How to Perfect Your Dribbling Technique with the Kyrie Irving Drill?


Kyrie Irving is a standout in pro basketball, known for his amazing dribbling skills. His unmatched ball-handling makes him a symbol of finesse and creativity on the court.

His ability to weave through defenses with precision and style has made him a fan favorite and a role model for aspiring basketball players worldwide. 

As we delve into Kyrie Irving's dribbling techniques, we uncover valuable insights that can elevate one's skill set and bring a touch of Irving's magic to their own game.


The primary objective of this article is to provide basketball enthusiasts with a comprehensive guide to enhancing their dribbling technique using specific drills inspired by Kyrie Irving's unparalleled skills. 

By breaking down Irving's signature moves and analyzing the nuances of his dribbling style, we aim to offer practical insights that players at various skill levels can incorporate into their training routines. 

Through these drills, readers can not only gain a deeper understanding of the mechanics behind Kyrie Irving's success but also develop the agility and confidence needed to elevate their own dribbling proficiency on the basketball court.

Dribbling Mastery:

Irving's dribbling prowess is marked by a combination of 

  • lightning-fast crossovers, 
  • ankle-breaking spins, and 
  • a low center of gravity that allows him to maneuver through defenders effortlessly

Recognizing the value of Irving's dribbling skills, basketball enthusiasts and trainers have introduced the "Kyrie Irving Drill" as a fundamental training tool. 

This drill emphasizes quick crossovers, precise ball control, and the development of a low dribbling stance, mirroring Irving's style. 

Coaches and players alike acknowledge the effectiveness of this drill in honing essential ball-handling skills and improving overall court awareness.

 Key Components of the Kyrie Irving Drill:

1) Ball Control Techniques:

At the heart of Kyrie Irving's dribbling mastery lies an unparalleled finesse in ball control. 

  1. Understanding the nuances of fingertip control, 
  2. hand placement, and 
  3. the subtle art of manipulating the basketball's spin is central to executing the Kyrie Irving Drill with precision. 

This section explores the techniques that form the foundation for impeccable ball control.

Duration: 15-20 minutes

Equipment Needed:

  • Basketball
  • Cones or markers
  • Cones (5-8 cones, depending on available space)
  • Open court space or gym floor

Step 1: Warm-Up (3 minutes)

Start with a light warm-up to prepare your muscles for the intense drills. Include dynamic stretches, light jogging, and some dribbling with the basketball to get your body ready.

Step 2: Cone Dribbling (5 minutes)

Set up a series of cones or markers in a straight line, about 5 feet apart. 

Use a variety of dribbling moves to navigate through the cones. Focus on quick crossovers, between-the-legs dribbles, and behind-the-back dribbles. Challenge yourself to maintain control and speed. Repeat this drill for 5 minutes.


Keep your body low, use your fingertips to control the ball, and stay light on your feet. Emphasize quick changes of direction.

2) Irving's Signature Moves:

Training Duration Levels:

  1. Beginner: 1-2 times per week
  2. Intermediate: 2-3 times per week
  3. Advanced: 3-4 times per week

A) Between-the-Legs Crossover:

While dribbling forward, execute a between-the-legs crossover move around each cone.

Focus on maintaining a low dribble for better ball control.


1)  Start with a Normal Dribble:

Begin dribbling the basketball in a normal rhythm as you approach the defender.

2) Plant the Pivot Foot:

As you approach the defender, plant your pivot foot. The pivot foot is the foot that stays in contact with the floor while you maneuver with the other foot.

3) Initiate the Between-the-Legs Dribble:

While keeping your pivot foot planted, use your non-dribbling hand to dribble the ball between your legs. The ball should bounce from the outside of one leg to the outside of the other.

4) Quick Crossover Dribble:

Immediately after the between-the-legs dribble, perform a quick crossover dribble with the hand opposite to the leg through which the ball passed. For example, if the ball went between your legs from right to left, perform a crossover with your left hand.

5) Explosive Step:

As you execute the crossover dribble, take a quick and explosive step with your opposite foot to move in the new direction. This step should be powerful and well-timed to catch the defender off guard.

6) Maintain Low Stance:

Throughout the move, maintain a low and athletic stance to stay balanced and be ready for any defensive response.

7) Practice:

Like any basketball move, practice is crucial. Spend time working on the Between-the-Legs Crossover in a controlled environment before using it in game situations. This will help you develop the necessary muscle memory and timing.

Tips and Techniques:

Hand Placement: Pay attention to the placement of your hands. Keep your non-dribbling hand low and close to the ground after the between-the-legs dribble. This helps in maintaining control of the ball and makes the crossover dribble more effective.

