Back to all

The Best Dribbling Drills to Sharpen Your Basketball Skills

Updated on Jul 10, 2024
8 mins read
The Best Dribbling Drills to Sharpen Your Basketball Skills
The Best Dribbling Drills to Sharpen Your Basketball Skills

Basketball dribbling skills focus on reading and reacting to defenders. Dribbling is one of the first skills beginners learn and continues to be refined as players progress to the professional level, integrating it with other skills to optimize on-court performance.

There are hundreds of basketball dribble drills to help shape your players into a winning team. While no single drill stands above the rest, it’s essential to tailor workouts to your players’ experience levels. Start with basic dribbling activities for beginners and progress to advanced handling drills as players become more comfortable. If you’re looking for a way to improve your cognitive training all while working yourself to the physical limits, try BlazePod’s catalog of dual training drills. Tracking their progress is simple with Pods and innovative app.

We’ve compiled a list of ten fundamental basketball drills, ranging from basic to advanced. Many of these drills can be practiced at home, allowing players to continue improving even without access to a gym or open space.

If you’re wondering, ‘What are dribbling drills in basketball?’, ‘How to dribble fast in basketball?’, or ‘What are the three types of basic dribble in basketball?’ Keep reading to get a full breakdown of dribbling drills for basketball.

How to Get Better at Basketball

Getting started in basketball doesn't require much, but the key to enjoying the game lies in improving your skills and applying them effectively. Mastery boosts players' confidence and makes them vital team members.

Consistency is crucial when developing new basketball skills. No one becomes an expert overnight, so players must be dedicated and willing to put in the effort to continually develop their abilities.

Dribbling Training Basketball

Most experts agree that mastering ball handling is essential for every basketball player. This fundamental skill is crucial for protecting the ball, driving toward the hoop, and creating distance from opponents.

When practicing various dribbling drills, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use your fingertips to dribble: This offers better control and enables quick adjustments at full speed.
  • Keep the ball between your body and the defender: Use your non-dribbling hand to maintain distance without making illegal contact.
  • Keep the ball low: Dribble between your knees and hips to make it harder for defenders to steal.
  • Keep your head up: Learn to dribble without looking at the ball, allowing you to stay aware of teammates and opponents on the court.

Basketball Passing

Passing is another fundamental skill essential for basketball players at any level. Teams proficient in passing can secure easy baskets and have a smoother offensive game by quickly and frequently moving the ball to find openings.

Developing passing skills begins with enhancing reaction time. The passer must act swiftly when the opportunity arises, while the receiving player should quickly react to the incoming ball and handle it with precision.

Basketball Shooting

Dribbling and passing are crucial basketball skills, but they mean little if players lack proper shooting mechanics. Teams win by outscoring opponents, and the key to becoming a great shooter is understanding and developing correct shooting form.

A basketballer shooting a hoop

Shooting also demands a positive mental attitude and confidence. Players with these traits can stretch the defense, creating driving lanes for attacking the hoop.

Tips for Improving Your Shooting Technique

  • Correct your shooting technique to avoid bad habits.
  • Perfect your follow-through on shots.
  • Ensure a proper grip by spreading your fingers and balancing the ball in one hand.
  • Deliver the shot smoothly with a relaxed wrist.

Work on Your Weaknesses

Weaknesses in basketball don’t define you; they highlight areas for improvement. Great players see these as opportunities to grow. Instead of yielding to weaknesses, they work on improving them.

To address your weaknesses, make a list of areas you believe need improvement. Have someone observe you to identify which of these are truly weak points.

How to Improve Dribbling in Basketball

Do you want to know how to be a good ball handler? Dribbling and ball-handling skills are crucial for moving the ball up and down the court. Though often used interchangeably, even by coaches, these terms differ significantly.

Dribbling is about maintaining possession of the ball, which can excite fans but often stagnates the offense and allows the defense to rest. Essentially, excessive dribbling focuses more on individual play rather than team success.

A basketballer dribbling around the court

Ball handling, on the other hand, combines good dribbling skills with effective passing and receiving. Great ball handlers avoid over-dribbling, instead creating opportunities for teammates and making timely, accurate passes.

Dribbling Drills Basketball for Beginners

These basketball dribbling drills are perfect for beginners. They are simple, non-competitive, and create a foundation for more advanced skills.

Wraps Around Waist and Ankle

A proper warm-up is crucial before starting drills. This exercise prepares players for the rigors of practice. From a stationary position, have players wrap the ball around their waist, then around their ankles. Repeat for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch directions.

Pound Dribble

The pound dribble is a popular move on the court. Advanced players use it to change direction and deceive defenders. This drill is simple and fun for beginners. Players should stand straight, dribble the ball hard while keeping their head and chest up, and use their entire body (arm, shoulder, and core) to generate force. Vary the exercise by dribbling at different heights (ankle, waist, shoulder) and switching hands for a balanced workout.

Regular Crossover

The crossover is essential for maintaining ball control under pressure. It improves speed, fingertip control, and accuracy. Players should stay low, dribbling the ball from right to left in a V-like motion. This keeps the ball away from defenders. Have players skip back and forth while dribbling, and once mastered, introduce crossovers through the legs.

Front-to-Back Drills

The front-to-back dribble is similar to a crossover but moves the ball from front to back. These drills are often used together. Players should bend their knees slightly and dribble from front to back for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each hand.

