Go Back to the Home Page.
Youth Basketball Training School for Kids Ages 6-18
Go Back to the Home Page.


Key Concepts That Create Excellent Basketball Players

Advantage Basketball Camps drills are designed to give players exceptional ball control from the front, back, and sides of a basketball. They allow players to execute lighting-fast direction-changing moves with the ball low to the ground.

Here are some of the key concepts that are taught at Advantage Basketball Camps. When students understand and master these skills, they are truly on the road to excellence and success in their basketball careers.

Topping the Basketball

Most young players have been bouncing a basketball up and down from the top of the ball for many years. This is called “topping the basketball”. Dribbling a ball from the top is firmly locked into their muscle memory. This is the first thing that new campers need to change. Dribbling on top of a basketball works when moving in a straight line. Quick moves must be executed with your hand on the front, back, or side of the basketball.

Muscle Memory

The brain and body have an ability to know where its various parts are located spatially. For example, if you close your eyes and move your hands or legs around, your brain can still interpret where the body parts are without seeing them. This sense of body positioning comes from “stretch receptors” or “proprioceptors”, nerve endings throughout the body that communicate movement and location information to the brain. This kinesthetic ability is also knows as “proprioception”. The brain analyzes the information, and provides a clear sense of the body’s orientation and/or movement.

Through repetitive of a particular movement – practice – the body and brain become so familiar with that movement, that they together begin to “remember” the move without conscious intervention. In other words, after sufficient drilling, a player is able to perform a move without even having to think about it and each of the steps involved. The player can then execute high-level moves with lightning quickness while simultaneously planning their strategy and next move. This ability of the body to remember moves without conscious effort is called “muscle memory”. Each of us has some experience with muscle memory: typing, driving, even eating all involve unconsiously coordinating the movement of body parts. Without muscle memory, all basketball players would have to watch and concsiously control every bounce of the basketball with every dribble.

Building Blocks

Building block drills are beginning drills that develop and lock basic skills into the player’s muscle memory. They are the foundation that all other drills and moves build upon. A strong foundation is absolutely essential to executing higher-level moves. Repetitive drilling of a specific move eventually allows a player to perform that move without conscious effort.


Quickness is different than simply being able to run fast. Anyone can learn to make a lightning-quick direction change on their defender. Players learn when to apply quickness, too. If the player executes this move in the backcourt, they may blow past their defender, but only momentarily. The defender will quickly catch up. Executing a quick move in the frontcourt, however, creates the space needed to get the shot off – two dribbles and up for the lay in or dish to the post – and does not leave the defender time to recover.


All of our moves are designed to get our defender off balance and then blow by them. We want to get the defenders weight going one way while we are going the other way. Fake one way go the other way. This is often called show and go.

Siding the Ball

Controlling the ball from the sides is an extremely important skill to develop. Siding the ball is like “palming” a ball except from the side. Centrifugal force, rather than grip, will keep the ball in the player’s hand. In higher-level moves, the arm can be used to pin the ball. Siding the ball allows the player to dramatically “sell a direction” or “fake”, and then instantly move in a different direction. This is also called “show and go” and results from an ability to contol the ball from the sides.

Drop Step

The drop step is a fundamental defensive move. The defender will try to send the offensive play in one direction. If the offensive player is nice enough to go that direction, then the defender will stay low and slide with the offensive player. However if the offensive player goes the other direction the defender will have to execute a drop step and then slide the new direction. This is accomplished by the defender picking up their lead foot (also called power foot or top foot) and making a big backwards drop step.


This essential move is where the ball is bounced (at a 45-degree angle) from one hand to the other while moving quickly forward, bent over (also at a 45-degree angle), into a defender on the side with the empty hand. This keeps the ball away from the defender and, when performed quickly, the defender is usually left off-balance, ensuring the offensive player room to move around him to shoot, pass, or drive the lane. Practice, footwork, balance, and the ability to execute the move without looking down at the ball – muscle memory – are essential.

Back to Advantage Basketball Camps coaching methods. Or, take a look at the camp schedule, then register for a session now – space is going fast!


Advantage Basketball Camps
Lynnwood, WA
Phone: 425-279-0199

Copyright 2002 - , Advantage Basketball Camps - All rights reserved.

Website design, hosting and maintenance by New Tech Web, Inc.