Head and Shoulder Fake: Use head and shoulder fakes to sell the move. A convincing fake in one direction can make the defender bite on the fake, creating more space for you to execute the crossover and blow by your defender.

Eyes Up: Keep your eyes up and survey the court while performing the move. This not only helps you maintain awareness of your surroundings but also makes you more unpredictable to defenders.

Change of Pace: Incorporate changes of pace into your dribble moves. Varying your speed can make it more challenging for defenders to anticipate your moves and react accordingly.

Read the Defender: Pay attention to how the defender reacts to your initial moves. If they overcommit in one direction, exploit that by quickly changing direction with the Between-the-Legs Crossover.

Practice with Defense: Have a defender or a teammate play defense against you during practice. This adds a dynamic element to your training, helping you simulate real-game scenarios and improving your ability to execute the move under pressure.

Stay Low and Balanced: A low and balanced stance is crucial for quick changes of direction. Bend your knees and keep your center of gravity low throughout the move to maximize agility and stability.

Combine with Other Moves: Integrate the Between-the-Legs Crossover with other dribble moves and offensive techniques. Combining different moves makes you a more versatile and unpredictable offensive player.

Use in Transition: The Between-the-Legs Crossover can be highly effective in transition situations. Practice using the move when pushing the ball up the court to catch defenders off guard and create fast-break opportunities.

Be Patient: Timing is key. Be patient and wait for the right moment to execute the move. Trying to force it may lead to turnovers. Wait for the defender to commit, and then capitalize on the opening.

B) Behind-the-Back Dribble:

As you approach each cone, execute a behind-the-back dribble.

Practice changing direction smoothly and explosively.


1. Positioning:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and your body low to the ground. Keep your back straight and head up to maintain good court awareness.

2. Ball Placement:

Start with the basketball in your dominant hand (the hand you're more comfortable dribbling with) at about hip level. Your non-dominant hand can be at your side or slightly extended for balance.

3. Dribble Initiation:

Begin dribbling the basketball with your dominant hand. The initial dribble should be firm and controlled.

4. Transfer to Non-Dominant Hand:

As the ball reaches the highest point of the bounce, quickly move your dominant hand behind your back to transfer the ball to your non-dominant hand. This should be a swift and fluid motion.

5. Behind-the-Back Dribble:

While the ball is in the air, bring your dominant hand behind your back, allowing the non-dominant hand to catch the ball mid-air.

6. Hand Coordination:

Your non-dominant hand should now take over the dribbling, while your dominant hand remains behind your back. Practice a smooth transition to maintain control of the ball.

7. Body Movement:

Shift your weight to the side opposite the hand with the ball to create separation from defenders. Use your body to shield the ball and protect it from defenders trying to steal it.

8. Acceleration and Change of Direction:

Once you've successfully executed the behind-the-back dribble, use the gained separation to accelerate or change direction. This move is particularly effective for creating space and catching defenders off guard.

9. Practice:

Like any basketball skill, repetition is key. Practice the behind-the-back dribble at varying speeds and incorporate it into your overall ball-handling routine. This will help you develop muscle memory and improve your ability to use the move in game situations.

Technique to follow:

Change of Pace: Incorporate changes of pace into your dribble. Start with a slow, controlled dribble and then explode into a quick behind-the-back motion. This can catch defenders off guard, making your move more effective.

Head and Body Fakes: Use head and body fakes to deceive defenders. Before executing the behind-the-back dribble, make a slight hesitation or fake in one direction to mislead your defender. This can create additional space for the move.

Low Dribble Height: Keep the dribble low to the ground for better control. A low dribble makes it more challenging for defenders to steal the ball and allows for a quicker transition between hands during the behind-the-back move.

Add a Crossover Element: After completing the behind-the-back dribble, consider adding a quick crossover to change direction and leave your defender behind. This can enhance the overall effectiveness of the move and open up scoring opportunities.

Practice with Defensive Pressure: To simulate game situations, practice the move with a defender applying pressure. This will help you refine your ability to perform the behind-the-back dribble under more realistic conditions.

Combine with Other Moves: Incorporate the behind-the-back dribble into combinations with other moves, such as spins, crossovers, or hesitation dribbles. This makes your overall offensive repertoire more versatile and challenging for defenders to anticipate.

Game Situation Simulation: Visualize specific game scenarios where the behind-the-back dribble can be most effective, such as breaking down a defender one-on-one, navigating through traffic, or creating separation for a jump shot. Practice accordingly to improve decision-making in real-game situations.