Basketball Handling Drills for Intermediate Players

These basketball dribbling drills are ideal for intermediate players. They build on basic skills, introducing more complexity and competition to enhance overall performance.

A basketballer practising his skills using a cone

Basketball Dribbling Obstacle Course

Using cones or other obstacles for dribbling drills is excellent for building players’ agility and footwork. Set up 5-10 cones in a straight line and have players slalom through them while dribbling. For variation, have players walk alongside a gymnastic bench while dribbling, sprint between cones, or run over boxes.

Tennis Ball Dribbling Drill

This drill enhances ball control and coordination. Players dribble laterally with one hand while catching and throwing a tennis ball with the other. To add intensity, throw the tennis ball over the player’s head, directly at them, or low to the ground. Switch hands after 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Two-Ball Dribbling Drills

Dribbling with two basketballs helps improve both hands and overall ball handling. Here are some drills to try:

  • Two-Ball Same Time: Players dribble both balls simultaneously, maintaining the same rhythm and keeping their heads up.
  • Two-Ball Varied Height: Players alternate between high, slow dribbles and low, fast dribbles with both balls.
  • Two-Ball Alternating Dribble: Also known as the piston drill, players dribble the balls at different times, improving hand-eye coordination and ball control.
  • Two-Ball Crossover Drill: Players bounce both balls at the same time, then switch them to the opposite hands, ensuring the balls don’t touch.
  • Two-Ball Weave Dribble: Players dribble two balls while weaving through a line of five cones or chairs, alternating between forward and backward dribbles.

Figure 8s

The figure 8 drill improves hand speed and ball control. Players take a wide stance, dribble the ball between their legs in a figure 8 pattern, and switch leg positions after each dribble. Start slow and build up speed for the best results.

Advanced Ball Handling Drills Basketball

These dribbling exercises for basketball drills are perfect for advanced players. They build on intermediate skills, introducing greater complexity and competition to further enhance overall performance. If you’re an advanced player and are wondering ‘How to dribble a basketball like a pro?’ or ‘What is the hardest dribble move in basketball?’ Look no further.

Kyrie Irving Double Behind the Back Crossover

Named after Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, the Double Behind the Back Crossover is one of the most iconic and effective moves in NBA history. Irving considers this move crucial for escaping difficult positions. When executed precisely, it often leaves opponents off balance, providing valuable time to change pace or direction.

Here is how to execute the Kyrie Irving Double Behind the Back Crossover:

  1. Start by dribbling with your left hand, then quickly switch to your right hand.
  2. Perform the first crossover behind your back from your right hand to your left, simultaneously taking a jab step with your left foot. This jab step deceives the defender into thinking you’re heading that way.
  3. Perform the second crossover by wrapping the ball around your waist and pushing off your left foot to take off.

Jump Shot

The jump shot is one of the most important techniques in dribbling for professional basketball players, involving shooting the ball from a straight vertical jump towards the rim. Though seemingly basic, perfecting the jump shot is complex and takes time. It’s challenging for defenders to block because it’s executed above their heads, increasing scoring chances.

Basketballer making a jump shot

Steps to Execute a Jump Shot

  1. Start by bending your knees with the ball in front of your forehead. Align your elbows and feet towards the basket.
  2. Place your dominant hand under the ball and the other hand on the side.
  3. Jump straight up without moving forward or backward.
  4. At the top of your jump, snap your wrist and extend your arm to shoot the ball towards the basket.
  5. Land on the same spot and prepare for the next move.

Players should be aware of their range and train to be perfect targets for passers. Upon receiving a pass, they should aim to shoot quickly.

Top coaches, trainers, and athletes across basketball, soccer, football, and MMA are avid fans of the BlazePod training system. These Bluetooth-enabled light-up pods add flash reflex training to your drills, making them a valuable investment for coaches aiming to enhance agility, speedy footwork, dexterity, and quick decision-making in their players.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are handles in basketball?

Handles in basketball refer to a player's dribbling skills and ability to control the ball with precision. Good handles allow players to maneuver effectively around defenders and create scoring opportunities.

What is the primary purpose of dribbling in basketball?

Ball handling in basketball involves controlling the ball through dribbling and skillful passing. Great ball handlers master the art of maneuvering the ball with both hands, enhancing their control and fluidity.

Who is the best offensive player in the NBA right now?

As of the 2023 - 2024 season, Luka Doncic leads as the best offensive player in basketball with 33.9 Points Per Game (PPG), followed by Giannis Antetokounm with 30.4 PPG and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 30.1 PPG.

How to improve kids' basketball dribbling?

Coaching young players is rewarding because they are impressionable and eager to learn. However, this also means they can easily pick up bad habits when learning youth basketball dribbling drills.

A team of basketballers practising dribbling

Organize practice sessions meticulously, plan activities down to the minute, and arrive early to explain them. Most importantly, keep the sessions fun to maintain their interest and enthusiasm.

What is the essence of stationary drills in basketball?

Stationary drills, performed without moving the body, are crucial for teaching young players to dribble while keeping their heads up. These drills build confidence and expand ball control.

What is the size of a basketball court?

A standard basketball court measures 91.86 feet in length and 49.21 feet in width, with a total playing area of 4,520.43 square feet.