Double dribble

Ever watched a basketball game and heard the referee’s whistle followed by the term “double dribble”? For those unfamiliar with the sport or its intricate rules, this term might seem confusing. However, understanding what a double dribble is can significantly improve one’s knowledge of the game and enhance the overall viewing experience.

A double dribble occurs when a player illegally dribbles the ball twice with the same hand without another player touching it or when they use both hands simultaneously. This rule helps ensure a fair and consistent flow of the game while maintaining the necessary skill level required to play basketball effectively.

To understand double dribbles better, it’s essential to know how dribbling actually works. A legal dribble involves bouncing the ball on the ground with one hand while maintaining control. This fundamental skill allows players to move around the court with the ball, plan their next move, and look for opportunities to score points. Knowing the difference between legal dribbles and double dribbles can greatly impact a team’s performance and strategy during the game.

What is Double Dribble in Basketball

Double dribble is a violation in basketball that occurs when a player illegally dribbles the ball twice or resumes dribbling after a pause. This act is against the rules and results in a turnover, allowing the opposing team to gain possession of the ball.

There are two primary scenarios when a double dribble can occur:

  1. Two-Handed Dribble: If a player uses both hands to dribble or continuously bounces the ball with two hands simultaneously, it is considered a double dribble.
  2. Pause and Resume: When a player stops dribbling and holds or palms the ball, they cannot resume dribbling. If they do, it is deemed a double dribble.

Understanding the rationale behind the double dribble rule is crucial to appreciating its impact on the game. The rule was implemented to prevent unfair advantages that may arise from dribbling with both hands or stopping and resuming dribbling. These actions can make it difficult for defenders to predict the ball handler’s movements and maintain a fair level of competition.

In summary, a double dribble violation happens when a player either dribbles with both hands or stops and resumes dribbling, ultimately resulting in a turnover. This rule is essential to maintain a balanced and competitive basketball game.

Causes of Double Dribble

Two Hands Dribbling

Double dribble occurs when a player dribbles the basketball with two hands simultaneously, which violates the basic rules of dribbling. Players should use one hand to control the ball, while the other hand can be used for steadying the ball or protecting it from defenders.

Dribble, Stop, Dribble

Another common cause of a double dribble is when a player dribbles, stops dribbling and holds the ball, then resumes dribbling. Once a player stops dribbling, they must either pass the ball to a teammate or attempt a shot. Restarting the dribble after stopping is not allowed, and this action results in a double dribble violation.

Illegal Hand Position

Improper hand positioning during dribbling can also lead to a double dribble violation. The rules dictate that a player should only use their fingertips and the top of their palm for dribbling. Placing the entire hand under the ball or palming the ball is considered illegal and can result in a double dribble call.

In summary, double dribble can be caused by:

  • Dribbling with two hands simultaneously
  • Stopping and restarting a dribble
  • Incorrect hand positioning on the ball

To avoid double dribble violations, players must focus on proper dribbling techniques, maintain control of the ball using one hand, and only stop dribbling when they plan to pass or shoot.

Consequences of Double Dribble


A double dribble violation results in a turnover. The opposing team gains possession of the ball. This can significantly impact the game, as losing possession can lead to fewer scoring opportunities for the team committing the violation. Consistently committing double dribble violations may result in a team falling behind in the game.


In basketball, a double dribble is a violation of the rules. When a player commits a double dribble, the referee blows the whistle and stops play. The team that committed the violation loses possession of the ball, and the opposing team is awarded the ball at the nearest sideline.

It is essential for players to maintain proper dribbling technique to avoid double dribble violations. Awareness of the rules and practice will help players become more adept at avoiding this type of turnover. Coaches should emphasize the importance of following the rules and proper technique during both practices and games to minimize the occurrence of double dribble violations.

Preventing Double Dribble

Proper Dribbling Technique

To prevent double dribbling in basketball, it’s essential to learn and practice the proper dribbling technique. Maintain a low posture, bend your knees, and keep your back straight. While dribbling, use your fingertips to control the ball rather than your palm.

When dribbling, focus on the following points:

  • Keep your arm slightly bent as you make contact with the ball
  • Control the ball using your fingertips, not your palm
  • Avoid looking at the ball while dribbling; instead, keep your eyes on your surroundings
  • Change your pace and direction to make it harder for defenders to steal the ball

Practicing Control

The key to avoiding double dribbling is being able to maintain control of the basketball at all times. To improve your ball-handling skills, consider incorporating the following practice recommendations:

  1. Dribbling Drills: Engage in daily dribbling drills to improve control, such as dribbling in place, figure-eight dribbles, and dribbling around obstacles.
  2. Weak Hand Development: To become a versatile player, practice dribbling with your non-dominant hand. This will make it difficult for defenders to predict where you’ll move next.
  3. Strength Training: Enhance your grip and forearm strength with targeted exercises, such as squeezes, wrist curls, and reverse wrist curls. Stronger hands and wrists lead to better control on your dribble.
  4. Game Situations: Participate in scrimmages or pickup games to apply your dribbling skills in real game situations. This will help you become more comfortable handling the ball under pressure.

By focusing on the proper dribbling technique and practicing control, you can minimize the chances of committing a double dribble violation in basketball.