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27 Best Basketball Handling Drills At Home

November 8, 2020
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Ready to develop a wicked handle like the WNBA’s Chennedy Carter? Improve anytime with the best basketball handling drills to do at home!

Here we’ll share simple drills from NBA pro trainers, Steph Curry’s trainer, the Lakers’ Phil Handy and more, that really work. From wide ground touches to pocket dribbles and double between resets, see new ways to make your game more dynamic and unpredictable.

Just do these once a day to improve quickly and become impossible to guard. Seriously, anyone can get better at dribbling — it just takes focus and commitment. For example, when Breanna Stewart was out with her achilles injury she focused on dribbling drills. And the difference could be seen in her 2020 play, especially in her stunning finals performance.

Plus, the great news is that all you need for these drills are a basketball and a tennis ball, and a little bit of open space like a driveway or basement. So let’s get started on your basketball homework!

Discover the best basketball handling drills to improve your game (especially for guards)

Check out 27 of the best ball dribbling drills to work through. These drills can be done in isolation, or you can do them in a row. And they get progressively more challenging.

Quick ball handling tips

  • Be sure to dribble the ball as hard as you can for each one. While you’ll find this is hard to do at first, it will force you to improve your handle faster. And once you can be in control while pounding the ball hard, dribbling in games will be a piece of cake because each move will be tight. Push yourself!
  • Work on both hands. Try each drill with each hand. Spend more time on your less dominant hand.
  • Keep your eyes up. In a game, you won’t have the luxury of looking at your toes. Because a defender will be all over you, and you need to read them so you can take advantage of what they’re giving you. It’s OK to start by looking if you have to, but after three times through, no more looks allowed.

Let’s get after it!

1. Double ball bounce from Steph Curry’s personal trainer Brandon Payne

This drill will improve your focus and hand-eye coordination. We’re starting with this one because it really demands you think about basketball and nothing else. It’ll get your concentration up right away.

Start by dribbling a basketball with one hand. In the other hand toss your tennis ball up in the air and catch it. It’s OK to do both simultaneously a few times. But then, try to mix and match the rhythms.

Watch your breathing patterns to ensure you’re not holding your breath anywhere or belaboring your breathing. Ensure your posture is strong, with your back straight and knees bent. And check out your tempo, pushing yourself to go quickly. Then, make sure that the basketball and tennis ball are operating independently so that the speed of the tennis ball doesn’t dictate the speed of the basketball.

Advanced basketball dribbling drill version:

For a more advanced variation, try a bounce catch toss catch where you bounce the tennis ball in front of you, and then dribble the ball under a leg. Then bounce the tennis ball, and dribble under the other leg. Be sure that the basketball ball goes right under your knee, not your quad.

2. Wide ground touches

This one’s going to help get you loose. Do 20 crosses from side to side in front of you. Do a wide crossover and then touch the ground in front of you, with the hand that just sent the ball. Once you get the hang of it, you can pick up your speed a little bit. Make sure you’re dropping your butt, and getting your hips low. Not just leaning over. So try to keep your chest up and open. Send the ball as wide as you can get it.

Advanced basketball dribbling drill version:

For a more advanced variation, dribble the ball between each leg, rather than in front of you. Remember to take a deep breath, and then push yourself as hard as you can.

3. Dribble bounce cross over

This one’s a fairly easy drill that will build on the last two you’ve finished. For this ball handling drill, just dribble the ball in your right hand one time. Then cross over. And dribble in your left. Then cross over. And so on. The key is to really push your speed until you’re almost out of control. Do this for a minute and see how many you can get.

4. Dribble dribble three ways

For this drill you go in front of you, between your legs, and behind your back. Being with two low pound dribbles, then a front cross over, and bring it back. Followed by two low pound dribbles and between the leg and back. Up next, do two low pound dribbles and go behind the back and send it back. Then send it back and do the same series of three moves on your other side.

Run these sets of six through a total of three times. Picking up the speed as you can. You’ll notice this one is a little mentally taxing with the counting, which is good because in a game you’re going to need to think and act quickly!

5. Dribble jabs are one of the best basketball handling drills

For this one you’ll do 30 reps in each direction. Keep your chest up the whole time. Plant your right foot on the ground and quickly jab with your left foot by moving your foot out away from your body and then back in. This can help push a defender off you, and maybe break their ankles.

6. Pocket dribbles

A pocket dribble is when you dribble and pull the ball back to your hip, manipulating it. It’s a great protective dribble if a defender is reaching. It also allows your feet to start acting, meaning your whole body can drop or you can pivot. So this one small ball manipulation is one of the best basketball techniques for creating angles and open looks.

For this you’ll do one minute of reps. Stand facing a bench or something about knee height. Pocket dribble and reach your other hand out to touch the bench. Bounce the ball out wide giving yourself plenty of space to create off it. Get into a rhythm of two bounces and then pull. Be sure you’re keeping your back straight and chest up.