C) Reverse Cone Dribbling:

Turn around and dribble backward through the same cone line.

Challenge yourself by adding spin moves or quick direction changes while moving backward.

Equipment Needed:

  • Basketball
  • Cones or markers


  1. Place Cones in a Cone Dribbling Pattern:
  2. Set up a series of cones in a zigzag or circular pattern to simulate the path of defenders.
  3. Space the cones about 3-4 feet apart to challenge your dribbling control.


Start with a light warm-up to prepare your muscles for the intense dribbling workout. Perform basic dribbling moves, such as crossovers, between the legs, and behind the back, to get comfortable with the ball.

Cone Dribbling:

Begin at one end of the cone pattern with the basketball in hand. Use reverse cone dribbling techniques to navigate through the cones.

Focus on low dribbles and quick changes of direction, mirroring Kyrie Irving's style. Experiment with different dribbling moves, including hesitation dribbles, spin moves, and quick stops.

Vary Speed and Intensity:

Practice the drill at different speeds to simulate game situations. Start slowly to focus on technique and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable.

Add Defensive Simulation:

Enlist a partner or use cut-out defenders to add a defensive element to the drill. Have the defender mimic defensive movements and challenge you to navigate through the cones under pressure.

Focus on Body Control:

Pay attention to your body positioning and balance while performing the reverse cone dribbling. Keep your center of gravity low, and use your body to shield the ball from imaginary defenders.

Repeat and Progress:

Repeat the drill multiple times, focusing on refining your technique and building muscle memory. As you become more proficient, increase the complexity of the drill by incorporating more challenging dribbling combinations.

Cool Down:

Finish the session with a cool-down, including stretching to enhance flexibility and prevent injury.

D) Figure-8 Dribbling (4 minutes)

Place two cones on the ground, creating a figure-8 pattern. Dribble the ball in a figure-8 motion around the cones. Use a combination of crossovers and spin moves to navigate the pattern. Perform this drill for 4 minutes.

Technique: Focus on tight dribbles around the cones, and practice shifting your weight smoothly during crossovers and spins.



Before starting the Figure-8 Dribbling drill, it's essential to warm up your body and do some basic ball-handling exercises to prepare your wrists and fingers.


Begin in a low and athletic stance with your knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight, and your head up to maintain good court vision.

Dribble Placement:

Start dribbling the basketball with your dominant hand (usually your right hand for right-handed players). Control the ball using your fingertips, not your palm, for better control.

Initiate the Figure-8:

Move the basketball in a figure-eight pattern, passing it from your right hand to your left hand and vice versa. The key is to create a continuous and smooth motion as you guide the ball through the figure-eight pattern.

Use Your Fingers:

Emphasize using your fingers to control the basketball. This helps in developing a soft touch and quick, precise movements. Kyrie Irving is known for his ability to keep the ball on a string, and this drill helps develop that skill.

Increase Speed Gradually:

Start at a slow and comfortable pace, ensuring that you maintain control over the ball. As you become more proficient, gradually increase your speed. The goal is to challenge yourself without sacrificing control.

Change Directions:

After mastering the figure-eight pattern in one direction, switch to the opposite direction. This ensures that you develop equal proficiency with both hands.

Challenge Yourself:

To make the drill more challenging, incorporate crossovers, hesitations, and quick changes in direction. Experiment with different variations while maintaining control.

Eyes Up:

Focus on keeping your eyes up and scanning the court while dribbling. This is crucial for developing court awareness and becoming a more effective ball-handler during actual gameplay.


Practice the Figure-8 Dribbling drill regularly to build muscle memory and enhance your overall ball-handling skills. Consistency is key to improvement.

Special Techniques:

Behind-the-Back Figure-8:

Instead of passing the ball from one hand to the other in front of your body, try executing a behind-the-back dribble while maintaining the figure-eight pattern. This adds an extra level of complexity to the drill.

Crossover Figure-8:

Incorporate crossovers into the figure-eight pattern. As the ball moves from one hand to the other, execute a quick crossover dribble with the hand that just received the ball. This adds a dynamic and deceptive element to your ball handling.

Hesitation Dribble:

Integrate hesitation moves into the drill. Pause briefly in the middle of the figure-eight pattern, then explosively change direction. This mimics in-game situations where hesitation moves can be effective for breaking down defenders.

Speed Changes:

Practice changing the speed of your dribble. Go from a slow, controlled dribble to a quick, explosive one. This helps improve your ability to shift gears and catch defenders off guard.

