A few weeks ago I was conducting a workout and the coach was present. One of the first things we did was discuss the importance of our dribble placement inside of our foot rather than outside of the foot. As the players began their very basic pound dribble I heard one of the coaches yell,
"DRIBBLE THE BALL LOWER! GET IT BELOW YOUR KNEE!"
I immediately smiled. Because I used to say the same thing.
Pick your favorite perimeter player. Now, close your eyes and try to picture them dribbling the ball up the floor.
I can almost guarantee with 100% certainty that no one envisioned that player running full speed attempting to dribble the basketball below their knee. What you pictured was a player dribbling the ball at or around their hip area.You did that because that is what is natural. Yet, so many coaches instruct their kids to dribble below their knee.
We do this because we simply regurgitate what we have been told ourselves.
Now, I am not saying that dribbling below your knee is wrong. I'm just saying that it is situational. Maybe when splitting a ball screen or escaping pressure. But otherwise, that ball lives at your hip.
When I think about these things, I try to breakdown exactly why that would've ever been taught in the first place. A few weeks back, Micah Lancaster of I'm Possible Training was talking about who the best ball handling of all-time was. Most of us would think Steph, Kyrie, Pistol Pete, etc...
I don't think anyone would initially think of Bob Cousy, but Micah did. And his reasoning was awesome!
When Bob Cousy played, the game was officiated in a way where players had to keep their hand on the top of the basketball
when they dribble (SEE IMAGE). If you watch footage of Cousy, he literally appears to be running full speed while slapping at the basketball...and yet he rarely turned it over. In fact, he was known as the "Houdini of the Hardwood" for his ball handling skills.
Now, think about the way the game is played today. Players are given much more freedom to control and manipulate the ball. Over the years, officials have allowed the ball handlers hand to slide more and more to the side of the ball without calling a carry.
So, the idea of dribbling the ball below your knee isn't wrong, but telling kids that it needs to stay there doesn't make sense.