The crossover is a move that has been immortalized on the playgrounds, hallowed gyms, and bright lights of the National Basketball Association seemingly from the beginnings of time.
The offensive tactic has evolved from a Hall of Fame Bob Cousy – Isiah Thomas game of keep away, to the bang-bang moves of Kevin Johnson and Tim Hardaway, and ultimately Allen Iverson’s lazy D.C. crossover to captivate the imagination. Regardless of the interpretation, all successful crossovers are the direct result of aggressively putting the ball on the floor after forcing a situation where your defender is flat-footed and off balance.
Certainly, the purpose of the crossover dribble is to create space through misdirection. The fundamentally sound crossover grants the ball handler the option to knock down the open jump shot, drive to the rim to score, or create offense for teammates. The crossover and the use of both hands, while keeping your head up, are critical to ball control.
This guide will break down the crossover dribble into three elements. These sections may be summarized by freezing the defense, changing direction, and moves on moves.
#1 Freeze the Defense Before the Crossover Dribble
The effective crossover dribble relies upon timing and misdirection. The opponent must be off-balance and relatively unaware of your intent prior to executing the move. Offensively, you will either incite a frenetic cat and mouse chase, or lull your opponent to sleep through feigned laziness.
Setting the table for the crossover dribble can be done both off the ball and with the ball.
Players moving off the ball should aggressively run towards the passer or a particular spot on the floor before receiving the basketball. Doing so will lock the defender into all out chase mode and have his body outside of the proper stance and leaning towards one direction.
Ball handlers must keep their heads up at all times to read the defense and not telegraph their own tendencies. Dribblers that are obviously quicker than the opponent have the option of setting him up with either a lazy body lean, or a speed dribble to a specific point on the court. Slower players must work hard to sell the fake. The defender should assume that you have no intent upon doing damage with dribble drive penetration or are moving in one direction only.
#2 Kick the Crossover
The crossover dribble really begins with a slight kick. Simultaneously kick your foot out to regain your own center of gravity and explode past your man in the other direction while switching hands with the dribble. Crossover by sweeping low and dribbling the ball beneath the knees.
Outrageously flail your arm out prior to the move in rope-a-dope fashion so that your man may anticipate a straight-line path and even lunge at the basketball. Finger tips control the basketball, not palms.
Timing is everything.
The explosion and outrageous sweep of the basketball is to be executed at the very moment that the defense is off balance and out of any solid defensive stance. The crossover is embellished with a quick head and shoulder feint to the off side before getting low, powering to the opposite move and dipping around and beneath your rival’s midsection to drive and protect the basketball.
#3 Crossover Moves on Moves
All effective ball handlers execute with effective contingency plans. At least, the dribbler must be able to use both hands and control the basketball with his head up before attempting to crossover.
Veteran hoopers will put together a complimentary mix of spin moves, behind the backs, in and outs, ball fakes, and 1-2 right-left-right crossovers that may go between the legs or directly out front of the body. The goal is not to show up the opponent with highlight reel showmanship. The goal is to keep your man off balance and create space.
Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams showcase these slick handles on a nightly basis.
Once the dribbler is in the clear, he may pull up for the perfect jump shot, or aggressively drive the lane for lay-ins and pretty assists to open cutters. Regardless of the set up, the ball handler should get low after turning the corner and keep the prone defender on his back pocket by using his body and off hand as a shield. The basketball must never be exposed with a carelessly high dribble. Smart opponents that have been beaten will always chase the action and attempt to reach around for steals.
Rajon Rondo is the current master of trailing the action and swiping at the ball for steals. Still, all defenders are privy to get beat with smart play.
Kick the Crossover.
How to Use the Crossover Dribble in Basketball, Sources:
At Home Sports Network, Basketball, http://www.basketball.com/
Crossover Dribble, http://www.hoopsvibe.com/basketball-coaching/dribbling/crossover-dribble-ar392.html
Coach Godwin, A More Effective Crossover Dribble, http://www.hoopsaddict.com/2008/11/18/a-more-effective-crossover-dribble/
MC Rouz, Derrick Rose Mix, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6G_RRGHzfA