Youth Basketball Drills For Ball Handling

Basketball requires more hand to ball contact than any other sport.

Because of this fact, it is imperative that players learn and practice proper ball handling and dribbling.

Coaching youth players on these techniques will ensure they build a good foundation of basic basketball skills.

Below are fast and easy basketball drills to build and improve ball handling and dribbling skills for youth players.

As we all know, practice makes perfect.

The more time players commit to practice and hands on time with the ball, the more confident they will be while handling the ball on the court.

How to Hold the Ball

Of course the most important aspect of playing basketball is learning how to interact with the ball.

This all starts with learning how to hold the ball correctly.

Players should learn to hold the ball with their finger tips.

Fingers should be spread far apart, with finger pads firmly gripping the ball.

Be sure to keep palms away from the ball, as this will interfere with controlling the ball.

Many coaches, especially of youth players, will encourage players to hold the ball as much as possible, even when not in games or practice.

Players can practice tossing and catching the ball in the air, practice spins, and also dribbling.

Spending as much time as possible holding the ball, especially for kids just starting the game, will help them feel more comfortable with the ball and excited to learn and play the game.

Handling and Dribbling Drills

Once players have perfected basic handling, they are ready to practice drills and dribbling.

Each drill can be practiced as often as needed, or as a warm up or cool down for practices.

Players will soon love these quick drills and practice them on their own, outside of practice.

These drills will improve speed of hand movement rhythm, hand-eye coordination, and strengthen hands, wrists, and fingers.

During the drills, players should be standing in a solid, ready stance with eyes forward.

It is important to learn how to maneuver the ball without looking at it.

Ball Slap

The player slaps the ball hard, alternating from hand to hand.

This drill may look like players just slapping the ball from one hand to the other.

However, the player should be using proper handling techniques and using only his fingertips.

This easy exercise gets the fingertips warmed up for practice.

Finger Grabs

The player will extend his arms straight out in front of him and pass the ball back and forth between his hands.

The ball should not only move a few inches from side to side and never touch the players palms.

As the player becomes more comfortable with the move, he may begin to move his arms lower and higher, while continuing to pass the ball from hand to hand keeping arms straight and elbows locked.


Players stand with their feet together and begin by passing the ball from hand to hand by going around his head clockwise.

Coaches can direct players to do any given number of rotations, then players will switch and pass the ball counter-clockwise.

Players will then pass the ball around their torso clockwise, then counter-clockwise.

Last, players will circle the ball around their ankles in the same way.

Ball Wraps

For this drill, players start by putting one leg out in front of them and circling the ball around, first clockwise, then counter-clockwise.

Switch legs and repeat the circles.

Players can also move the ball through and around their legs in a figure 8 motion.

Eyes should remain focused forward and players should not drop the ball.

Figure 8 Dribble

This drill uses the same motion as the figure 8 for ball wraps, except that players will bounce the ball rather than just moving it in circles.

Players should be in a low stance with knees bent.

Next, pass the ball around and through the legs, in a figure 8 motion while bouncing the ball on the ground.

This can also be done with one hand only, but remember to switch hands and practice both sides.

Spider Dribble

Another drill to practice dribbling, this one is much like the above drills.

Players start in a ready stance and dribbles the ball between his legs.

The play will hit the ball with his right and left hand in front of his body, then again with right and left behind his back, keeping the ball in the center of his body.

This can be done slowly at first and even without the ball to get used to the movement.


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