7. In and out through the legs with Nike Elite Camp

Up next try doing an in-and-out move and then dribbling through the opposite leg. Then switch. An in-and-out is essentially a fake crossover, where you bring the ball in and then explode it out in the same direction is just came from. Keep this rotation going for 30 seconds.

Advanced basketball dribbling drill version:

For a more advanced version, try it with a plastic bag on the ball. Actually, really any of these drills can be made more challenging by putting a bag on the ball.

8. Body wraps

Cross over the ball in front of you. Then cross it behind you. Keep your knees bent, your hips and your shoulders moving with you, and your chest up. Do this for a minute. Change the speed up, going faster as you get the hang of it. For a more advanced version, go through your legs, crossover behind your back, do a crossover in front, and run it through again.

9. Cross x 3 between from Coach Phil Handy from the Lakers

For this one, get in your stance, do three rapid low cross over dribbles. Then dribble the ball between one leg. And repeat. Once you have it down pat standing still, start walking forward with it. Be sure not to swing your head and shoulders around to the side. Instead keep your body looking forward and your chest up. Wrap up by repeating the same drill for your other leg.

10. Double between resets are one of the best basketball dribbling drills

Do this ball handling drill at home for thirty seconds. Just dribble the ball between one leg. Then jump to reset your body and dribble the ball between the other leg. Try to get in a rhythm, and keep it bouncy. Never resting flat on your feet. Switch sides, beginning with your left hand, for another thirty seconds.

11. Figure 8 side jab load to go with NBA trainer Jordan Lawley

Let’s introduce some more challenging footwork. For this drill, attack one direction, before switching to the other direction for 30 seconds. Do a figure eight, whipping the ball around your legs in the air. Then side jab. Up next, load to go and run in the other direction. Stop after two steps and bring the ball backwards through your leg. Dribble retreat backwards. Start the whole cycle all over again. Before switching to the other side.

More advanced basketball dribbling drills

12. Dribble leg ladder from Breanna Stewart’s workout with Pat The Roc

Keep working on your foot speed, and being light on your feet. Dribble the ball in your right hand, and move your left foot past a line on the ground and back out. Do that for a minute and see how many you can get. Challenge yourself by switching to the other side, dribbling with your left hand, and moving your right foot rapidly past the line and back.

13. Stationary between the legs

Keep your handles fresh with the ability to go between your legs no matter the situation. This one really gets your upper body moving. Just stand parallel with your legs spread, and dribble the ball from your right hand to your left, going between your legs. Then bring the ball around your back to the front of your body with your left hand, and send it back between your legs, over to your right hand. Just repeat that as many times as you can for a minute.

14. Retreat dribble, cross over, attack dribble

Often times as players were so focused on pushing the ball forward down the court, that we forget we can go backwards. This drill will help prepare you for high-pressure in the back court. Begin by taking three retreat dribbles: basically run backwards three steps and keep the ball with you. Then do a wide cross over. And sprint forwards three steps.

This series of moves will make you very unpredictable. Focus on keeping your shoulder down and your helping arm out wide to shove off defenders’ stomachs.

15. Between the leg cross overs

Pick one leg to begin. Dribble under that leg, then cross the ball over in front of it. And repeat. You’re going for speed here. But try to find your rhythm because that will help! Stay with it and when you start to feel tired, push through. Keep your chest and eyes up to build the muscle memory. Then after 30 continuous reps, switch to your other leg.

For a more advanced version, don’t move on until you can get 50 in a row with no mistakes or ball drops. For a more advanced version, do it with one hand. So you’re both throwing and catching the ball with the same hand.

16. Between the legs dribble with behind the back

For this ball handling drill begin with the ball in your right hand. Swing the ball to the left side, catch it with your right hand. Move the ball behind your back. Pass it to your left hand. Swing the ball to the right side. Catch it with your left hand. Move the ball behind your back. Pass it to your right hand. And repeat the series. Try to get 50 of these in a row with no mess ups.

17. Double behinds are one of the best ball handling drills at home

To do this basketball dribbling drill you’re just going to dribble cross over behind your back, going from right to left. And then sending it back again from left to right. Do this stationary 30 times. Before taking it to the next level by do it walking. Just take a step and send it back and forth. Remember to try to stay shifty. That means you need to send the ball fast, and precisely.

Basketball dribbling drills for guards

18. Skip, fake a drive, cross over

This is one of the best ball handling drills to do if you model your game after Allen Iverson. Get better at his killer crossover. Begin with the ball in your right hand and skip forward with your left foot. Then fake a downhill drive by taking a step to your right and lowering your body, especially your shoulders. Finish by bringing the ball into your left hand with a quick, wide cross over. Try 50 of these in a row.

