The Dribblepro (or Dribble Pro) Basketball Training Ball, both from Spalding and its black and red version are worth purchasing to improve your in-game dribbling. While the ball is supposed to help your dribbling, rebounding, and shooting, I think its value is more on the dribbling side, and for under $30, the black and red version is definitely the better buy over the Spalding ball at $60.
Henry Bibby, former head coach at USC and NBA assistant coach, developed the Dribblepro and sent me a ball to review in early 2015, but I only started training regularly with it recently. The ball is a regular size ball that has several rubber “stubs” – when you dribble the ball, the stubs will occasionally hit the ground and cause the ball to bounce in a random direction. This forces your hands (and eyes if you are looking) to predict where the ball will go and control it. The idea is that this unpredictably better reflects real life game situations in which you need to control the ball under intense situations.
It is hard to do an objective analysis of the effects of training (I trained a couple of hours a week for nearly 2 months) with the ball. Over my time with it, one of the stubs broke off and I felt that the ball lost much of its cover surface from use on outdoor basketball courts. However, I can still shoot and dribble with it fine. From the training, I feel that dribbling with a normal ball is much easier – since starting, I only practiced with the Dribblepro and played games with normal balls, so I can feel a clear difference when I switch. In addition, I unexpectedly have more confidence dribbling the ball during games. There have a been a few times where I was dribbling in traffic or lost control of the ball, but I knew I could get it back. Whether this has been due to actual improvement, luck, or the level of competition, I cannot say.
If you can train with both the Dribblepro and Dribble Specs to prevent yourself from looking at the ball as it careens out of control, I think that is a special combination to improving your hands and feel for high-intensity, in-game traffic situations.
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Although the Guarantee3 Basketball Trainer has multiple uses, from my experience, it is not worth purchasing if your focus is on improving your shooting range. In addition, I encountered major durability issues in the product. I am guessing that my overall wrist / arm strength has improved from using the Guarantee 3 over three weeks, but I cannot see any clear improvement in how far I can shoot the ball. This is likely due to my shot mechanics, as the Pro Shooting System suggests. However, I do like it as a tool that can help improve the strength in both arms and can be used indoors without a basketball. This was particularly helpful during the recent California rain storms.
The Guarantee 3 is like a belt that adds resistance to your hands and arms with resistance bands. Thus if you practice your shooting motion or dribbling with it, you can imagine how your body can become stronger this way.
I was given a Guarantee3 review sample by Kristen Lavoie at ChicExecs. I also talked to Dave Felkel, the inventor, over a phone call. Both were very nice. Dave mentioned that the dribbling use for Guarantee3 is not necessarily just for strengthening your dribble – it also gets you used to dribbling low to the ground, a bit like the Dribblepro Training Basketball.
It is also great in that you can watch TV and work out without affecting anyone (noise, furniture damage).
I never experienced muscle soreness while using the band, even though I used the shortest band to create more difficulty and did many more reps than suggested. The workout entails 30 reps increasing gradually to 60 reps. I did 150+ reps 5 days a week for 3+ weeks before the strap on the hand tore (shown below) off – I had planned to continue this for six weeks.
In addition, the bands created so much friction on my arm as to eventually cause bleeding (I wore an arm band to stop further injury).
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Steve Nash’s 20 Minute Workout, a shooting workout featured in his MVP Basketball Fundamentals DVD set, is the most important part of my shooting practice and worth purchasing. Particularly as I am older (35 years old now), I don’t necessarily have hours to put in for a complete practice session. Thus, this workout does a great job of getting me ready for games and really helping me understand what kind of shots I should feel comfortable with in game situations. I have been using it for years, and I appreciate how much it focuses my practice rather than just having me shoot shots around the court.
You can buy the Steve Nash MVP – Basketball Fundamentals DVD set on Amazon (it was released in 2007) with all the training tips, or just watch the shooting workout above.
For more of my basketball training product reviews, click here.
After over a decade of trying different ways to shoot, reading tips, training with different devices, the Pro Shot Shooting System is the only thing I recommend for experienced shooters (not necessarily great ones, just those who are more mature / set in mechanics and in their playing). It is completely free and resulted in clear results for me, not only in practice, but in games. You can watch the following two videos to learn more as well:
I have been studying shooting in efforts to shoot better on a more consistent level for well over the last decade. Luckily, the Internet has made more of this information accessible. Unluckily, much of the information is opinion and as I would try things, I could not tell what was working.
I have tried numerous devices over the years, all with arguable effect. Overall, I never found anything truly worthwhile until I started reading 10 Shooting Lies on FocusedShooter.com. (Ignore the visual mess of the website) What I really like about the Lies article is that Paul Hoover, the author, does not simply state his opinion. He shows video footage of NBA players (good ones) doing all the things that he discussed. Thus, when one lie is staying square to the basket, he shows how no one actually does this. Same thing for jumping straight up and down during the shooting motion (everyone sweeps their feet).
In addition, practicing the Pro Shot Shooting System does not require any new devices or purchase. You can download a 150 page PDF file (you can read it very quickly to understand what needs to be done) for free.
Once I read the article, and started trying these tips, I immediately (within one session) could see more consistent strength and accuracy on shots. Unlike any training device I have tried, it is indisputable that I am better when I practice under the System. It does not require any training devices, and when I notice myself out of form, I read the PDF again to make sure I have all the key tips in my mind as I shoot and I find that I can quickly rediscover the right form. However, two things I still cannot do are shoot with one finger (like Kobe Bryant) and focus on the ball’s flight path while shooting.
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The Baden SkilCoach Heavy Trainer Rubber Basketball is not worth purchasing. From my experience, the rubber surface tore up my fingertips to the point of bleeding, and I could not see any marked improvement in shooting range from shooting the ball. If I were to try a heavy basketball again, I might try one of Spalding’s weighted balls with a composite cover that would cause less pressured friction on my finger tips.
The Baden Heavy Basketball has a sharp rubber surface and my problems with it remind me of when the NBA tried to stop using leather balls several years ago and players complained how their fingers got cut using the ball. Using the 29.5 inch, 40-44 oz (3.5 pounds) ball, I developed blisters and had to stop shooting for weeks at a time. Later, these blisters tore up when I used the ball again, and fingers would bleed with use.
Despite this, my extensive time training with the ball never resulted in any improvements in my shooting range. It’s definitely much heavier than a normal basketball. During shots outside a few feet, I would airball most of the time, and this was on a slightly low court (rim 9.5 feet high).
(Note: I initially reviewed the Baden basketball nearly 4 years ago. I am revisiting the review and condensing it for easier consumption in this new article as well as reviewing what I wrote, removing biases with hindsight. For more of my basketball training product reviews, click here)