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The Dribble Weave: Basketball's "Retro Offense"

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The Dribble Weave: Basketball's "Retro Offense"

Just like fashions and furnishings, certain basketball strategies travel in cycles and make a comeback every now and then. In the 60's, the Boston Celtics (and even the Harlem Globetrotters) made the dribble weave a very popular offense. With the advent of the passing game, dribbling was discouraged and the weave went by the wayside. When defenses started to really pressure passes, dribble penetration became a major strategy again, hence the return of the dribble weave and the importance of the dribble handoff. Dribble handoffs (DHO`s), when properly executed, are very similar to the pick and roll. The major difference is that the "pick" is essentially being executed by the player with the ball. What makes this most effective is, how do you call an "illegal screen" on the player with the ball?

When the DHO is executed correctly and most effectively, the dribbler should dribble directly at the defender of his teammate who will receive the handoff. While that is happening, the receiver of the handoff should take a couple of hard steps in the opposite direction to divert his defender's attention and "set him up." Prior to any contact, the dribbler should come to a jump stop and execute a one-quarter reverse-pivot, holding the ball "on a platter" (with the palm up) for the cutter to accept the handoff. The dribbler, essentially, is setting a screen on the defender. As when using a screen, the player receiving the handoff should try to cut very close to the dribbler and leave no room for his defender to squeeze through.

Accepting the handoff is an art in itself. To avoid any possibility of the ball slipping through the receiver's hand and to be best suited to handle the basketball, the hand closest to the dribbler should be behind the ball. To do this, the receiver's elbow should be tight to the body and by the hip with the fingers facing upward. Now, the player simply allows those skyward fingers to accept the ball off of the "platter."

These skills should not be taken for granted and should be incorporated into any DHO drill that you may do. Common mistakes, such as the dribbler "shoving" the ball into the gut of his teammate like a football handoff, the receiver trying to put a hand on each side of the basketball, or the dribbler just leaving the dribble behind to be picked up, could result in the basketball being mishandled and lead to unnecessary turnovers.

When executed properly, the DHO can be added to the back door and the pick and roll as a valuable counter to denied passes and a great misdirection play to incorporate into any offense.



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