Dribbling helps children develop hand-eye coordination, body awareness, rhythm and timing, and agility. It may seem like a tedious activity at first glance, but once your child gets into a rhythm, he'll be absorbed by the game and won't want to stop! As he progresses in skill, he'll even start performing tricks with the ball that are sure to impress.
What You Do:
- Start by having your child dribble the ball in front of and a little to the side of his body. For good dribbling technique, advise your child to use his fingertips, rather than his palm, to control the ball. He should keep his wrist relatively stiff and his elbow flexible.
- Have your child begin slowly, counting as he bounces to help him establish a steady rhythm. This technique is especially helpful for beginning dribblers.
- As your child grows more confident in his dribbling ability, vary the count by counting up and down or even using the letters of the alphabet.
- When your child has good control of the ball, have him walk forward while dribbling, pausing every so often. When he's ready, suggest more difficult tricks for him to try. Here are a few examples:
- Switch: Alternate dribbling the ball with the right and left hand.
- Bounce Low: Try to maintain a dribble below the knees.
- Bounce Medium: Maintain a waist-high dribble.
- Ziggy Zaggy: Move in a zigzag path while dribbling. Draw a path on the ground with sidewalk chalk for your child to follow (optional).
- Left, Right, Forward, Backward, Stop, Go, Curve, Circle: Call out directions in any order and have your child follow them while he dribbles the ball.
- Count Up: Maintain a dribble for as long as possible, counting each bounce as you go.
- Word Spell: Spell out simple words while dribbling, calling out one letter per bounce. You can also write words on the ground with sidewalk chalk and have your child bounce the ball on each letter as he calls them out (optional).
Once he's a dribbling master, encourage him to invent his own tricks to wow his friends and classmates.