The crossover is the Swiss army knife of basketball moves. It's effective against every kind of defender. A great crossover can break ankles at every level, from middle school to the NBA. One of the most memorable ankle-breaking moves in the last few years in the NBA, Kyrie Irving vs. Brandon Knight in the Rising Stars game, was nothing more than an inside-out dribble followed by a crossover. So before you start practicing dribbling drills for around-the-back, master these basketball crossover drills—because that's what your scoring game will be built on.
5 Keys to the Ultimate Basketball Crossover
Regardless of the drill, these five keys should be part of your crossover every time.
- Keep the ball on the outside of your knee. Watch Kevin Durant cross his defender up. Before he crosses, he keeps the ball so far outside his knee that the defender has to shuffle toward that side or else Kevin will do a simple hesitation and blow right by him. Most defenders will follow the ball. Make your defender think you are going one way, then explode into the crossover in the opposite direction.
- Pound the crossover into the ground. The harder you pound the ball into the ground, the faster it returns to you. The faster it returns to you, the quicker you are on the court. Watch Chris Paul. He pounds the ball every single dribble, extending through the elbow. And that's primarily why he's so quick with the basketball and can elude defenders so easily.
- Get low and go get it. Keep your crossover as low as possible. The lower it is, the less likely the defender will steal it. More importantly, go get it. Don't wait for it to come to you. Chase it and explode by the defender. A great crossover will go from the outside of one knee to the outside of the other.
- Beat the feet. If you are crossing over from right to left, your right foot must beat the defender's right foot. As soon as it does, you have the defender on your hip, and he can't drop step to catch up with you. Basketball, like almost every sport, is about angles. The closer you take your right foot to his and beat him, the less likely he is to recover. The wider the step, the more time he has to recover and stop you.
- Explode and stay low. As soon as your foot beats the defender's foot, stay low, lean into him, and explode by. Do not rise up. Any upward movement slows you down and gives the defender time to recover. Nine times out of ten, the lower player will win.
4 Basketball Crossover Drills
Level 1: Fundamentals (Stationary Crossover)
Start with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart and sink your hips back so you're in an athletic stance. Start with two hard pounds, then cross over without moving your feet. Keep in mind the five keys from above.
Perform the drill for 30 seconds. Rest 10 seconds, and then start with 1 pound and a crossover. Perform that for 30 seconds. Rest 10 seconds, then continuously cross over for 30 seconds. Repeat that sequence 10 times.
Level 2: Elongating the First Step (Chair Crossover)
Stand facing a chair 12 to 18 inches in front of you. Pound the ball twice, then cross over. If you are crossing over from right to left, focus on getting the chair on your right hip as soon as possible by attacking the chair with your right foot. You should finish the drill in a lunge position with your head in front of the chair.
Perform the drill for 30 seconds with your right hand. Rest 10 seconds, then perform it using your left hand. Rest 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times. Try to continually make your first step longer and longer with each round.
Level 3: Automation (Tennis Ball Crossover)
Get in an athletic position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and your hips back. Have a basketball in one hand and a tennis ball in the other. Toss the tennis ball in the air in an arc to your other hand. As the tennis ball is in the air, cross over to the hand that just tossed the tennis ball.
Perform this drill for 30 seconds. Rest 10 seconds, and repeat five times. After the fifth round, try to toss the tennis ball in the air and catch it with the same hand. As the tennis ball is in the air, perform a double crossover. Perform this drill for 30 seconds. Rest 10 seconds, and repeat five times.
Level 4: Resistance (Resisted Band Crossover)
This drill requires a partner. Place a large exercise resistance band around your waist. Your partner will be holding it behind you. Start at one end of the court. Take two dribbles and then explode into a crossover. Your partner will provide resistance by pulling the band backwards.
Repeat this movement up and down the court. A down and back is considered one repetition. Perform one repetition, rest 30 seconds, and repeat for 10 total repetitions.
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