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The Behind-the-Back Dribble: Maintaining Control and Deception

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The Behind-the-Back Dribble: Maintaining Control and Deception


In the high-paced game of basketball, ball-handling skills are essential for maintaining possession and creating scoring opportunities. One flashy yet effective move that stands out is the behind-the-back dribble. This technique isn't just about showing off; it’s a strategic tool used by players like Stephen Curry to keep defenders off-balance and maintain control.

What Is the Behind-the-Back Dribble?

Simply put, the behind-the-back dribble involves transferring the basketball from one hand to the other while moving it behind your back. This move can leave defenders lost in the sauce, providing the ball handler with precious space and time.

Why Use It?

  • Deception: It can easily fool a defender, leading them to think the ball is going in one direction while it ends up in the other.
  • Protection: Shields the ball from reaching defenders, making it harder for them to steal.
  • Style Points: When executed well, it raises the player's cool factor, energizing both the team and the crowd.

How to Execute the Move

  1. Setup Your Dribble

    • Using your dominant hand, dribble the ball at a comfortable height.
    • Ensure you’re in an athletic stance with knees slightly bent, ready to burst into action.
  2. The Cross-Body Motion

    • As you approach a defender or need to change direction quickly, turn your body slightly in the direction you intend to fake.
    • Start the motion by pushing the ball sideways across your body with a slight downward lift, aiming to position the ball behind your back.
  3. Hand Switch

    • As the ball goes behind your back, switch hands to receive it.
    • The non-dribbling hand needs to be ready and positioned slightly behind your hip, ensuring a smooth catch.
  4. Maintain Control

    • Keep your eyes up to observe the court.
    • Use your peripheral vision to monitor the ball.
    • Continue moving fluidly to maximize the element of surprise.

Tips and Tricks

For Players:

  • Practice Makes Perfect: Begin with stationary drills before incorporating the move into game speed.
  • Stay Low: Keep a low center of gravity to enhance balance and control.
  • Use Peripheral Vision: While executing the move, always maintain court awareness.

For Coaches:

  • Break It Down: Teach the move in steps, ensuring players can perform each component before combining them.
  • Build Confidence: Encourage players to try the move in low-pressure situations before attempting it in a game.
  • Use Video Analysis: Show clips of players like Stephen Curry to demonstrate the move’s effectiveness and proper form.

Case Study: Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors' sharpshooter, is renowned for his ball-handling wizardry. He frequently uses the behind-the-back dribble to create separation from defenders. Here’s how Curry does it:

  1. Quick First Step: Curry has an explosive first step which sets up the defender to anticipate a straightforward drive.
  2. Sudden Behind-the-Back: Just as the defender commits, Curry whips the ball behind his back, deceiving and displacing the opponent.
  3. Efficient Follow-Up: He seamlessly transitions into a shot or drive, leveraging the created space for an open look or a pass.


The behind-the-back dribble is more than just a flashy move; it is a powerful technique for maintaining control and creating opportunities. By mastering this skill, players can emulate the likes of Stephen Curry, keeping defenders guessing and asserting dominance on the court.