19. The hesi

For this drill, just take two steps forward and step into the shot, as you would for a running jumper. Bring your elbows up, to bring up the ball in one hand. The drop your hips and ensure your eyes are looking up. And sink down low. Then spring one leg back, and push off and sprint forward for three dribbles. Finally, reset and the run the move through again. Do this 50 times in a row.

20. Foot stops

We’ll start with the cross foot stop. Just dribble the ball in your right hand, staying stationary. Then put your left foot out quickly. Before bringing it back in. Up next, do a same foot stop. Just move your right foot out quickly, and bring it back. Go as quickly as you can for 30 seconds. Up next, switch hands and try it with the left for 30 seconds.

21. Figure eights

Stand stationary with your body in a sitting-like position. Do finger bounces on the ball, keeping it low, below your knees. Move the ball in and out around your legs in a figure eight (or infinity sign) pattern. Start with your right hand, bringing the ball around your right leg. Then pick it up with your left hand once you’re under the middle part of your body. And use your left hand to guide it around your left leg. Keep at it until you hit 30 eights.

22. Between the legs, shift cross

Here you’re going from stationary to a quick shift. Start with the ball in your right hand. Just dribble the ball between your left leg to your left hand. And then cross the ball over back to your right hand. Cross the ball back over to your left hand. And shift your left leg outwards. Then send the ball back to your right hand, and start the cycle all over again. Do that 10 times through. Then go the other way, beginning with the ball in your left hand.

23. Shifty pull back

This great ball handling drill will make you a menace on the court! Start in a sitting type stance, with your feet a little wider than your shoulders. Step out and forward with your left leg in a wide stance. Try to get your right ankle almost to the floor. Then send the ball through your left leg. Then cross over the ball back in front of your body into your right hand, and pull your left leg back in. Just toe tap your left foot. Stay light on it, so you can easily pop your left leg out for the next rep. Do 30 of these and then switch to the other side for 30.

24. One handed side to side

Take a little breather with this drill. Sit low and keep your chest up. Put the ball in one hand, and move it side to side in front of you. Try not to look down. Do 30 of these, and then switch to your other hand. Then do the same thing but on your side, from front to back. Begin with your right hand. Do 30. And then do 30 with your left.

25. The zig zag dribble is one of the best basketball handling drills

Get moving again with the zig zag dribble. Take a couple dribbles in one direction. Go between the legs. And keep dribbling in the new direction you’re facing. Two bounces, and between the legs again. This helps you with a quick change of direction in a small, tight space.

26. Behind the back wrap

This is just a way to quickly get the ball away from a defender who is reaching. Take the ball in your right hand, and wrap it around the lower part of your back, releasing the ball. Make sure you’re pushing the ball all the way to the other side of your body, so that way you can beginning dribbling it with your left hand. Then take your left hand, wrap it around your back, and send the ball back to the right. Do 30 on each side.

27. The dribble spin pump fake by Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is notorious for this move. Throw the ball out for yourself. Catch it and plant your left foot. Take one dribble with your right hand and spin hard to your right, basically 360 degrees. Fake a shot by bringing the ball over your head. Then pivot back the other way and fake the shot again. Then start the drill from the beginning again. Do 30 reps.

Now you’re ready to kill them on the court. Remember to use your finger tips to control the ball, not the palm of your hand. And don’t get discouraged! Basketball is a game of angles, the more you work on yours by executing each of these drills with precision and speed, the better you’ll get.

Get a basketball ball handling drills PDF

Here are a few pages of basketball ball handling drills you can easily print off.

  1. Stationary ball handling routine: Nearly 30 drills from body circles to cross overs.
  2. 50 stationary basketball drills: Check out a complete list of exercises from double pounds at ankle height to one high and one low.

Everything you need to know about the best basketball handling drills

How can I improve my handling in basketball?

To improve your handling in basketball practice dribbling every day.

How long should you practice dribble drills?

You should practice dribble drills every day for 15 minutes. That’s enough time to get loose, and also learn something new. Make a routine of it by always beginning your basketball work outs this way.

What are the 5 basic skills in basketball?

The 5 basic skills in basketball are dribbling, shooting, passing, rebounding, and defense.

Do the best basketball handling drills in your home

Take your game to the next level by trying these ball handling drills in your home today. See how many you can get through. Then, the next day, try to get through at least one more. Up next, check out the greatest WNBA dunks of all time. And discover the best women’s basketball shorts this season from our sister company. When you buy a pair, you support our reporting.

Written by Megan Mitzel, youth basketball coach, and Founder of Queen Ballers Club.

If you enjoyed this, would you be willing to send a $5 tip to our Venmo tip jar because it helps us bring you the latest WNBA analysis? @megsterr.

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