When I was growing up as a young basketball player, I remember having difficulty dribbling with my left hand.
The toughest part about playing the point guard position early in my basketball years was the fact that if the defense trapped me into dribbling with my off hand, I would be prone to turning the ball over. I needed basketball ball-handling drills to help me with my handles, and I learned them in the gym at basketball camp.
I knew that I had to work on not only my left hand dribbling, but I also needed to improve ball handling with my right hand. With hard work and the right basketball mentors, I built confidence in ball handling with both my dominant and off hands.
As I worked on them, I knew that I could dribble drive to either side of the hoop. In addition, I was able to deceive defenses when I switched from dominating the ball with my right hand early in the contest to switching to my non-dominant hand closer to the end of the first half.
With drills like the Maravich Series, I was able to step up my game. The Maravich Series is named after the Hall of Fame basketball player “Pistol” Pete Maravich. The five-time NBA all-star and three-time All-American holds the all-time NCAA scoring record, and he was known for his tremendous handles.
Here are several basketball dribbling drills (split out by difficulty level) to help you improve your skills and become a future superstar.
1. Ball Slaps
Let us start off the Maravich Series with a simple drill called “ball slaps” in which you actually slap the basketball with the palms of the hands: use one hand to slap the ball while holding it with the other hand.
It is as simple as that, and every player should complete this drill with ease.
2. Finger Tips
First, you should begin the drill with outstretched arms and the basketball between your hands. Then, use your fingertips to touch the basketball back and forth between your hands.
Once you are comfortable with this, then bring the basketball down to your knees and then you can go all the way up above your head. This drill is important to help with your basketball and ballhandling skills.
3. Ball Circles
Ball circles, which are a great intermediate drill for ball handlers, begin at your head level.
Start clockwise or counterclockwise with five rotations in a circular motion around your head, and then switch to the opposite direction. After completing the 10 rotations, let us continue the drill at waist height.
Lastly, complete a total of 10 rotations around your legs at ankle height. Remember to keep your head up as you do all 30 rotations. Guards who have a strong handle on the basketball should be able to complete this drill relatively easily.
4. Ball Wraps – One Leg
Similar to the ball circles, now let us bring the right leg forward and do 5 rotations in a clockwise fashion around the outstretched right leg.
Next up is counterclockwise. Then, complete the ten rotations around the outstretched left leg.
5. Figure 8 – No Dribble
Now, let us take what we learned with both the ball circles and ball wraps and go between the legs as quickly as possible. Once again, you have to keep your head up during this drill in addition to remembering to go both directions.
6. Front to Back Toss
As we begin the advanced ball handling drills, we can get the hands moving with the front to back toss. Not only are our arms getting some quick, controlled movements, but the legs are bending forward and back.
With the hands and basketball between our legs, we start with the arms in front of our body. First, we drop the ball and then bend our knees forward to allow for our hands to catch the basketball behind. Then, we drop the ball from behind and straighten our legs again.
To complete the first cycle of the drill, we catch the basketball in front of us.
7. One Leg Dribble
With an outstretched right leg, dribble the basketball with your right hand around that leg and then crossover to the left hand. Keep going around the right leg in one direction for five rotations and then reverse the direction.
After completing the 10 rotations, switch over to the left side and remember to make a crisp crossover dribble from hand to hand.
8. Figure 8 Dribble
In order to master the figure 8 dribble drill, you must have ball control and be a good ball-handler.
Even in the video below, the player has a bit of trouble with this drill. First, let us begin the drill by dribbling with your right hand around your right leg, and then, a between-the-legs dribble moves the basketball to your left hand.
Afterwards, the left hand does all the work on the left side before crossing back over.
9. Figure 8 Dribble – 1 Hand
Now, let’s see if you can do the whole figure 8 dribble with just one hand.
With this difficult variation, you should first put your non-dominant hand behind your back. Then, try to complete the whole figure 8 dribble with your dominant hand. If you’re able to accomplish that feat, then take a shot with your non-dominant hand.
This is truly an impressive drill that requires a lot of hand-eye coordination.
10. Spider Dribble
Spider Dribble is a drill that is very fun to watch, but it is very difficult to do.
The basketball is dropped between your legs, and your knees are bent. Then, from four different areas – front of your left leg, front of your right leg, back of your left leg, and back of your right leg – you dribble the basketball once each and continue that sequence of four dribbles for as long as possible.