The SKLZ Control Basketballs are a great tool for developing better ball handling abilities. The 3 tier system allows for players to train at each end of the force velocity curve, which can lead to improved dribbling speed as well as enhanced coordination.
Below is a brief description of how we use the contrast balls at PJF Performance:
Using a weighted ball to improve dribbling speed is similar to using hill sprints to improve sprint speed. We are adding resistance to the specific movement to enhance force production at task-specific angles.
We use the weighted basketball for dribble force development. We particularly like the SKLZ weighted ball compared to others because the weight is just enough to provide a good strength stimulus without being so heavy that valgus elbow stress becomes an issue.
We use the Light Weight Control Ball for rate of force development. The light weight ball allows you to dribble at higher speeds because of the decreased weight of the ball, which trains the nervous system to recruit muscle fibers at a faster rate.
Using a light ball to train is based around the same principle of decline hill sprints. Many studies have shown that using a slightly declined hill (around 10% degrade) can lead to improved sprint speed by training the nervous system to recruit muscle fibers at a faster rate.
The Official Weight Control Ball is a small basketball that has identical weight to a normal ball. The purpose of training with this ball is to enhance hand eye coordination.
Many players, including Steve Nash have been known for dribbling a tennis ball because of the hand eye coordination benefits associated with small ball dribbling. The Official Weight Control Ball allows you to practice all of your in-game moves while challenging your hand eye coordination and finger tip control.
At PJF Performance we usually use the SKLZ balls independently with the goal of either 1) Increase dribble force production (heavy ball), 2) Increased dribble rate of force development (light ball), or 3) Hand eye coordination enhancement (official weight ball). However, The SKLZ Control Basketballs can also be used in succession to stimulate a post activation potentiation effect. We often use the Heavy Control Ball for a set, rest, then use the light ball for a set. The idea is to activate your nervous system/muscle fibers maximally through heavy ball training, then utilizing the lighter basketball to train in this activated state to reach new levels of dribbling speed.
It’s important to note that studies have shown conflicting results with post activation potentiation, and there seems to be a high level of variability. Some test subjects significantly benefit from PAP, while others show no results. That being said, we have been pleased with the results we’ve seen when using the Control Balls as a tool for Post Activation Potentiation.
SKLZ Control Basketballs are a versatile tool that can be used to improve ball handling and even passing. We’ve been happy with the results we have seen and we’re excited to come up with new ways to use this valuable tool!