Pete Maravich Dribbling Drills
One of the greatest, most creative, and offensively talented players in basketball history was Peter Press Maravich, who was tagged in high school with the nickname “Pistol Pete” because of his deadly shooting accuracy. Maravich would dazzle the crowd every time he stepped on the court with his Harlem Globetrotter-like dribbling and his ability to make an accurate behind-the-back pass without even looking. He had so many unique and creative moves that he rarely duplicated the same move twice. He could dribble past one defender with some sweet killer crossover combo, then take a fade-away jump shot with two new defenders in his face and hit nothing but net. He was that good.
The court was his playground and game night was “The Pete Maravich Show.”The crowd loved coming out to watch him because they knew that on any given night, Maravich was capable of breaking some type of record. He set many NCAA records, several SEC records, and countless school records. He led the NCAA in scoring three times (he scored 3,667 points during his college career) and averaged 44.2 points per game while playing at LSU for only 3 years. As a pro, Maravich was a four-time NBA All-Star, and led the NBA in scoring during the ’77 season, averaging 31.1 points per game.
If you’ve never seen Pete Maravich, you need to check out some of his highlights on YouTube. He stood out with not only with his amazing handles, but he was also known for his floppy gray socks and his floppy brown hair. Maravich was so amazing with his handles, that there is now a pretty popular ball handling sequence named after him called the “Maravich Drills.”
There were dozens of drills that Maravich practiced every day, and some were pretty advanced. But there were 9 that he considered the most important when it came to developing coordination, quickness, and strength. And he believed these 9 should be learned first.
So, my gift to you today is the list of 9 drills known as the Maravich Drills and my challenge to you is to practice these every day for one month. I can’t imagine the entire sequence taking longer than 5 minutes so maybe do it before school each morning. Or after school. Just do it! Have no excuse. No matter how tired you are or how little energy you have, do each one of these 10 times every day for a month! You think you’d be a better dribbler if you did these every morning before school? I dare you to give it a try!
1. Ball Slaps
Holding the ball in front of your chest, slap it as you move it from hand to hand. It is an excellent way to warm up your hands and help you get a good feel for the ball.
Holding the ball in your left hand, use all five fingers to pinch it toward your right. The ball will squirt back and forth from one hand to another. This is a great wrist-strengthening exercise.
Hold the ball over your head with your arms fully stretched out. Tap the ball back and forth between your fingertips. As you get better, start moving your arms up and down at a slow, steady pace.
Circle the ball around your head, waist and each leg. Do one at a time, and then as you get better, try doing them in a row (head, waist, legs, waist, head, waist…..Etc.). Try to keep your head up while doing these because it will teach you to handle the ball by “feel.”
5. Figure 8 Dribbles
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and dribble the ball in and out of your legs in a figure 8 pattern.
6. Straddle Flip
Hold the ball between your legs, with your left hand in front and right hand in back. Without bouncing the ball, quickly switch the position of your hands, and repeat. Start slow and slowly get quicker at this drill.
7. One-Hand Dribbles
Dribble the ball around your right foot with your right hand. Then use your left-hand and go around your left foot. As you get better, try using your right hand as you go around your left foot. And vice-versa. And work on keeping your head up and your eyes off the ball.
8. Figure 8
Hold the ball at knee level. Stand with your legs apart. Pass the ball in and out of your legs in a figure-8 pattern.
9. Spider Dribble
Stand with your legs apart. Bounce the ball in front of your legs once with your left hand, and once with your right hand. Reach your left hand behind and through your legs to bounce the ball, and then do the same thing with your right hand. Repeat quickly.
These drills helped Maravich develop coordination and quickness. He practiced them relentlessly until the ball felt like it was a part of his body. As he got better, he worked on more advanced drills like dribbling on rocks and grass during a rain storm or passing the ball through his legs and hitting a specific target. Some say he might have been a little obsessed. Others say he was a show-off. Regardless, there was no one like him back in those days.