5 Keys to Improving Your Ball Handling

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Ball handling is one of the most important fundamentals in the game of basketball. While it might not be the same as scoring 30 points a night, being a steady and reliable ball handler is crucial to any good team. That’s why it is important for players to work on their handle every day, starting at a young age. Whether you are a point guard, wing or center, you can always afford to become a better ball handler. Here are five things to focus on when you are working on your ball handling.

Non-Dribbling, Dribbling Drills

That’s not a mistake, you can improve your handle by not even dribbling the basketball! Drills such as finger tip touches and ball wraps help you get a feel for the ball in your hands. The more comfortable you are with the ball in your hands, the less looking down you will have to do while dribbling, resulting in better court vision. Better vision on the court makes you a better guard. 5-10 minutes of stationary non-dribbling drills to start your workout will go a long way over time.

Use Two Basketballs

Using two basketballs allows you to work both hands simultaneously. Doing this forces players to work on their “off” hand, which many, especially younger players, avoid. Another key reason to utilize two ball dribbling is because it is challenging for most. It requires much more focus, which will make switching to one ball easier. If you can master two ball dribbling drills, you will be terrific with the ball in your hands.

Former NBA guard Jay Williams showing a two ball dribbling series at Hoop Group Skills Camp

Former NBA guard Jay Williams showing a two ball dribbling series at Hoop Group Skills Camp

Practice Full Court

When you finally do switch to one ball drills, use the entire length of the court to work on your change of direction handles. Going full court allows you to simulate game play, and work on your moves at a faster pace. Start at one baseline and use a different change of direction move every two dribbles. The more times you go up and down, the better you will feel when you are playing in live games. There is no such thing as too many reps!

Go Fast

The most common misconception players make when working out is it is bad to mess up; that is completely untrue. Players who don’t push themselves outside their comfort zone are actually preventing themselves from getting better. By going as fast as you can during every drill, you are training yourself to play at that speed, which will make it easier during games. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE A MISTAKE WHILE TRAINING!

Play Live Competition

When it comes to working on your ball handling, the only way to improve is to work on drills by yourself. Playing games will not help your handle get better, but it is a great place to practice all the work you have been putting in; playing in front of cones only goes so far. Use team practices or scrimmages to test your handle in a live setting before you test yourself in real game play. Make sure you put the work in by yourself first, then test yourself in a little live gameplay.

With school seasons just around the corner, players everywhere are working on their games this preseason. These five keys will help make your ball handling workouts the best they can be. While many of them may be simple for older players, they are still crucial for all players looking to improve their dribbling, and everyone can always improve their ball handling.