9+ Basketball Ball Handling Drills (Complete Guide)

When it comes to basketball, ball handling is an essential skill that every player must possess.

The ability to dribble the ball with precision and control opens up a world of possibilities on the court, allowing players to create scoring opportunities, break through defenses, and make accurate passes.

However, mastering ball handling requires consistent practice and dedication.

Below we look at a variety of basketball ball handling drills that can help players improve their dribbling skills and take their game to the next level.

The Importance of Ball Handling in Basketball

Before diving into the drills, let’s first understand why ball handling is critical in basketball.

Here are a few reasons why mastering this skill is essential:

  • Control: Good ball handling skills enable players to maintain control of the ball while moving, allowing them to navigate through defenders and execute plays effectively.
  • Scoring Opportunities: A player with excellent ball handling skills can create scoring opportunities by driving to the basket, executing crossovers, and performing other advanced moves.
  • Passing: Accurate passing is a fundamental aspect of basketball, and ball handling skills play a significant role in making precise and timely passes to teammates.
  • Breaking Defenses: Effective ball handling can help players break through tight defenses, opening up opportunities for themselves and their teammates.

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Drills to Improve Ball Handling Skills

Now that we understand the importance of ball handling, let’s explore some effective drills that can help players enhance their dribbling abilities:

1. Stationary Dribbling Drills

Stationary dribbling drills are an excellent starting point for beginners and can also be used as warm-up exercises for more advanced players.

These drills focus on developing basic dribbling techniques and improving hand-eye coordination. Here are a few examples:

  • Two-Ball Dribbling: This drill involves dribbling two basketballs simultaneously, one in each hand. It helps improve coordination and control over both hands.
  • Figure 8 Dribbling: In this drill, players dribble the ball in a figure 8 pattern around their legs. It enhances ball control and develops ambidexterity.
  • Spider Dribble: The spider dribble involves dribbling the ball between the legs in a spider-like motion. It improves coordination and agility.

2. Moving Dribbling Drills

Once players have mastered stationary dribbling, it’s time to incorporate movement into their drills.

Moving dribbling drills simulate game-like situations and help players develop the ability to dribble while on the move.

Here are a few examples:

  • Full-Court Dribble: Players start at one end of the court and dribble the ball to the other end while maintaining control. This drill improves endurance and dribbling under pressure.
  • Change of Direction Dribble: Players practice changing direction while dribbling the ball, simulating situations where they need to evade defenders. It enhances agility and quick decision-making.
  • Speed Dribble: This drill focuses on dribbling the ball as fast as possible while maintaining control. It helps players develop speed and control simultaneously.

3. Advanced Dribbling Drills

For players looking to take their ball handling skills to an elite level, advanced dribbling drills provide the necessary challenge.

These drills incorporate complex moves and combinations, pushing players to improve their dribbling creativity and versatility.

Here are a few examples:

  • Crossover Dribble: The crossover dribble is a fundamental move in basketball. Players practice executing quick and deceptive crossovers to create separation from defenders.
  • Between the Legs Dribble: This drill involves dribbling the ball between the legs in a smooth and controlled manner. It enhances coordination and ball control.
  • Behind the Back Dribble: Players practice dribbling the ball behind their back, improving their ability to protect the ball and execute unexpected moves.

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FAQs – Basketball Ball Handling Drills

1. How often should I practice ball handling drills?

Consistency is key when it comes to improving ball handling skills.

Aim to practice ball handling drills at least three to four times a week for optimal results.

2. Can ball handling drills be done alone?

Yes, many ball handling drills can be done alone.

However, practicing with a partner or in a team setting can provide additional challenges and opportunities for game-like scenarios.

3. How long should each ball handling drill session last?

The duration of each session depends on your fitness level and skill level.

Start with shorter sessions of 15-20 minutes and gradually increase the duration as you build stamina and proficiency.

4. Are there any specific drills to improve weak hand dribbling?

Yes, there are several drills specifically designed to improve weak hand dribbling.

Two-ball dribbling drills and stationary dribbling drills with a focus on the weak hand can help strengthen it over time.

5. Can ball handling drills help reduce turnovers?

Yes, practicing ball handling drills can significantly reduce turnovers.

Improved control and coordination allow players to make better decisions and execute passes and drives with greater accuracy.

6. How can I improve my dribbling speed?

To improve dribbling speed, focus on drills that emphasize quick and controlled movements.

Speed dribbles and change of direction drills can help enhance your overall dribbling speed.

7. Are there any drills to improve ball handling under pressure?

Yes, incorporating defensive pressure into your drills can help simulate game-like situations.

For example, you can have a partner play light defense while you perform various dribbling drills.

8. Can ball handling drills help with basketball IQ?

While ball handling drills primarily focus on improving technical skills, they indirectly contribute to basketball IQ.

As players become more comfortable with dribbling, they can focus on reading the defense, making better decisions, and executing plays effectively.

9. How long does it take to see improvement in ball handling skills?

The time it takes to see improvement in ball handling skills varies from player to player.

With consistent practice and dedication, noticeable improvements can be seen within a few weeks to a few months.

10. Can ball handling drills be incorporated into team practices?

Absolutely! Ball handling drills should be an integral part of team practices.

Coaches can incorporate various drills to improve the overall ball handling skills of the team and enhance their performance on the court.


Mastering ball handling is essential for any basketball player looking to excel on the court.

By incorporating a variety of stationary, moving, and advanced dribbling drills into their practice routine, players can enhance their control, scoring opportunities, passing abilities, and overall performance.

Consistent practice, along with the right mindset and dedication, will lead to significant improvements in ball handling skills over time.


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