Eyes Closed Dribbling:

Once you're comfortable with the drill, challenge yourself by closing your eyes while maintaining the figure-eight pattern. This enhances your reliance on muscle memory and touch, improving your overall ball control.

Low Dribble:

Perform the Figure-8 Dribbling drill with an emphasis on keeping the ball low to the ground. This helps improve your ability to protect the ball and navigate through tight spaces.

360-Degree Figure-8:

Instead of confining the figure-eight pattern to a horizontal plane, experiment with incorporating vertical and diagonal movements. This challenges your coordination and adaptability.

Incorporate Cones or Markers:

Set up cones or markers on the ground to create a designated path for your Figure-8 Dribbling. This adds a spatial awareness component and helps simulate real-game scenarios where you need to navigate around defenders.

Freestyle Figure-8:

Once you've mastered the basic drill, allow yourself some creative freedom. Freestyle the Figure-8 Dribbling by adding your own variations, crossovers, and spins. This helps develop a unique and unpredictable dribbling style.

E) Reaction Dribbling (4 minutes)

Have a training partner or coach call out different commands (e.g., left, right, crossover). 

React quickly and perform the instructed move while maintaining control of the ball. This drill improves your decision-making and responsiveness. Perform for 4 minutes.

Technique: Listen and react promptly to the commands. Execute the correct dribbling move with precision.

More variations on reaction dribbles:

Low Dribble Technique: Irving often keeps the ball low to the ground, making it challenging for defenders to steal.

Drill: Practice dribbling the ball as close to the floor as possible while maintaining control. Use cones to simulate defenders and focus on quick changes of direction.

Hesitation Dribble: Kyrie uses hesitation moves to freeze defenders before exploding past them.

Drill: Set up cones in a straight line. Practice dribbling towards a cone, then hesitate for a moment before accelerating past it. This helps develop the ability to freeze defenders with subtle fakes.

In-and-Out Dribble: The in-and-out move involves a quick motion that tricks defenders into thinking you're changing direction.

Drill: Set up cones in a zigzag pattern. Practice the in-and-out dribble around each cone, emphasizing a swift motion with your hand to sell the fake.

Behind-the-Back Crossover: Kyrie frequently employs behind-the-back crossovers for sudden changes in direction.

Drill: Place cones in a square pattern. Practice dribbling in one direction, then execute a behind-the-back crossover to change direction around each cone.

Split Dribble: Kyrie uses a split dribble to quickly change direction by stepping one foot forward.

Drill: With a defender or cone in front of you, practice the split dribble by quickly stepping forward with one foot while maintaining control of the ball. This move can be effective in tight spaces.

Quick Change of Pace: Altering your speed can catch defenders off guard.

Drill: Dribble at a moderate pace, then suddenly accelerate for a few steps before slowing down. Repeat this pattern to develop the ability to change pace dynamically.

Crossover Combinations: Kyrie often strings together multiple crossovers to keep defenders guessing.

Drill: Set up cones in a random pattern. Practice executing crossover combinations (e.g., between the legs to behind the back) around the cones to improve coordination and unpredictability.

Reaction Ball Drills:

Use a reaction ball to improve hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes.

Drill: Dribble the basketball while bouncing and catching a reaction ball with your free hand. This simulates the unpredictability of defenders' movements in a game.

Defender Simulation: Have a training partner or coach simulate defensive movements.

Drill: React to your partner's movements by quickly changing your dribble direction. This helps replicate in-game scenarios where defenders try to anticipate your moves.

3) Common Mistakes and Solutions:

A. Lack of Proper Warm-up


Some players underestimate the importance of a thorough warm-up before engaging in the Kyrie Irving Drill, leading to suboptimal performance and increased risk of injury.


  1. Begin with light cardio exercises such as jogging or jumping jacks to elevate heart rate.
  2. Perform dynamic stretches targeting the lower body to enhance flexibility.
  3. Incorporate specific basketball-related warm-up drills to activate muscles used during the Kyrie Irving Drill.

B. Poor Body Positioning


Players often fail to maintain an optimal body position, compromising their balance and making it challenging to execute precise movements during the drill.


  1. Focus on keeping a low center of gravity by bending the knees and maintaining an athletic stance.
  2. Keep the chest up and shoulders relaxed to facilitate quick changes in direction.
  3. Practice moving laterally and diagonally to develop agility and improve overall body control.

C. Inconsistent Dribble Height


Players frequently struggle with maintaining a consistent dribble height, making it easier for defenders to anticipate their moves.


