Basic Ball Skills

As with any other skill we need to get the point where our body just does the right thing almost without conscious thought.
This is just a matter of repetition.
Try cleaning your teeth with your left hand (or your right hand if you're left handed). You'll be amazed at how hard it is. Then swap back to your normal hand and you'll find that your mind can drift off and your hands will just get on with the task they've done a thousand times.
That's what we're trying to get to with our ball handling.


Just a few things to get you started:

Push, don't slap.
Drive the ball to the ground and meet it with your hand as it comes back up. Keep your hand in contact with the ball for as much of the stroke as possible.
Fingertip control.
Spread your fingers wide and keep your palm off the ball. This will allow you to push it in different directions whilst keeping it under control.
Dribble low.
Bend your legs and keep the ball as low as possible to avoid it being slapped away.
Head up.
Always look straight ahead when you're practicing. Keep youre head high; feel for the ball and try not even to watch it in your periferal vision.

Fundamental moves

This video will give you a sequence of basic moves to practice. There are plenty of others on Youtube so don't feel you should be restricted to this one.
Do just this once a week and your ball skills will improve in no time.
Add in other moves to create a longer sequence if you like.

One more thing

The aim is to get to a point where you're not thinking about what your hand has to do. You can measure how far you've moved towards this by dribbling with one hand and tossing a tennis ball up and down with the other. If you can do that then start doing cross overs and throwing the ball from hand to hand as the basketball moves across.
Challenge yourself: make it as hard as you like. It will all pay off on the court.

Tennis ball dribble

Onwards and Upwards

Click on the resources below to take you to some more information on how to manage and structure your practice and for specific ideas for drills and skills.

Practice theory

Structuring your practice


Free throws

Basic ball skills

Dribble moves