Types of Dribbles in Basketball

Man dribbling basketball against defenders

Sharpening your ball-handling skills and dribbling fundamentals gives you a decided advantage over any defensive player. It is important to learn which type of dribble to use in a given situation. Some types of dribbles are designed to advance the ball quickly up the court, while others allow you to go past your defender. With all types of dribbles it is important to keep your head up so that you can see teammates when they have scoring opportunities.

High Bounce

The high dribble is used when you are trying to move the ball up the court very quickly. Typically, you will see high dribbles after steals and during fast-break opportunities. To execute a high dribble, keep you torso erect and push the top of the ball forward, well ahead of your body. The bounce of the ball should reach anywhere from between your upper thigh to slightly above your waist.

Change of Pace

A change of pace dribble is used to cause your defender to lose his balance as you move the ball forward with a high dribble. The change of pace occurs when you slow your momentum moving the ball forward and relax your torso. The defender, thinking you are slowing down, goes back on his heels. You rapidly accelerate past him.


If your defender is making a strong attempt to prevent you from going right or left, using a crossover dribble can be effective. For example, if your defender is trying to prevent you from going to your right, you would perform a crossover dribble to your left. To do so, flick the ball across your body from your right hand to your left hand, while simultaneously moving your right foot across your body to your left. It is important to keep your body low; your dribble should be no higher than your knees. Accelerate past your defender by pushing off with your left foot.

Between the Legs

The between the legs dribble is used to go past a defender who is overplaying you. If you are going left, begin with rapid low dribbles with your right hand. Take a deep step forward with your left foot and flick the ball through your legs to your left hand. Keep your body low as you move forward to your left.

Behind the Back

If you want to change directions while keeping a good view of the entire court, a behind the back dribble can be effective. If you want to move to your left, begin dribbling with your right hand. To execute this dribble you need to place your hand on the side of the ball. Step forward with your left foot while simultaneously wrapping the ball behind your back, across the back of your thighs, and flick the ball toward your left hand. Be sure to plant your right foot before stepping forward with your left foot.