Supereffective Basketball Ball Handling Drills - Take Your Game to Next Level

September 01, 2021 7 min read

Supereffective Basketball Ball Handling Drills - Take Your Game to Next Level

As players move forward in their basketball career and pick up new skills, normal drills are not enough. The pro players need advanced ball-handling drills for basketball to compete on a national or international level.

We already have a post detailing beginner to intermediate level basketball dribbling drills and basketball shooting drills, so now it’s time for us to share some power dribbling and two-ball drills to take your players’ game to the next level.

Power Dribbling

A power dribble is where the player dribbles the ball at a very intense rate. The player must maintain the right posture while doing this and use the strength of their arms to dribble the ball. This kind of dribbling is used to retain possession of the ball before the player puts it in the basket to score.

Here are some of the power dribbling basketball drills that your players can benefit from:

1. Power Crossovers

This is a basketball ball-handling drill to teach the players how to keep possession of the ball when they have it.

  • Ask the player to start at the center of the court.
  • They have to power dribble the ball with one hand and then quickly pass it over to the other hand.
  • Repeat this for one minute, rest for 30 seconds and then do the next rep.

The goal is to increase the speed and force of dribbling and reduce the time of exchanging hands during dribbling.

2. Blind Dribbling

This is a drill to improve the ball-handling skills of basketball players while they have to keep an eye on the player in front of them. This will teach them how to handle the ball while they keep an eye (or both eyes) on the opponent trying to steal the ball from them.

  • Blindfold the player and give them a ball.
  • Ask them to power dribble the ball for one minute with one hand and then with the other.
  • To make the drill even more challenging, ask the player to move from one point to another while they are power dribbling the ball blindfolded.
  • For top-tier players, another ball can be added to the mix to heat things up.

The goal here is to give the player a sense of the tactile feedback of the ball and make it easier for them to handle the ball effectively without seeing it.

3. Alternating Dribbles

Alternating dribbles is a ball-handling drill for basketball that is focused on building muscle memory for the change in speed of dribbles that is needed in the game.

  • Ask the player to start at the center of the court with one hand extended and the other in a dribbling position.
  • Ask them to start dribbling and then you should shout the commands ‘slow’ and ‘power’ randomly.
  • The player has to adjust the speed of their dribbling as per the command.
  • Continue this for as long as the player can do it.

Basketball handling skills that are needed to react timely to the changing conditions of the game can be instilled into the players’ minds and muscles by alternating dribbles.

4. Walking Dribbles Between Legs

Pro players need to master ball-handling not only when stationary, but also while moving and this is a drill for that.

  • Position the player at the start of the court with a ball.
  • Ask them to power dribble the ball between their legs while they move towards the other end of the court.
  • Give them commands, asking them to speed up, slow down, or start running, all the while power dribbling the ball between their legs.
  • The drill can be made more challenging by using a weighted or flat ball.

This drill aims to teach the player how to handle the ball with the varying pace of their movement as required by the game.

5. Sprint Power Dribbling

No amount of ball-handling skills in basketball is enough if the player does not have the strength. This one aims to make the player able to efficiently handle the ball under immense physical pressure.

  • Position the player at the start of the court with a basketball to start.
  • The drill starts with the player power dribbling the ball and moving to the nearest foul line.
  • They then return to the starting point and sprint to the middle of the court, while power dribbling.
  • Next, the player sprints to the baseline, while dribbling and then goes to the farthest point of the court and then returns to the baseline.
  • This counts as one complete cycle. Encourage the players to do as many cycles as they can in one go.

You can make the drill more challenging by using a flat or weighted ball.

6. Dribbling in Shapes

Learning to dribble and handle the ball while standing or moving in a line is important, but the game often needs the players to change direction while dribbling. This is one of the ball-handling drills for basketball for learning that skill.

  • Place three cones in the court, spaced 10 feet from each other.
  • The player starts at one end of the cones and power dribbles in circles around the cones.
  • You can ask them to do it in the shape of “8” or any other shape you can think of.

7. Off-Court Dribbling

When a player gets good at dribbling the ball on the court, make them even better with this one. You’ll have to go out of the court for this, as the name suggests.

