Former basketball player Gaafar ElSouri was a dual-sports athlete competing in both basketball and football. Dubai-based since 2014, ElSouri started his career in Saudi Arabia with Al-Hilal club and his basketball career included stints in Europe, Southeast Asia and Canada.
A serious knee injury last year left him on the sidelines and needing to rebuild his fitness to get his career back on track. His torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) required him to have full reconstructive surgery on his knee, which made him more determined than ever to get back on the court. ElSouri designed himself a workout programme of both fitness and drills to get him back in peak condition.
In a series of videos, coinciding with the NBA Playoff finals, ElSouri is documenting his road back to fitness, with the individual exercises you can do to get yourself in top condition. The second in the series focuses on dribbling exercises that aim to enhance your ball-handling skills. These drills can be done as a warm up, prior to a game to get your body ready to be in a triple-threat position. They can also be done to enhance the conditioning of your arms and legs while focusing on ball control.
In the pick of the bunch, ElSouri demonstrates figure of eight exercises. You too can practice by standing with your knees about shoulder-width apart and bend over slightly. With the ball in your right hand, pass it between your legs in a figure eight motion to your left hand. Swing the ball to the front and then pass it from your left hand back to your right hand through your legs. As with all ball handling drills, start slowly and increase your speed as you get more comfortable. When you’re confident enough, add in another ball and keep the two going simultaneously. Another exercise ElShouri does is the two-ball front V dribble.
Here you move your upper body along with the ball. When you’re doing this drill, it’s important to note the rhythm of the ball. The aim of the exercise is to keep both balls bouncing in front of you, and also passing one through your legs, while remaining in control.
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