How to Improve Ball Handling by Basketball Drills

Basketball is a dynamic and fast-paced sport that requires a multitude of skills. Among these, ball handling stands out as a fundamental skill that every player, regardless of their position, needs to master. Effective ball handling can lead to more successful plays, better control of the game, and an overall improvement in your performance on the court. 

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of ball handling in basketball, discuss its significance, and provide you with a set of essential basketball drills to enhance your ball-handling skills. Let’s dive in and discover how to improve ball handling by basketball drills.

What Is Ball Handling in Basketball?

Ball handling in basketball refers to a player’s ability to control and manipulate the basketball with their hands. This skill involves dribbling, passing, and shooting, which are the core actions in a basketball game. Effective ball handling is vital for maintaining possession, creating scoring opportunities, and outmaneuvering opponents. It requires a combination of hand-eye coordination, ball control, and quick decision-making.

Essential Ball handling Drills

To improve your ball handling in basketball, you should incorporate a variety of drills into your practice routine. Here are some essential ball-handling drills that can help you become a more proficient player:

  • Stationary Dribbling: Stationary dribbling is the foundation of ball handling. By practicing dribbling while standing still, you can refine your control. Emphasize using your fingertips to maintain a delicate touch on the ball and work on maintaining a consistent rhythm. This drill also encourages ambidexterity, as you should use both hands, which is essential for versatile ball handling.
  • Two-Ball Dribbling: This advanced drill challenges your coordination and ball control. Dribbling two basketballs simultaneously demands heightened focus and hand-eye coordination. It’s an effective way to prepare for real-game situations where you might face pressure from defenders, making you more comfortable with handling the ball in tight spots.
  • Cone Dribbling: Cone dribbling involves setting up cones or markers in patterns on the court. This drill sharpens your ability to navigate around obstacles, mimicking defenders while maintaining precise ball control. It’s an essential skill for ball handlers who need to weave through tight defenses and maintain possession.
  • Change of Pace Dribbling: Mastering change of pace in your dribbling is a strategic advantage. By varying your speed and direction, you can keep defenders off balance. This not only creates opportunities for you to drive to the basket but also opens up passing lanes to set up your teammates effectively.
  • Reaction Drills: Defensive pressure is a reality in basketball, and reaction drills simulate this scenario. Partnering with a coach or teammate, you’ll react to their movements to practice protecting the ball under duress. This drill enhances your ability to maintain control while making decisions in fast-paced, unpredictable situations.
  • Off-Hand Development: Developing your non-dominant hand is a game-changer. Devote time to specific drills that strengthen your weaker hand. Becoming proficient with both hands makes you a more versatile and unpredictable ball handler, increasing your effectiveness on the court.
  • Passing Drills: Ball handling isn’t just about dribbling; it encompasses passing, too. By practicing various passes such as chest passes, bounce passes, and even flashy behind-the-back passes, you become a more complete playmaker. This skill set enables you to create scoring opportunities for your teammates and keep the defense guessing.

Tips on How to Improve Ball Handling by Basketball Drills

Mastering ball handling is a continuous process. Here are some tips to make the most of your basketball drills and enhance your ball-handling skills:

  1. Consistent Practice: Repetition is key in ball-handling improvement. Regularly integrating ball-handling drills into your practice routine is essential to build muscle memory and refine your skills over time. By consistently working on your dribbling, passing, and control, you develop a solid foundation that allows you to perform these skills effortlessly during games.
  1. Focus on Fundamentals: Paying close attention to the fundamentals is the cornerstone of advanced ball handling. This means honing your hand positioning, dribble height, and ball control. Mastery of these basics ensures that you have a strong and reliable skill set. A solid foundation in fundamentals makes you a more versatile and effective player on the court.
  1. Challenge Yourself: To truly improve, it’s crucial to challenge your limits. Progressively increasing the difficulty of your drills pushes you to adapt and develop your skills further. Whether it’s adding speed, complexity, or precision to your exercises, the more you challenge yourself, the more you’ll grow as a ball handler.
  1. Watch and Learn: Emulate the best by studying professional players who excel in ball handling. Analyze their techniques, moves, and decision-making. By incorporating aspects of their game into your own, you can gain new perspectives and strategies to apply on the court. Learning from the best can elevate your ball-handling skills.
  1. Play in Games: The ultimate test for your ball-handling skills is playing in real games. Applying what you’ve practiced in actual game situations exposes you to the pressures of competition. It forces you to make split-second decisions under real-time conditions. The experience gained in games is invaluable for refining your ball-handling abilities and making you a more reliable asset to your team, as recognized by the U.S. Basketball Association.
Frequently Asked Questions

Do Ball Handling Drills Help?

Ball-handling drills are essential for improving basketball skills. They enhance a player’s ability to control the ball, dribble, and make precise passes, resulting in better performance on the court.

What Are the Things That Ball Handling Can Develop?

Ball handling can develop agility, hand-eye coordination, speed, and overall basketball skills. It improves a player’s ability to drive to the basket, evade defenders, and execute various offensive and defensive strategies.

Why Is It an Essential Skill to Be Able to Control the Ball?

Controlling the ball is crucial in basketball as it allows players to maintain possession, execute plays, and create scoring opportunities. It also helps in minimizing turnovers and maintaining team momentum.

How Can I Improve Ball Handling Without Dribbling?

To enhance ball handling without dribbling, focus on hand strength and coordination exercises, such as fingertip control drills and stationary ball-handling routines. These methods improve ball control and handling skills.

Debunking Common Misconceptions

Misconception: Ball handling is all about fancy dribbling moves.

Reality: While flashy dribbling moves can be exciting, effective ball handling is primarily about fundamental skills like dribbling, passing, and controlling the ball. Being able to execute basic moves consistently and with precision is more valuable than flashy but unreliable tricks.

Misconception: You have to be exceptionally tall or physically gifted to excel at ball handling.

Reality: Ball handling is a skill that can be developed by players of all sizes and physical attributes. While height and athleticism can be advantageous, players with excellent ball control, hand-eye coordination, and basketball IQ can overcome physical limitations and be successful ball handlers.

Misconception: Ball handling drills are only for guards or point guards.

Reality: While guards often have a greater emphasis on ball handling, players in all positions can benefit from improving their ball-handling skills. Big men can become more versatile by developing their ball-handling abilities, allowing them to contribute to various aspects of the game.


These tips on how to improve ball handling by basketball drills provide a comprehensive guide to enhancing this fundamental skill. Consistent practice, a focus on fundamentals, and challenging oneself are key to becoming a more proficient ball handler. By following these guidelines and incorporating the suggested drills, players can elevate their performance on the court and make a significant impact on the game.

At Revolution Basketball Training, we understand the importance of honing your ball-handling skills. Whether you’re a proficient player or just starting, our training programs can help you excel on the court. Contact us today to elevate your game!

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