I had the extreme pleasure of meeting former NBA basketball player and/Coach Henry Bibby when he was first introducing an innovative tool to improve player’s skills… the “Dribble Pro” basketball. Since I was familiar with the game of basketball being a former College and High School player, I decided to get on the court with Henry Bibby and try out the “Dribble Pro” ball. Here’s my article describing that very fun day.
No matter how proficient one is when playing basketball, even the top athletes know their skill level can always improve. Nowadays, kids who play ball might falsely believe they can be stars on the court without practicing the fundamentals of basketball like dribbling, shooting and rebounding; because the plethora of information and media blitz regarding basketball fills their heads with the glory, rather than all the hard work that goes into mastering a sport. Henry Bibby, former NBA player and winning coach of college and pro teams, wanted to go back to basics and invented the “Dribble Pro” basketball that provides a 3-in 1 training tool.
“Kobe Byrant was just quoted saying that the kids of today who play basketball in the United States don’t have the roots or fundamentals of the game. They want to go out and play as opposed to learn the key skills. The “Dribble Pro” basketball will make a difference in the children’s playing…it will give them an edge to really improve their game without needing a coach.”
I played basketball since I was a young girl. I was on the girl’s high school team and helped form the Boston University women’s teams back in the 1970’s. I am also a pickup game player and still love getting out there shooting the hoops. Basically though, I am self-taught and because I am athletic I learned how to shoot over my head. When Mr. Bibby watched me shoot the ball, he already diagnosed that my style was incorrect because I didn’t have a backspin to my shot plus I didn’t have the natural feel for hand placement. I am a good shooter but needed more precise skill development. This is one of the vital components of shooting a basketball correctly. The “Dribble Pro” nodules guide the shooter for accurate hand placement.
“The basketball player can either have someone throw them the ball, then they feel around so their hands don’t touch the nodules which will give them proper placement, or the person can sit in a chair and throw the ball up in the air, catch it and experiment with hand placement,” Henry said.
After a few demonstrations of how to shoot properly with “Dribble Pro”, Mr. Bibby handed me the ball to test my ability. The experts naturally catch, turn the ball, and find the seams… then flick their wrist and shoot. It felt unnatural at first, but then my hands got the feel for where the nodules were and I was able to improve that skill. Tyran Brown, former high school basketball player now a successful songwriter, and former college (UNLV) woman’s team player, Dominique Harris were also on the court to try out “Dribble Pro’s” effectiveness. The coach passed them the ball in a shooting drill and each one had the opportunity to test the nodules for hand placement.
“After using the ball for five minutes, I was able to see how it got my hands in the right position,” said Tyran. This ball can give kids an advantage in improving themselves because when you are young you are always vying for a spot to increase your strength as a player. I could see how “Dribble Pro” would help them become a triple threat because it helps you to dribble and rebound as well.”
Mr. Bibby complimented Dominique’s ball handling and said she had excellent hand placement on the ball. “I can tell she’s a shooter, “ Bibby said. “She didn’t look at the ball and found the seams naturally.” Dominique agreed with Tyran about the ball’s efficiency. “I like that it trains you and creates a good habit for ball handling. If you work with “Dribble Pro” at a young age the fundamentals will stick with you.”
My dribbling skills were put to the test too as “Dribble Pro” only allowed the ball to go 20 degrees away from my arm. I noticed that my dribbling stayed close to the legs and fairly low to the ground. When I practiced on a regular ball, I was aware of how my motor memory transferred over from the ‘Dribble Pro” ball to the regular one. This is a major goal of Henry Bibby’s usage of the ball. “Using the “Dribble Pro” ball changes the conscious thinking of the ball player. It makes dribbling and shooting the regular ball easier and smoother. It’s a self teaching device.”
The idea for “Dribble Pro’ basketball has been ten years in the making. Mr. Bibby has been quite busy with being the former champion coach of USC’s men’s basketball team, head coach of the LA Sparks as well as being the assistant coach for the 2013 Western Conference Semi-finalists Memphis Grizzlies. As demanding as his schedule has been, Coach Bibby never forgot about his mission with the innovative design. “This is the first summer I can finally put some work into my project and get the word out to everyone about what a great learning tool “Dribble Pro” can be. The ball is not only for kids learning the game but high school, college and even NBA players will benefit from using it.”
Like many creative inventions, the idea developed from an event that had a funny twist. Bibby was running a basketball camp one summer and his friend was lending him balls. When he went to pick up the balls at her house, all of them were lopsided. “I had ten lopsided balls but I used them anyway at the dribbling station and all the kids loved playing with them. I then got the idea of creating a special ball that when a kid dribbled, it would have a lopsided bounce which kept it close to the his or her body. I took the idea to a friend of mine who was an engineer and we began designing a ball with this concept in mind.”
Deciding how many nodules to put on the ball took two to three years in development, then figuring out how the nodules would stay on the ball took another few years and finally determining what angle the balls needed to bounce away from the dribbler in order to improve dribbling skills took another few years. Spaulding manufactured the “Dribble Pro” ball and the NBA endorsed the product.
Henry Bibby’s face shined with pride and happiness as he shared his basketball knowledge and wisdom with me and the two other basketball players, Tyran and Dominique. You could tell how much he loved the game and was determined that kids got the correct training, so they could get better.
“Dribble Pro brings back the fundamentals of this great game. I was a talented player but I was taught the fundamentals, which I had to practice, time and time again. That’s how I became a champion and I want this ball to provide the same type of training to all players who love the game.”
The ball can be purchased at DribblePro.com
A Video of Henry Bibby and Dribble Pro: