7 Basketball Ball Handling Drills

Give these challenging, fun basketball ball handling drills a try and see how your ball control skills improve!

The secret to better dribbling and greater confidence is simple:

You've got to get the ball in your hands everyday!

These are just a few of the basketball drills you can do each day to improve your handles. And the best thing about them is you can do them at home in your own driveway.

basketball ball handling drills

When you first look at them, they may seem kind of strange because none of them are skills you would take directly out onto the court to use during a game.

But the purpose of these drills is to give you a fun way to get more comfortable with the ball in your hands.

By moving the ball around your body in different ways, you learn to know where the ball will be without looking at it, your fingers and hands become stronger, your reaction time gets faster, and your coordination improves.

And that's just for starters...

You're actually training your body to be able to move the ball around quickly, low to the floor, and in control without you having to think about it.

After you get the hang of the drills below, I suggest you keep your wokouts exciting by mixing it up with some of our other dribbling drills.

We've got lots to choose from!

Wall Dribble
Toss Up & Catch Behind
Bounce Front to Back
Kills
Spider
Windmill
Butterfly

More Basketball Ball Handling Drills #1
Wall Dribble

With the ball in your right hand, stand about a foot away from a solid wall, facing it. Using your right hand, dribble against the wall, starting about head height.

Keep the ball on the pads of your fingers. Don't slap it or hit it with your palm. Keep your wrist relaxed and flexible and work on quick small dribbles.

As you get more comfortable, work the ball up and down the wall from about face level to as high as you can comfortably reach.

Repeat the drill with your left hand.

More Basketball Ball Handling Drills #2
Toss Up & Catch Behind

Stand with feet about shoulder width apart. Hold the ball in front of your body with both hands. Toss it up in the air above your head and watch it with your eyes. As it comes down, try to catch it with both hands behind your body, catching it at your waist.

Tip:  Once you toss the ball, turn your body and move your hands behind your body with palms facing upward about waist height ready to catch the ball.

More Basketball Ball Handling Drills #3
Bounce Front to Back

Stand with both feet spread as wide as is comfortable. Hold the ball with both hands in front of your body and then bounce it once between your legs.

Once you release the ball, quickly move both hands to the back of your body and catch the ball as it comes through.

Once you have the ball in your hands at the back, push it back through to the front by bouncing it once between your legs.

Once you release the ball, quickly move your hands to the front to catch it.

Tips:

  • Make sure when you release the ball, it lands directly under your body, so it will bounce at a good angle for you to catch it.
  • And don't try to bounce the ball too hard! Otherwise, you won't forget this drill anytime soon!

More Basketball Ball Handling Drills #4
Kills

Stand with feet shoulder width apart, holding the ball in the right hand on the right side of the body. Dribble the ball about knee height 5 times.

After the 5th dribble, "kill" the dribble by meeting the ball as soon as it bounces off the floor the 5th time, but try to keep it alive by dribbling with very tiny quick dribbles. Try to keep the bounces as close to the floor as possible - no higher than ankle height.

After several of these tiny dribbles, try to bring your dribbles back up to waist height. The goal is to try to keep the dribble alive as long as possible.

It is very difficult to dribble the ball so closely to the ground. It really takes practice, so if the dribble dies, that is OK – at least you "killed" it.

Being able to adjust the height of your dribble quickly really helps you learn ball control skills.

Repeat the drill with your left hand.

More Basketball Ball Handling Drills #5
Spider

This is one of the most difficult basketball ball handling drills for beginners and small kids to do, so I'm going to the break the steps down.

Start with the beginning steps, and once you get the hang of the body movements and the rhythm, move on to the advanced steps.

Beginning

  • Start with legs slightly farther than shoulder width apart. Place the ball directly beneath your legs in the center of your body. Leave it there on the floor.
  • Both hands start in front of your body. By bending your knees, lower your body so you can touch the ball quickly with your right hand, then your left hand.
  • Immediately, move your hands behind your body and touch the ball by reaching from behind your back, first with your right hand and then with your left.
  • Quickly, move hands back to the front and repeat, then repeat from the back. Try to develop a rhythm as each hand touches the ball ("right-left front, right-left back"..."right-left front, right-left back").

Advanced

  • Once you get the hang of the rhythm, and you're able to repeat the movements comfortably, you're able to add the dribble.
  • With both hands in front, hold the ball in the starting position between your legs about a foot off the ground. Do a quick, little dribble with the right hand, then left hand.
  • Quickly reverse your hands to the back of your body and do a quick, low dribble with the right and then the left.
  • Reverse your hands back to the front and repeat. Try to keep up the "right-left front, right-left back"..."right-left front, right-left back" rhythm.

Tips:

  • This drill will be difficult and frustrating at first until you can get your hands and hips moving in sync. Here are some common troubles young people have with this drill:
  • Keeping the dribble alive is difficult. If you dribble too hard, it will bounce too high and hit your body. If you dribble too soft, the ball dies before you have a chance to reverse your hands.
  • Keep the ball bouncing directly beneath your body. Players have a tendency to dribble the ball too far in front of their body and when they try to reach it from behind, they can't because it's too far away. Focus on a certain spot on the floor and try to keep it bouncing on that one spot.
  • You really have to be willing to get down low and bend your knees like you're sitting in a tiny chair.
  • To get the timing right, keep your hands moving constantly. Once your right hand touches the ball up front, it should be moving immediately to the back while your left hand is touching it up front. As soon as your left hand touches it from the front, it should move quickly to the back while your right hand is already touching it from the back. If you wait to move your hands until they have both touched the ball, you will not be able to keep the dribble going.

More Basketball Ball Handling Drills #6
Windmill

Stand with legs wide apart. Start with the ball in both hands in front of your body. Take it around your right thigh to your right side and dribble it from behind with your right hand through the legs, catching it in front of your body with your left hand.

With only your left hand and without letting it hitting the ground, bring the ball over the top of your left thigh and around your left side so it is behind your body. Then dribble it forward through the legs, catching it with the right hand. Continue this motion making a "figure 8" pattern.

More Basketball Ball Handling Drills #7
Butterfly

This is just the reverse of the Windmill Drill.

Stand with feet wide apart. Start with the ball in both hands in front of your body. With your right hand, dribble it once through your legs from the front of your body to the back, catching it with your left hand behind your body.

With your left hand bring the ball around your left side back to the front and push it through your legs with one dribble to the back.

Catch the ball with your right hand behind your body, bring the ball around your right side back to the front and repeat.

Continue this motion making a "figure 8" pattern.


I hope you include these basketball ball handling drills in your regular youth basketball training. You'll definitely see your ball handling improve if you do!

How about challenging yourself with some basketball ball handling drills using 2 balls?

If you haven’t checked them out yet, see our "lazy" basketball ball handling drills where you actually get to work out while sitting down!


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