Professional Ball Handling Drills To Help Your Team Protect the Ball...


Hey, your team can't do much with the ball if they can't protect it... And, even big men can benefit from having some ball handling skills.

Look at Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, two of the top big men in the league, and they both have excellent ball handling skills.

So, protecting the ball is a duty on every player, not just the guards. It can help in limiting turnovers, creating spectacular plays, getting open looks, etc...

This page contains a handful of basketball ball handling drills that you can use with your team...

Click here if you're a PLAYER looking for Individual Player Ball Handling Tips...

Below, you can read the different basketball ball handling drills in this section:


Ball Handling Drill #1: 1 ON 2

Divide the court in half lengthwise. Make up groups of three players to do the drill. You should have two groups going at a time. One on each each half of the court. Give a ball to each group. One player on each group is on offense and the other two are on defense. The offensive player must reach the other end of the floor, trying to beat both defenders. If a steal or deflection occurs, the offensive player gets the ball back at that spot. At the other end of the floor, the offensive player moves to defense and one of the defensive players goes to offense and they come back. Then let the next groups go.

Ball Handling Drill #2: 4 SPEED DRILL

This drill must be done on an open court. Have the players ready for the 4 dribbling drills starting at the endline. When the whistle starts, the player/s must dribble starting with either hand then perform the cross-over dribble, between the legs, behind the back dribble and the spin dribble. Each dribble must be performed each step. Meaning if we have 4 kinds of dribble, the player must accomplish all 4 dribbles at four steps. After they accomplish the 4 dribbles, they already accomplish 4 steps at the same time...

Ball Handling Drill #3: 5 MINUTE CIRCLE

This drill, devised by the great Pistol Pete Maravich is an excellent drill for developing ball-handling and dribbling skills.

For this drill, all you need is a basketball and a circle to dribble in. (ie. free-throw or half-court circle). For anywhere from three to five minutes you dribble in the circle using all dribbling moves that you know of, ie. crossover, behind the back, spin, change of pace, under the legs, inside out, etc.

Do not leave the circle and do this drill as rapidly as possible without rushing. Start one day at three minutes and add a minute everyday until you can reach five. You should feel tired after completing this drill.


As the line jogs around the outside of the court, the ball at the front is passed back over the heads of the players, and the ball at the back is dribbled forward through the line, weaving between the players. As the ball reaches the back, it is dribbled forwards, when the ball reaches the front, it is passed back over heads.

Ball Handling Drill #5: DRIBBLE ATTACK

At the half court circle place the first 5 or 6 players, each with a ball, they start to dribble within the circle trying to maintain their dribble while attacking the other players within the circle trying to knock their ball away. If a player loses his dribble/stops his dribble or is out of the circle, he then leaves the circle and passes to the next player in line. This teaches them to keep their heads up, use their peripheral vision, protect the ball and maintain their control upon contact, switch hands and keep calm upon pressure.

Ball Handling Drill #6: GO SOMEWHERE WITH IT!

One person with one ball...From the free-throw line they get one dribble for a lay-up. From half-court they get two dribbles for a lay-up. From three-quarter court they get three dribbles, and from baseline to baseline they get four dribbles.

Hopefully, what they will get out of this drill is the confidence to take the ball from the wing and explode to the basket using one or two dribbles.

Ball Handling Drill #7: LOW DRIBBLE FIGURE EIGHT

You start with a low dribble then go around both of your legs in the shape of an eight. First do it with your off hand then go with your good hand, then use both. When you do this drill you have to keep your head up!!! If you don't you won't improve yourself! Be patient you'll lose control of the ball often when your first starting out but after you practice hard you will find that it helps you a lot! Good Luck and always do your best. Push yourself hard or you'll never find out what you can do.

Ball Handling Drill #8: VISION TEST

A coach stands at the FT line. Two players are standing on the box on each side of the lane. Player dribbles to coach, full speed, head up, from half court. At top of circle, comes to a jump stop with both feet available for pivot. One of the post players raises his hand as a signal to get him the ball (don't shout 'ball.' In this drill we want to make sure the dribbler is developing court vision).

The dribbler pivots off the appropriate foot, spinning around and sealing off the coach (i.e. drop step around and seal on hip), and makes a 'step around' bounce pass with the correct hand to the post player's outside who then drop steps for an uncontested lay-up. The passer follows up his pass and takes shooter's place. After you shoot, go back to line at half-court.


Ball Handling Drill #9: SKIP DRIBBLE DRILL

The player stands and moves his legs in a scissors-like fashion, with his toes pointing straight ahead. The player should keep his back straight and should not bend over.

The player dribbles the ball through his legs from front to back, from one hand to the other, as he jumps and shifts his feet.

The player should try to complete fifty to one hundred bounces without making a mistake.

Ball Handling Drill #10: CROSS-0VER AND SPIN DRIBBLE

This is a combination of a crossover and a spin dribble. Dribble hard to the first cone and as you approach the cone, plant your outside foot and change direction using a low crossover dribble on this quickly plant your inside foot and execute a spin dribble.

It is easily taught when the spin is done with the right hand, which is the dominating/ strong hand of most of the players. So you start you dribble with your left hand, do a crossover with your left hand and a spin dribble with your right. Continue till the last cone then finish it with a lay-up shot.


Ball Handling Drill #11: BEHIND THE BACK DRIBBLE

Dribble, as fast to the first cone, when you approach the cone, your body should be forward in front of the ball. Quickly pull the ball with your wrist, fingers then arm around you back to change direction. The ball should be waist high. As the ball changes direction use your off hand and body to shield the ball. So on keep going changing hands using behind the back dribble till the last cone then goes for a lay-up shot.


Ball Handling Drill #12: YO-YO DRIBBLE

This is a combination of crossover on a crossover dribble. This is a dribble to deceive and commit the defense. As you plant your outside foot to change direction you use a low crossover dribble from right to left and left to right and speed up dribbling the ball waist high as you approach the next cone. Continue until you reach the last cone then take a lay-up shot.


Ball Handling Drill #13: KNEE CLAP

Stand with your feet together and bend over like you are going to touch your toes. Place the ball behind your knees. Let the ball go, clap your hands in front of your knees and catch the ball before it hits the ground. This is a very hard drill, but is a real good hand quickness drill. When you can do this...You have quick hands!

This is a drill Pistol Pete developed and used. He was the best ball handler ever!!

Ball Handling Drill #14: KG DRILL

Bounce the ball off the glass. Make a sudden move such as a fake crossover. Do the move three times while heading down the court. Once at the three point line, once at the half court line, and again at the other three point line.

Ball Handling Drill #15: PING-PONG

Start at one end of the court with ball in either hand. Run down the court throwing the ball under the legs! If you drop the ball while running up and down the court you are out. The last player still performing the drill is named the Champion!

Ball Handling Drill #16: RICOCHET

Hold the ball at chest height with both hands. You then bounce the ball between your legs. Move both hands from front to back, catching the ball behind your back. Attempt to slam the ball through your legs as hard as you can. 



Ball Handling Drills