Ball Handling Like a Pro – Cross Over Your Defenders

Allen Iverson breaking some guy’s ankle

Good point guards such as Allen Iverson were always characterized by exceptional ball handling skills. This aptitude is what allowed them to move freely around the court without losing the ball or getting stripped by defenders.

But on top of that, defending the ball when penetrating to the basket is the most important thing – it gives you the option to finish with a layup (or dunk if you can jump high enough), and it creates an opportunity for the offense to score from many locations.

I found this funny piece of video on youtube which shows you some drills you can do to improve your ball handling.

These drills are very important because they’ll allow you to do either one of two critical things:

1) Penetrate to the basket
2) Shake off your defender

1. Penetrate to the Basket

Without the ability to cross over and deceive your defender, it’ll be almost impossible for you to get to the rim into an easy layup.

In a set game, you will simply have no chance. And even if you somehow managed to get across your defender, there’s still going to be the help that arrives after that…and if you can’t go past that, then you won’t be able to finish.

Assuming you did manage to get to the rim, you will most likely run into the tallest player on the defense because they’re the ones that are always down low.

If you don’t have enough power in your legs, you will simply get blocked by these guys… so having the ability to penetrate is not enough – you need to be able to explode under them rim. To do that, you should work on your vertical jump so that nobody will be able to contest on your shot.

2. Shake off Your Defender

Many times when the game is on the line, or the clock is pushing it, the defense is going to press… and your defender is going to guard you very tight.

In order to free yourself from him and get to a position where you have the opportunity to shoot, you’ll have to create some space. The best way to do that is with good dribbling and a killer cross over.

Allen Iverson was a master at this… he would take the ball, wait until the last 5 seconds, dribble 2 or 3 times, then a killer crossover, a step back, and he would bury the shot.

If you want to able to do that, start with this:

So after you’re done laughing, noticed the level of control this guy has?

You want it too, don’t you?

Then start working your handling skills with these drills. I myself used them for a while and it really helped me improve my handles… and I’m terrible with handling the ball, so if I could do it…

More Dribbling Drills

1) 50 Basketball Dribbling Drills | Basketball For Coaches – Coach Mac’s top 50 drills for developing an amazing handle –


10 years ago, I've set out on a quest to dunk a basketball on a 10-foot rim. In order to achieve my dream, I decided to use The Jump Manual program. After having tremendous success with it, I made the decision to help others by turning this website into a useful resource for anyone seeking to jump higher. Learn more about my vertical jump evolution here.


  1. The superhandles guy is hilarious when the video runs fast forward, also the guy looks like eminem, lol. but nice tips though, the drills are very good for working on power, speed and rhythm.
    Thanks Matt.

  2. Can you give some tips about how improve in game dribbling, like when the defense is putting pressure on you…
    I always have problem with full court pressure and I seem to lose the ball a lot of times.

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