If we were to pick only one skill for young players to work on in the gym, it would be ball handling. Or dribbling, depending on your definition – but we can address the difference later. But one thing is for sure: the best way to speed up the development (and confidence) of young athletes is for them to be comfortable with the ball.
When a young player is comfortable with the ball in their hands, they establish a level of independence. They can now create success for themselves, whether it’s dribbling around a defender or attacking the basket. And they can now create success for others, drawing defenders away to open up shots for teammates.
The Maravich Series – named after “Pistol” Pete Maravich, a Hall of Famer and one of the original basketball greats – is the staple ball handling drill. Easily done as a warm-up, on the sidelines between drills, or at home, this series does wonders to improve dexterity and comfortability with the ball.

Maravich Series

DESCRIPTIONEach player begins with a ball in their hands – including a coach who will be the “leader”. For large groups, have players stand in a circle with the leader in the middle. Progress through the actions, gradually increasing in difficulty while gauging the ability of players. Aim to spend 15-30 seconds on each action. Remember to use both hands and/or both directions when perform actions, which may include but are not limited to:
  •  ball slaps, finger taps (up and down), around the head-waist-legs, around one-leg, alternating legs, figure 8’s, low dribbles, pound dribbles, windshield wipers, walk the dog, crossovers, between the legs, behind the back
SKILL FOCUSBall Handling, Dribbling, Coordination
AGE (STAGE)8+ (Learn-to-Train)
EQUIPMENT1 basketball per player
VARIATION:
MAKE YOUR OWN
The beauty of stationary ball handling is that it allows so much room for creativity. Experiment with other actions that may benefit your players (try to have a specific goal in mind) or have your players come up with their own!

Continue reading Drill: Maravich Series
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