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
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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