As the game of basketball has progressed, the difficulty and the variety of offensive moves has increased. There was a time when a between the legs dribble was revolutionary. Now it is something you see all the time.
The first time a player dribbled between their legs in a game the spectators heads probably exploded. Now most offensive possessions include a between the legs dribble.
But beyond the showmanship of the between the legs dribble, it actually serves an important function.
Dribbling the ball from one hand to another is one of the more susceptible moments for an offensive player. This is a common situation that leads to steals for the defense. By using the between the legs dribble it allows the offensive player to switch hands while putting an obstacle in the way (your leg) making it harder for the defender to steal the ball.
When To Use The Between The Legs Dribble
The between the legs dribble can be used as either a way to shake a defender off to create space or to move the ball from one hand to another while dribbling to create a better angle for a pass/move. Another way to use the between the legs dribble is to setup a defender for another offensive move, like a crossover.
These situations will usually occur at the top of the key or on the wings. Rarely are between the legs dribbles effective in the post or in high traffic areas. Again, the main goal of the between the legs dribble is to get the ball from the left hand to the right hand safely, or visa versa.
The Between the Legs Dribble in Action
Below you will find a thorough video showing the different ways to use the between the legs dribble. Our goal is to give you insight on how different players use this move differently so that you can see how to use the between the legs dribble more effectively in your game.
Not only does Coach Rock tell you how to do the between the legs dribble, but he also gives several great drills that you can do to improve.
How to Master The Between The Legs Dribble
If you watched the video above you should have a good idea about how to execute the between the legs dribble. Here are some additional tips to make the most out of both practice sessions and games.
High dribbling is susceptible to quick handed defenders. To have an effective between the legs dribble you need to have strong quads and hamstrings that are flexible so that you can get lower than the defender. By keeping your between the legs dribble low the defender will not have the opportunity to steal the ball and will allow you a better chance to blow by them on your way to the basket.
Use It to Setup a Defender
Off the dribble moves are as much about timing and rhythm as they are about the moves themselves. The between the legs dribble is a great dribble to get your body in position and put your defender at an angle that is advantageous.
I like how the between the legs dribble gets your feet active. Be sure to focus on your footwork when doing the dribble and not just the act of putting the ball between your legs. Footwork is just as important as the actual ball handling.
Not a Great Move in Traffic
When you use the between the legs dribble your front leg creates an angle that is different from the crossover. To prove this concept take a basketball and do a crossover. Look at your feet and body right before the crossover dribble. One foot might be slightly in front of the other, but overall your chest and body are in a neutral position allowing you to go either right or left. Now do a between the legs dribble. See how your front foot creates an angle and closes your body off to one direction. If you execute the between the legs dribble and a help defender comes to the side you are dribbling to the ball is very exposed and is often stolen in this position.
While the angle created by the between the legs dribble helps you to avoid your primary defender it makes you very susceptible to the double teamer as your front leg gets in the way and it is hard to execute a quick retreat dribble when you are in such a committed position.
In high traffic situations I recommend using either a crossover or a behind the back dribble as these work better in motion and do not create any angles that make you susceptible to help defenders.