dribble just for fun.
While most double dribbling calls will not result in a game loss, a penalty is assessed when the ref calls a kid for double dribbling. The penalty always results in the opposing team gaining possession of the ball. As a child dons his first uniform to play on a youth rec team, usually referees let kids have fun and loosely call the game and do not often call double dribble violations. Sometimes the game resembles more of a tackle football game where the basketball spurts out of tiny hands and dog piles occur often. If he is just starting to play, give him plenty of leeway to make double dribbling mistakes while stressing dribbling can be practiced pretty much anytime and anywhere.
Since one of the goals is to teach your child to dribble without looking at the ball, take advantage of a few simple drills that will be both fun and educational. Assign a dribble-as-you-go day where both of you must dribble a ball anytime you go outside including getting the mail, taking out the garbage or walking to a neighbor’s house. Sit cross-legged on the floor and practice dribbling with each hand. Dribble to music. Put on a favorite sport’s song and dribble while the song is playing. Stop the music often, passing to each other whenever the music stops. Resume dribbling when the music starts again.