Having An Off Day – Using Your Off Hand

We have all had off days. Hopefully, yours wasn’t 2-10 shooting, fouling out in the 3rd quarter and a loss. I hope to never have an off day like that and to make sure you don’t, you need to jump start your Off Hand. Good defenders are going to work hard attacking your strengths. If you dribble well, they will try to make you pick up your dribble. If you pass well, they will keep a hand in the passing lane. If you’ve got a great jump shot, they are going to challenge every shot. But if you’ve got a good Off Hand you’ll surprise your defender with your ability to go in unexpected directions and pass or score with your Off Hand.

To get there, once a week you must devote at least 30 minutes to working on your Off Hand.

DRIBBLING
Power Dribble

  • With the off hand, dribble just outside your foot, no higher than your knee
  • Dribble hard enough that the ball rises into your hand consistently

Sweeps (Side To Side)

  • With the off hand, dribble like a crossover but catch and return the dribble with the same hand
  • No higher or wider than your knees
  • Note: As you get better, vary the speed and width of the dribble

Side Sweeps (Front To Back)

  • With the off hand, dribble front to back catching and returning the dribble with the same hand
  • No higher or than your knees

Behind Your Back

  • With the off hand, dribble around your back
  • Make the dribble below your butt
  • It should land outside of your opposite foot
  • Keep the dribble close to your body
  • You body should not move or rock when you do this drill
  • Cross over right to left and repeat

Figure 8’s

  • Dribble through your legs in a figure 8
  • One outside bounce per side
  • Note: As you get better, slide from one side of the court to the other in a straight line while dribbling
  • NOTE: All dribbling drills are from the ready position: A balanced stance, with knees slightly bent, on the balls of your feet. Do 10 reps of each exercise without stopping. This is one set. Do 4 sets.

PASSING
Baseball Pass

  • Pick or place a target on a wall about 15’ (7-8 steps) away
  • With your off hand, hit the target 25 times (1 set)
  • Do 4 sets
  • NOTE: If you have the strength and accuracy to hit the target consistently, you won’t need to practice the bounce of the single overhead pass.

STRENGTHENING
Off the Wall

  • Face a wall, about a ½ step out
  • Hold the ball on the fingertips of your off hand about shoulder height
  • Dribble the ball against the wall 25 times
  • Raise your arm above your head and repeat
  • Extend your arm until there is only a slight bend at the elbow and repeat
  • Do 4 sets (100 reps)
  • Turn sideways and repeat

SHOOTING
Form & Balance

  • Stand 8-10’ In front of the rim
  • Balance the ball on your fingertips of your off hand
  • Shoot without the aid of the guide hand
  • Make 10 shots flat footed
  • Make 10 shots extending onto your toes
  • Make 10 shots as you jump
  • Make 10 free throws with your off hand (Use both hands)
  • Make 10 jump shots from the foul line with your off hand (Use both hands)

Using The Glass

  • From the box, off the glass
  • Make 10 shots flat footed
  • Make 10 shots extending onto your toes
  • Make 10 shots as you jump

Off Hand Lay ups

  • Start at the wing
  • Dribble all the way to the basket with the off hand
  • Shoot the ball while raising the knee on the on the off side
  • Make 10 Regular lay ups
  • Make 10 Underhand lay ups
  • Make 10 Power lay ups (Go hard and keep the opposite hand high)

Step Up

  • Face the basket at the elbow
  • Your pivot is opposite your off hand
  • Ball sweep towards your off hand
  • Power dribble towards the basket one step
  • Square up
  • Take the jump shot with the off hand
  • NOTE: Start so that you will finish stepping into the 3 second lane

Back To the Basket Step Up

  • This time, start with your back to the basket
  • Your pivot is opposite your off hand
  • Ball sweep towards your off hand
  • Pivot and face the basket
  • Power dribble towards the basket one step
  • Square up
  • Take the jump shot with the off hand
  • NOTE: Start so that you will finish stepping into the 3 second lane. Shaquille O’Neal finished this move with a spin instead of the Step Up and called it the move the Black Whirlwind.

DEFENDING
Stopping The Dribble/Blocking The Pass

  • With your off hand only, play handball against the gym wall
  • Keep the ball on your off hand side
  • Move your feet to stay square with the ball
  • Keep your elbow as close to your body as you can
  • Imagine yourself interrupting the dribble by poking the ball away
  • Imagine your hand in the passing lane AT ALL TIMES

Blocking Shots

  • Stand 10’ (3-4 steps) facing a wall
  • With your off hand, toss a handball against
  • Hit a target on the wall about 10’ up
  • Repeat 20 times
  • That’s one set
  • Do 3 sets
  • Now jump and hit a target on the wall about 12’ up
  • NOTE: The toss is from the wrist, DO NOT BRING THE ARM FORWARD!

By Having An Off Day – Using Your Off Hand you develop the skills and confidence to use your off hand effectively. You can also do all of these drills to strengthen your strong hand but always start the drills with your off hand. Force yourself to learn the skills properly. You will have to use good form to get the drills right since you don’t use your off hand as often. Most importantly, remember statistically 70-80% of the population is right handed so you will be usually facing your opponent’s strong hand with your left – your off hand.

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