Homework Hoops Footwork and Ball Handling This tool’s goal is to introduce some intricacies of basketball footwork that is associated with ball handling. All players, no matter what position, can benefit from break down and working on skills that seem small and significant. To be brief, these skills will help you in gaining an edge over the defense because y ou will be better equipped with footwork coordination along with your hand-eye coordination. What will be most beneficial is to continue to do it over and over. Repetition is key. As you perform these moves, it is encouraged to look at your feet when you start learning a move to truly get your mind in coordination with your feet and build foot placement (body control). As you progress, you can lift your eyes up to build that skill. Click the links for video demonstrations and study the moves and explanations to perform them yourself. Let’s start. FOOTWORK START You will need a ball and a slab of concrete, and this video will show you how to make a footwork station. Your footwork station does not need a basketball goal. But, if you want to put it near your goal, It’d be best-utilized somewhere at 15ft-24ft away from the goal (similar to FT line & 3pt line). With your goal, you can greatly improve your off-dribble shooting. POCKETS Dribbling the ball to your side, and trying to keep your hand on the side of the ball, not under. This move may feel awkward, some old-school people may call it a “carry”, yet it will help you to build skill in manipulating the ball how you want. Once you gain proficiency, it will help in timing, quickness, and deception in your dribble moves. Footwork Fundamentals DROPS This move simulates the stance in which you take every time you start a dribble drive. The faster you rep it, the more explosive you will become. Keep low and explosive, work on varying your split stance lengths, as well as going left and right. This is a great method for improving your hesitation abilities and an explosive first step. POCKET+DROP This is an underrated footwork/handle skill used by all good players. Working on this stance and footwork will increase your explosiveness. This again simulates how we attack with our dribble in low and athletic stance. Getting slightly wider than your defender, you have a better chance of going by your defender, while at a good angle. Test your speed on how fast you can quickly replace your feet back into the station, this will increase your footwork proficiency and explosiveness. Expansion POCKET+CROSS This move is a great handling warm-up. Great for post player improving their hand speed. This is relatively easy, so rep this fast. Feet are stationary for now. POCKET+TWEEN More difficulty added with this move. Guards and posts can improve hand speed, dribbling speed, and ball manipulation. Start slow, and increase speed. Varying your speed, ex. going from fast to slow, then back to fast will help with rhythm and handling skills. POCKET+BEHIND Most difficult variation of the pocket drills. Rhythm is more important than speed as you begin. A good technique to follow is aiming to dribble the ball right down behind you, almost under your butt and repeat. DROP+POCKET+CROSS Footwork accountability is focused on here. Stay explosive but also be able to maintain the correct footwork and being able to control your feet throughout the move, while going left and right. The ‘Drop+Pocket’ added to the basic cross and other moves most definitely will improve your deceptive factor in your moves. If you’ve heard the term “shifty-ness”, the pocket+drop is big to help improve your shiftiness and deceptive-ness while dribbling. DROP+POCKET+SNATCH Still increasing our deception and shiftiness. You are encouraged to look down at your feet to help with coordination and being accountable for the limited space given for the footwork, as so in all of these moves. Here, after you’ve repped a lot, you can always incorporate a shot or shot fake, and you are encouraged to do that with a lot of these moves. DROP+POCKET+BEHIND The same still applies to this move as other drop+pocket moves. After repping a lot, feel free to incorporate a move after this one, maybe a shot fake, maybe a hesitation, or maybe attack the same direction with a hard pound dribble, or in the opposite direction. DROP-POCKET+STEP+TWEEN This move can be really lethal to quickly change direction while blowing by your defender. The between keeps the ball protected while also producing an explosive move. In this demonstration, I did a poor job of being accountable for my foot placement. You can work on having the footwork on top of the corners and inside the square. POUND+DROP+PUNCH This move introduces footwork movement from approaching the footwork station, particularly hesitation skill. In turn, this move is becoming more game-like as you get to cover more space. Focusing on footwork placement is still important. This will also help develop a more effective first step. POUND+DROP+PUNCH+ACCOUNTABILITY In this video, I am using the same move, although adding an auxiliary move and try to be precise in your footwork placement to expand your skill. Here I added a shot or shotfake. Then, I added more footwork accountability by trying to retreat dribble back into the correct footwork placement, here I used a behind the back dribble. Variation & Imagination APPROACH VARIATIONS Practice approaching the station (or box), which is connected with the precise footwork required when using a dribble move in an exchange to beat a defender. The variation here is boundless, and you can build skill in all different moves listed here or any you can imagine. Although, finding one or two moves to rep heavily will make the quickest translation into your game. The clips in this video only demonstrate a few moves that will make your offense more difficult to guard. --By imagination or visualization of the game and its situations, you can work on any variation of a ball-handling move you might think can benefit your play. Watching and looking at game-film clips and snapshots of your favorite top ballplayers’ moves will give you inspiration. Also, watch your own game-film and film yourself to find skills an intricacies in which to improve upon. (For starters, think about how you can add a shot fake or foot-fake (jab step) in.) Methods Players should rep each move here at least 50-100+ times before moving to the next one. Although, to refine any skill, follow the “A Thousand-Time Rule.” :1000x good repetitions = Good 2000x good repetitions = Advanced 3000x good repetitions = Mastery Also, add more pressure to yourself to perform the skills with increasing difficulty. Such as, how many reps can you perform in a minute? Or, how many can I perform in a row without error, whether timed or not. Keep track of your performance, and progress through raising difficulty to increasingly develop your ability.