  1. Emphasize a low and controlled dribble to maintain ball security and decrease the risk of turnovers.
  2. Use fingertips to control the ball, allowing for a quicker and more responsive dribble.
  3. Practice varying dribble heights to keep defenders guessing and enhance overall ball-handling versatility.

D. Lack of Vision and Awareness


Players often become too focused on the ball, neglecting to scan the court for teammates, defenders, and open spaces.


  1. Develop peripheral vision by consciously looking beyond the immediate vicinity of the ball.
  2. Incorporate cognitive drills that challenge decision-making skills, such as recognizing open teammates or identifying defensive strategies.
  3. Practice executing the Kyrie Irving Drill with a partner to simulate game-like situations and enhance court awareness.

E. Insufficient Speed and Intensity


Some players perform the Kyrie Irving Drill at a slower pace, diminishing its effectiveness in replicating the quick, dynamic movements required in a real game.


  1. Gradually increase the speed of the drill as proficiency improves.
  2. Focus on explosive movements, especially when changing direction, to simulate game-like scenarios.
  3. Incorporate interval training to enhance cardiovascular endurance and adaptability to high-intensity situations.

F. Neglecting Weak Hand Development


Players often favor their dominant hand, neglecting to develop proficiency with their weaker hand during the Kyrie Irving Drill.


  1. Dedicate specific practice time to strengthen and improve dribbling skills with the non-dominant hand.
  2. Implement drills that specifically target the weak hand, gradually increasing difficulty as proficiency improves.
  3. Emphasize ambidextrous ball-handling to become a more well-rounded player.

G. Overlooking Recovery and Rest


Some players underestimate the importance of adequate recovery and rest, leading to fatigue and decreased performance during the Kyrie Irving Drill.


  1. Prioritize sufficient sleep to facilitate physical and mental recovery.
  2. Incorporate rest days into the training schedule to prevent burnout and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
  3. Engage in activities such as stretching, foam rolling, and ice baths to promote muscle recovery and reduce soreness.

4) Kyrie Irving Drill in Real-game Scenarios:

Applying Ball-Handling in Pressure Situations:

One of Kyrie Irving's trademarks is his exceptional ball-handling ability. The drill emphasizes dribbling through defenders with speed and precision. 

In a real game, defenders are not stationary cones but dynamic opponents actively trying to disrupt your dribble. 

Applying these learned skills requires the player to read the defense, make split-second decisions, and execute dribbling moves with confidence. 

By incorporating Irving's ball-handling techniques into real-game scenarios, players can navigate through tight defenses, create scoring opportunities, and become more unpredictable and challenging for opponents to guard.

 Using Agility for Great Defense:

Irving's drill places a significant emphasis on agility – the ability to change direction quickly and maintain balance. 

Translating this agility into a game scenario is essential, especially on the defensive end. Players who have mastered Irving's drill can effectively stay in front of their opponents, cut off passing lanes, and make timely steals. 

The agility gained from the drill empowers players to be proactive defenders, disrupting the flow of the opposing team's offense and contributing to overall team success.

Decision-Making under Pressure:

Irving's drill is designed to challenge players to make quick decisions in dynamic situations. 

The ability to read defenses, anticipate opponents' movements, and choose the right play is crucial in a live game. 

Applying the honed decision-making skills from the drill enables players to become more intelligent and efficient on the court. 

This translates into better shot selection, improved passing accuracy, and an overall enhancement of the team's offensive and defensive strategies.

Adjusting Actions to Match How the Team Works Together:

Basketball is a team sport, and successful teams thrive on the synergy among players. 

The creative and innovative skills learned from Irving's drill can be adapted to complement the playing styles of teammates. 

In live games, this adaptability allows players to seamlessly integrate their creative moves into the team's overall strategy, fostering a fluid and harmonious style of play. 

The ability to innovate within the team context is a mark of a well-rounded and impactful player.

Finishing at the Rim with Confidence:

Irving's drill incorporates various finishing techniques around the basket, showcasing his ability to score in traffic. 

The challenge lies in applying these finishes during the chaos of a live game. Players need to be able to absorb contact, adjust their shot mid-air, and convert difficult opportunities. 

The drill provides a foundation for developing the necessary muscle memory, but it is in the crucible of a basketball match that players truly learn how to finish with finesse and confidence.


Kyrie Irving's drill not only refines individual skills but also encourages players to embrace creativity and innovation on the basketball court. 

The application of these learned skills in practical scenarios goes beyond personal improvement, influencing the dynamics of the game, the team, and even the broader basketball culture. 

Players who can seamlessly integrate creative and innovative elements into their play become not only proficient athletes but also contributors to the evolving narrative of the sport.