The Best Ball Handling Drills

Ball handling/dribbling  is a VITAL part of the game of basketball.

Whether you’re a guard or big man, you need to be able to handle the ball well if you want to become a great player.

The best way to improve your handles is to perform ball handling drills regularly, as practice makes perfect.

Here is a list of the best dribbling drills that you can immediately implement in your workouts to drastically improve your handles.

Double Dribble Drill (alternate)

  • To perform this drill, stand at one end of the court, with two balls (one in each hand).
  • Start walking to the opposite baseline, and bounce the ball in your right hand.
  • As soon as it hits the floor, bounce the ball in your left hand.
  • Keep doing this alternate bouncing rhythmically until the you reach the opposite baseline.
  • Focus on keeping a good rhythm, and increase your pace as you get better with the drill.
  • Also, focus on keeping your head up and NOT looking at the ball.
  • This drill may seem simple, but it’s very effective (even NBA players and other pros regularly do this drill).
  • You can add variations to the drill as you become more advanced e.g. doing it while moving backwards.

Double Dribble Drill (simultaneous)

  • This drill is similar to the previous one, except that you dribble both balls AT THE SAME TIME instead of alternately.
  • You will not be able to move as quickly as the other drill, so focus on proper form.
  • Focus on keeping your head up and NOT looking at the ball.
  • Add variations to the drill as you become more advanced e.g. moving diagonally or backwards.

Around The World Drill

  • This is an extremely popular drill, often performed during the warm up phase of basketball practice.
  • To begin with, circle the ball around your head – start clockwise then switch directions.
  • Circle the ball around your waist – switch directions.
  • Bend at the waist, spread your legs about shoulder width apart and circle the ball around one leg – switch directions.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Finally, put both feet together and bend at the waist, circling the ball around your knees – switch directions.
  • Focus on keeping your head up and NOT looking at the ball.
  • This is a great drill because it will greatly improve your hand speed and feel for the ball.

Scissor Drill

  • Put your right foot in front of your left foot.
  • Begin bouncing the ball between your legs, from your left hand to your right hand.
  • As the ball gets to your right hand, switch your leg so that your left leg is now in front of your right leg.
  • Bounce the ball from your right hand to your left hand, and rhythmically repeat this process, switching your legs with every bounce.
  • Focus on keeping your head up and NOT looking at the ball.
  • Strive to get faster while maintaining proper form and without losing the ball!

Squat and Catch Drill

  • Squat down and hold the ball between your legs with both hands – your right hand holding the ball at the front, and your left hand holding it at the back.
  • Quickly switch hands so that your left hand is holding the ball at the front, and the right hand holding it at the back.
  • Repeat this drill as quickly as you can.
  • Focus on keeping your head up and NOT looking at the ball.
  • It takes a lot of practice to master this dribbling drill.

Crab Drill

  • Stand at one end of the court.
  • Bend at the waist and step forward with your right foot.
  • As you do this, pass the ball underneath your right leg from your left hand to your right hand.
  • Next, step forward with your left foot.
  • As you do this, pass the ball underneath your left leg from your right hand to your left hand.
  • Repeat this sequence until you get to the half-court line or the opposite baseline.
  • Focus on keeping your head up and NOT looking at the ball.
  • As you progress, try to sprint faster without losing the ball.

Figure 8 Drill

  • Bend your waist and spread your legs.
  • Move the ball through your legs in a figure 8 motion.
  • Think of it like your doing the scissor drill without bouncing the ball or switching legs.
  • Focus on keeping your head up and NOT looking at the ball.

Figure 8 Drill (Dribbling)

  • Similar to the Figure 8 drill but this time you dribble the ball as you go through the motion.
  • Focus on only using your fingertips when you dribble and try to dribble quickly.
  • Always keep your head up and don’t look at the ball.
  • This drill will dramatically improve your ball handling skills.

Multiple Defender Drill

  • This is a great drill to help you stay calm and dribble under pressure without turning the ball over.
  • Get two players to stand in front of you and guard you as you try to advance the ball past them.
  • The players should be aggressively guarding you, like they do during a trap play.
  • This drill will teach you to stay calm under pressure and find holes in the defense.
  • As usual, always keep your head up so you can find open teammates (simulating a real game situation).

Pass and Catch Drill

  • Using both hands, bounce the ball between your legs from the front to the back, and catch the ball with both hands behind you.
  • Next, using both hands again, bounce the ball through your legs from the back to the front, catching the ball in front of you.
  • Focus on keeping your head up and NOT looking at the ball.

Finger Tip Drill

  • Hold the ball with both hands in front of you, bend your elbows and pass the ball from one hand to the other, using only your fingertips.
  • As you become advanced, do the same thing but keep the ball above your head.
  • Try not to look at the ball while you do this drill.
  • This drill will build your fingertip strength and control, which is very important if you want to become a great ball handler.

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