Have you ever watched Austin Rivers play basketball? In case you don’t know who he is, he’s the new freshmen recruit at Duke under Coach K, and he’s the son of Doc Rivers. But even more than that…
He came out of high school with a lot of hype. Possibly more hype behind his name than maybe any other college basketball player in the last several years. But what’s interesting, is that he’s not even the best guard on the Duke team. The best guard is Seth Curry. Though Rivers and Curry have similar stats, there is a big difference in the way they play.
Curry is a junior with a lot of college experience. He plays the game at his own speed, takes good shots, and finishes drives really well. Rivers, on the other hand, is a freshmen who’s experience is mostly dominating against amateurs, and he has a tendency to dribble too much and play too much one-on-one. That being said, it does get him to the free throw often which is helping his scoring average.
I’m sure in a couple of years, Rivers will be phenomenal and will have improved his entire game. But, what would have happened had he come to Duke better prepared? All he needed was one bit of advice: quit dribbling so much!
I’m sure he played a lot of one-on-one growing up and that’s a great way to work on your game. But it’s also a way to get into a bad habit of over-dribbling and taking way too many dribbles before putting up a shot.
So, here’s a little advice….. Don’t’ do that. It’s a bad habit, and it’s probably why Rivers could be seen as sort of a ball hog.
Now, I’m sure Coach K is telling him every day to work on this so he’s bound to get better. But, in order to keep you from forming this same bad habit, let me let you in on a little secret that I tell my players.
“Get off the dribble, and on the pass.”
Your team becomes so much more dangerous every time you swing the ball around, because when you force the defense to continue to change positions, you get better looks at the basket and better shots.
There’s a great drill called “3 on 3 with 3.” But you can also play “1 on 1 with 3.” And it’s basically what the name says it is. You play 3 on 3 (or 1 on 1) but you only get three dribbles to either pass or shoot. To make it even more effective, you can change it to two dribbles.
Doing this often will quickly teach you how to score and penetrate, without over-dribbling and stagnating your team’s offense. If you’re a coach, give it a try. If you’re a player, try it the next time your playing pick-up.
Having said this, I have to admit that Rivers has a right-to-left crossover as good as anyone. Check him out doing a sweet crossover against Ohio State: