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Valuable Basketball Ball Handling Drills For Players, Parents & Coaches

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These Basketball Ball Handling Drills are designed to help players improve their skill and confidence levels when handling the basketball.

Every offensive basketball player needs to develop the following skills to be effective – shooting, passing, catching, dribbling, individual moves and rebounding. Each of these skills require the players to be efficient at handling the basketball.

It’s obvious then, that basketball ball handling drills are needed to improve each of these areas of a player’s game.

By learning and understanding these basketball ball handling drills…

  • Players will be more comfortable handling and controlling the ball. This improved comfort and control will make them more effective with their offensive skills.
  • Parents will be in a better position to help their child practice and improve their basketball skills.
  • Coaches will be able to teach their players the importance of developing good ball handling skills. They will be able to help their players improve their skill level when handling the ball, and also as offensive players.

Drill Pointers

  • Players should hold and control the basketball with their finger pads.
  • Players should avoid using their palms to control the ball.
  • Players should keep their fingers spread apart while performing these drills.
  • Players should practice these drills on their own as often as possible.
  • Coaches should use these drills, as often as possible, at the beginning of every practice to help improve their players’ skill level.

Basketball Ball Handling Drills

Basketball Ball Handling Drill #1: 5-Minute Circle Drill

Description – This drill was devised by the great Pistol Pete Maravich. This is an excellent drill for developing ball handling and dribbling skills. It improves a player’s: dribbling quickness, control of the basketball, and endurance and conditioning.

Instructions – Players should have a basketball and a circle to dribble in. (i.e. free-throw or half-court circle). For five minutes players will dribble in the circle practicing all of their dribbling moves (crossover, behind the back, spin, change of pace, under the legs, inside out, etc…).

Players should not leave the circle – they must learn to control the basketball while dribbling. This drill should be done as quickly as possible without rushing. If needed, players can start at three minutes and work their way up to five minutes. Players should feel tired after completing this drill. It’s much harder than it sounds!

Players – 1.

Tips – Players should do this drill as quickly as possible without rushing. This drill will improve their ball handling skills and basketball moves.

Variations – Players can try doing this drill blindfolded or with their eyes closed. Players can also go against a defender. This is an excellent variation to teach the dribbler to protect the basketball.

Skills – Dribbling, Ball Handling & Basketball Moves.

Basketball Ball Handling Drill #2: The Pistol Drill

Description – This is another drill that was devised by the great Pistol Pete Maravich. This is a quickness drill that helps improve a player’s coordination and concentration.

Instructions – Player 1 holds the basketball behind the neck of player 2. Player 2 should be standing relaxed with their hands to their side. As player 1 drops the basketball player 2 must clap their hands in front of them and then catch the ball behind them.

Players – 2.

Tips – This is a fun and simple drill that players at any level can use and enjoy. Best of all, it works!

Skills – Ball handling, Reaction, Coordination, & Concentration.

Basketball Ball Handling Drill #3: Speed 1-on-1 Drill

Description – This drill is designed to help improve a player’s ball handling skills and also improve their ability to drive to the basket.

Instructions – Player 1 will start with the basketball between the top of the key and center court. Player 2 will play defense on player 1. On the coach’s whistle, player 1 will have 7 seconds to score. Players will switch roles, or rotate lines, when: the 7 seconds has expired, a basket is scored, or the defender gains possession of the basketball.

Players – 2 or 3.

Tips – This is a great drill to teach players how to use the various basketball moves and dribbles. This is also a great drill for teaching tough man-to-man defense.

Variations – Use 2 offensive players against one defender. The offense must pass the ball at least three times before taking a shot. Also, the offense will have 10 seconds to score a basket.

Skills – Ball handling, Basketball Moves, Speed, Quickness, & Defense.

Basketball Ball Handling Drill #4: Dribble Combinations

Description – This is a more advanced drill, but can certainly be introduced to and modified for younger players. This is another great drill used to improve a player’s ball handling and dribbling skills.

Instructions – Players will start at one baseline and finish at the opposite baseline. The players will perform the following dribbling sequence as they move down the court: Cross-over dribble, Between the legs dribble, Behind the back dribble, and Spin dribble. The idea is to be able to perform these dribbles one after the other in sequence.

Players – Any number.

Tips – Players should start off slowly with this drill until they’re comfortable with the sequence of dribbles. Players should only use 1 – 2 dribbles in between each of the dribble moves listed above.

Variations – Have the offensive player perform this drill against a defender, with moderate defensive pressure.


I hope you found these Basketball Ball Handling Drills to be helpful and informative. Remember – ball handling skills are needed to be more effective at shooting, passing, catching, dribbling, individual moves and rebounding.

Players that master these ball handling skills can become complete, all-around basketball players!

Be sure to check out our page on youth basketball tips for more valuable information on the game of basketball. Best of luck!