For those looking for answers on how to improve basketball ball handling drills, the solution is both straightforward and somewhat complicated at the same time. The short answer is that you should practice dribbling as often as you can. But spending hours on the basketball court dribbling between shots may not cut it if you are looking to take your game to the next level. Fortunately, there are some simple drills that you can do to develop the skills you will need to become a nightmare for opposing defenses when you put the ball on the floor.
First though, it’s important to keep in mind that the best way to ensure that the skills you develop in practice will translate to a competitive game is to practice in the same way that you would play in such a game. That means you have to keep the fundamentals in mind at all times–dribbling with your fingertips (not your palms), dribbling hard to minimize the time the ball spends out of your hands, keeping your head up, and staying low to the ground.
In her book, Coaching Girls’ Basketball Successfully, Jill Prudden writes that she instructs her players to start off at a slow, easy pace and then build from there until they are practicing at a near-frantic pace. Prudden notes that players who don’t push themselves out of their comfort zones will never progress beyond the easiest stages, but she also points out that just 10 to 15 minutes of dedicated dribbling practice every day can lead to significant improvement.
With all of that in mind, here are a few basketball ball handling drills that will help anyone looking for answers on how to improve ball handling in basketball.
All of the dribbling practice in the world won’t help very much if you only practice with your strong hand. Good ball handlers need to be able to dribble to their right or their left in order to keep defenders off balance, so you need to develop strength and coordination in both arms. Practice this by dribbling hard with one hand, then quickly bouncing it to the other. Continue dribbling with the opposite hand for several seconds and then bounce it back, and then continue alternating between the two hands.
Between-the-Legs Dribble While Walking
Walk in a straight line, dribbling between the legs from one hand to the other as you go. Start off at a comfortable pace, and build up speed as your coordination improves.
Dribble Around Obstacles
Set up three or four obstacles anywhere from five to 10 feet apart (cones are great if you have them), then practice dribbling around each of them in different patterns. Try to improvise as you go rather than sticking to one movement or pattern.
These are basketball ball handling drills that Prudden recommends that is particularly useful for improving ball handling in transition. Starting from different spots on the court, you simply dribble to the hoop and finish with a layup. Simple, right? But here’s the catch: you are limited to just one dribble from the free throw line, two dribbles from half court, three dribbles from three-quarters of the court, and four dribbles from full court. Practice from each of the four spots until you are comfortable attacking the hoop from anywhere on the basketball court.
Dribble With Two Basketballs
Finally, you should practice dribbling with two basketballs at the same time (one in each hand). Dribbling a basketball in both hands will not only improve your hand-eye coordination on each side, but by dribbling hard you will also increase your hand and arm strength quickly.
If you perform these basketball ball handling drills regularly, you’ll be a nightmare for opposing defenses in a short time!