  • Take your players to a ground area with loose dirt.
  • The players have to dribble in the dirt as fast they can and for as long as they can.

As dirt is not a very bouncy surface, this will make the players use excessive force to dribble the ball. Ultimately, they will be able to dribble harder and faster than any player who has trained on the court.

You can use all or some of these drills to make your players good at handling the ball. However, in the competitive sport that basketball has become, you need to get the ball-handling innovative to make sure your players know better than the opponents how to handle and manipulate the ball.

That’s where two balls can help you. Once your players have mastered the art of handling one ball, turn things up a notch and have them play with a couple of them.

Two-Ball Basketball Ball Handling Drills

1. Double Ball Power Dribbling

To make the players able to dribble the ball equally well with both their hands, this is an awesome drill.

  • Start with the player positioned at one end of the court with two balls.
  • They have to power dribble the balls simultaneously below knee height.
  • Ask them to move to any location in the court while dribbling both balls.

This seems simple but is, in fact, one of the most difficult drills. As the player cannot see both balls at a time, this makes it possible for them to handle the ball without looking at it. This basketball ball handling drill will also make it possible for the player to dribble the ball with their non-dominant hand.

2. Two Ball Single Move Box Dribbling Drill

The goal of this basketball ball-handling drill is to improve ball-handling skills while moving around athletically and staying low. You’ll need two basketballs and four cones for this drill.

Drill Setup

  • Make a box with four cones, placing each of them 10 feet from the other.

Drill Execution

  • The player needs to start at one of the cones with two basketballs in their hands.
  • On your signal, the player starts dribbling the balls and moves towards the cone in front of them.
  • At the next cone, they break the pace, exchange the balls (right-hand ball to the left and vice versa), and slide laterally to the next cone while dribbling both balls.
  • At the next cone, the player does a crossover move and the backpedals to the third cone.
  • At the third cone, the player does one more crossover and moves to the fourth/starting cone and does one last crossover.
  • This counts as one complete cycle of the drill and the player can do as many as their fitness level allows.

Coaching Suggestions

  • Instruct the players to stay low and dribble the ball as low as they can.
  • Encourage the players to be athletic and unpredictable when they change directions during the drill.
  • The player can choose the move they do at each of the cones, but they have to decide it before the start of the drill.
  • Coach the players to keep their eyes up during the drill and not to be afraid of making a mistake.

3. Two Ball Box Dribbling

The goal of this drill is the same as the previous one and most of the instructions are also the same. This one focuses on building stamina while doing all that is done in the previous one.

Drill Setup

  • Same as the previous one.

Drill Execution

  • Same as the previous one, but the player does not stop for rest at the starting cone; they keep going as long as their stamina allows for it.
  • You can command them to do a specific move at each cone.

Coaching Suggestions

  • Tell the players to stay low throughout the drill.
  • Make the players abrupt and explosive while making a turn or changing direction.
  • Ask the players to dribble the balls as fast as they can and time their cycles to see how their performance is affected by extended physical exertion.

4. Two Ball Mirror Dribbling Drill

The goal of this basketball ball handling drill is to develop handling skills in both hands while keeping eyes on the opponent. Here’s how this drill is set up and executed

Drill Setup

  • Position one player on the baseline and one several feet away from them, facing each other.
  • Both players need to have a basketball with them at the start.
  • Both players start dribbling their balls at the start of the drill.
  • The player at the baseline is the leader and can move forward, backward, or side-to-side at their discretion.
  • The other player has to keep an eye on the leader and mirror their moves.
  • On every change of direction, both players have to make a between-the-legs move.
  • Once the players reach the opposite baseline, the roles of the leader and mirror player are exchanged.

Coaching Suggestions

  • Instruct the players to keep looking in front of them for the entirety of the drill.
  • Make the players power dribble the balls as hard as they can.
  • Players should try their best not to crossover their feet and maintain an athletic stance throughout the drill.

To Sum Up

These are some of the most super effective basketball ball handling drills to take your game to the next level. These drills will not only help your players develop the skills needed to retain possession of the ball, but will also help them effectively handle the ball even when it is not in their direct field of view. The best thing about these drills is that you can easily modify them to your needs.