Ball handling is a core skill for any guard to have, it allows them to run the offense & get where they want on the court. With that said, ball handling is one of those skills that requires constant work to be good at, but it's going to be worth every drop of sweat.
Today we'll be sharing our top 4 most effective ball handling drills to hopefully help you get a faster & more controlled handle on the court!
Good Habits to Practice When Working On Your Ball Handling
Before we get into the drills, here are some good habits to work out while you're working on your handles:
1. Eyes Up
This is one to keep in mind, when you're dribbling to ball it's always important to look up and ahead so that you have a full view of the court & your teammates. It will take some getting used to but this habit is a MUST for any ball handler!
2. Keep Low & Dribble Hard
When you lower your posture & pound the ball hard, you are effectively minimizing the time that the ball is not in your hands, this allows you to keep the ball safe & makes it harder for the defense to go for a steal. It also allows you to react quicker and make faster moves to get past your defenders, so make sure you keep this in mind when practicing your drills.
3. Don't Be Afraid to Mess Up
Don't worry if you're messing up or losing the ball in your drills! This means that you're out of your comfort zone & is a sure-fire way to improve your ball handling quickly. It takes a lot of work to become a proficient ball handler, so keep at it & you'll see the results in no time!
4. Work Both Hands Equally
When training your ball handling, it is important to pay equal if not more attention to your non dominant hand. It is quite common to see players only focusing on their dominant hand & neglecting their off hand. A good guard should be equally effective going left or right. Working equally on both hands eliminates another weakness in your game!
5 Effective Drills to Improve Your Ball Handling
1. Stationary Power Dribble Crossover: A simple drill to build speed & power on your crossovers. Add this drill to develop a quick killer crossover that will leave your defenders in the dust!
How to Perform:
- Start with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart and sink your hips back
- Take two hard dribbles with the on-ball hand and on the third dribble quickly cross the ball over to the off-ball hand
- Repeat this for 30-60 seconds (Note: Keep your dribble low & hard to build speed in your crossover)
2. In & Out Dribble Drill: A great drill to develop one of the most useful moves for a guard, the in & out dribble is a versatile moves that can help you misdirect the defense or set up for another move, this dribble move should be part of every player's arsenal.
How to Perform:
- Start in a low position with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
- Perform a hard in & out dribble followed by a double crossover, the ball should end up back to the hand you started with.
- Perform this for 20-30 seconds & immediately switch over to your other hand and repeat.
3. Figure 8 Ankle Dribble: A drill that really tests your ball control and is great for building a solid low dribble, the figure 8 ankle dribble will help you be more in control of the ball even when you're crowded in the paint.
How to Perform:
- Start dribbling low down by your left ankle & maintaining the dribble (no more than 1-2 inches off the floor)
- Dribble the ball through your legs, switching around to the other hand and going around the other leg
- Continue dribbling around & between both legs, with the ball following a figure 8 pattern around both legs, switching hands as needed
- Repeat for 20-30 seconds
4. Double Behind the Back Dribble: This drill greatly increases your speed & accuracy when executing a behind the back dribble which is important for getting your defenders off balance or setting up a step back shot & should be a staple in every ballhandler's arsenal.
How to Perform:
- Start in a low athletic position with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart.
- Start the ball with your dominant hand and quickly take a hard behind the back dribble to your off hand.
- Immediately perform another behind the back dribble back to your Dominant hand. (Perform the dribble as fast as you can and really pound the ball hard to work on your speed.)
- Repeat this movement with both hands (For 30-40 seconds on each hand)
In order to be an effective guard, you need to have a solid handle. We are confident that these drills would be valuable additions to any ballhandler's workout. After all, the simple drills are usually the most effective!