Total body strength training is important if you want to become a successful basketball player, but you might be surprised to learn how important wrist, hand and fingertip strength are for executing the fundamentals. From palming a basketball to proper jump shot release, ball control and accuracy stem from the amount of strength you have in these body parts. Thus, strengthening your wrists will make you a more effective offensive player and greatly improve your defensive skills.
Fingertip pushups are one of the most effective wrist strengthening exercises you can do as a basketball player. They are executed like traditional palm pushups, except your fingertips and not your hands are supporting your body weight. This exercise will quickly build dexterity in your wrists and fingers. Not only does this exercise add wrist strength, these pushups also help develop fast twitch fibers in your shoulders, chest and arms to tone muscles and greatly increase your upper body strength.
Heavy Workout Basketballs
Since a workout basketball weighs twice as much as a regular basketball, using one for standard passing, shooting and rebounding drills will greatly improve your wrist strength. Shooting a weighted basketball with the same form as you would a regular basketball can increase your shooting range and your ability to release the ball properly. If you can snap or "flick" your wrist on your jump shot with a weighted ball, it will seem much easier to do the same with a regulation-sized ball during a game.
The Waving Goodbye Drill
A simple, yet effective exercise, the waving goodbye drill will increase wrist strength, flexibility and dexterity while molding muscle memory. Do this exercise by placing your arms in front of you, forming the letter "L" with each arm, and locking your elbows in place just as you would if you were shooting a basketball. With your elbows locked firmly in place, snap your wrists back and forth as quickly as possible for one minute so that it looks like you are very aggressively waving goodbye.
Ball Handling Dexterity Drills
Ball handling drills with a regulation basketball can work wonders. Developing a routine that includes the Figure-8 dribble, spider dribble, weak-hand dribble and the continuous crossover dribble will strengthen your wrists while improving your dribbling ability. Add more challenging drills like holding your arms straight out in front of you, passing the ball back and forth between the hands while using only your fingertips and without bending your arms.