Every season, when I’m teaching ball handling skills, I will inevitably refer to an exercise as a “Pistol Pete drill.” I’m always amazed at how many of my players will ask “Coach, who is Pistol Pete?”
Pete Maravich was an American basketball player in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He grew up in Pennsylvania, where he got his nickname “Pistol Pete” as a freshman starter on his high school Varsity team. He played in college at LSU where his Dad was the head coach. He won the Naismith award in 1970, and he remains the All-Time leading NCAA Division 1 scorer with 3,667 points (in only three seasons) with an average of 44.7 points per game. In over 40 years since, no college player has ever beaten his scoring record, and that was all BEFORE they played with a three point line! ESPNU ranked him as the #1 NCAA basketball player of ALL TIME:
Check out this YouTube mix of great Pistol Pete clips:
Pistol Pete went on to a great 10 year NBA career, playing with the Atlanta Hawks, The New Orleans Jazz (before they went to Utah), and the Boston Celtics. He made the All-Star team 5 times, the All-NBA Team 4 times, and even led the league in scoring in 1977 (31.1ppg). He’s in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, yet many young basketball players have no idea who he is!
I was introduced to Pistol Pete through his “Homework Basketball” drills. My brother and I had tattered VHS copies of “Pistol Pete’s Homework Basketball” lessons and we watched them on Saturday mornings, practicing the drills before our summer league games at the Y. To mask the sound of dribbling basketballs in the house, we’d lay beach towels out on the hardwood floor and dribble on those as long as we could get away with it.
The clips are very dated. They were made in the early 80’s and they definitely look like it, but don’t be fooled-the exercises and drills presented here are a young ball handler’s treasure chest.Pistol Pete does a great job of breaking down the fundamentals into really basic, simple exercises that you don’t need a court or even a hoop to practice. They look fairly simple, but practicing these examples, like this dribbling mechanics drill below, even for just a few minutes a day will make you a noticeably better ball-handler in less time than you think.
Take a lesson from one of the best to ever play the game! Practice the above dribbling drills, even for a few minutes 4-5 times a week, and you will see a big difference in the way you play.