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How to Get Better Handles on a Basketball

by
author image Chris Blake
Chris Blake has been writing professionally since 2007. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He works and coaches high school basketball in Washington, DC.
How to Get Better Handles on a Basketball
Improving your handle will make you harder to stop on the court. Photo Credit Benis Arapovic/Hemera/Getty Images

Being able to dribble is one of the most important skills you can have as a basketball player. Learning to dribble effectively can vastly improve your ability to play the game as it opens up the floor and provides more offensive opportunities for you and your teammates. Developing your handle on the ball requires hours of practice and repetition using both hands.

Getting a Grip

Before you can effectively handle the basketball, you should develop the important muscle groups needed to control the basketball. Your fingertips and wrists are essential to your success as a basketball player in all aspects of the game. The stronger your hands and fingertips, the more control you will have over the ball. Doing ball-handling drills and exercises such as fingertip pushups will ensure that you have the strength to improve your dribbling skills.

Feel It Out

To improve your handle on the ball you must get a good feel for it. If you are serious about becoming a dribbler and have improved your fingertip strength, the next step is to be in constant contact. The basketball should become an extension of your body. When you are practicing, devote time to moving the ball from hand to hand using only your fingertips to develop dexterity and hand-eye coordination. The more familiar you are with the grooves and the overall feel of the basketball, the better you will be at handling the rock.

Practice Makes Perfect

Devote time during your basketball workout to dribbling drills. While monotonous, incorporating dribbling drills into your workout is the best way to develop your muscle memory. Spend 30 minutes a day doing figure eight dribbles, behind-the-back dribbles, power crossovers pounding the ball on the floor as hard as you can, blind-folded dribbling, double ball dribbling and uneven surface dribbling utilizing unpaved surfaces or dirt patches. These drills will greatly enhance your ball-handling ability in practice and game situations, as they will make the less complex dribbling moves you make during game play seem much simpler.

Dribbling is Fun-damental

None of your practice will matter if you are not able to fundamentally execute what you have worked on in game situations. Push the ball in front of you as you are sprinting down the floor, keep your head up while dribbling, keep your dribble below your knees and remain loose while using your entire body to control the basketball. Paying attention to the fundamentals will greatly improve your ability to handle the rock and take advantage of the defense.

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