5 Basketball Drills to Immensely Improve Your Balance

A hidden key to being a successful basketball player is having good balance. But what if you don’t naturally have good coordination? 

Thankfully, balance is something that can be improved with lots of hard work and dedication. Here are 5 basketball drills that will radically improve your balance. 

After a few months of doing this workout consistently, you’ll be well on your way to becoming better on offense and defense.

1. Single Leg Balance Drills

This is a mix of 8 drills, all of which are to be done one leg at a time. These exercises are for injury prevention and improved balance on the basketball court. Here is a brief description of each portion of the drill:

  • Start out in a standing position on your left foot with your eyes closed. Hold the position for 10 seconds before switching to the right foot.
  • Set up three cones into a triangle shape with one to your left, one on your right, and one directly in front of you. While standing on your left leg, take your right foot and touch it to each cone. Do the same with the other foot.
  • Keep standing on one leg but bend down to touch each cone with your right hand. After touching all three cones, switch to your left hand. This one gives the glutes and hamstrings a good stretch.
  • Now touch each cone with a basketball.
  • Remove the cones and stand with your back facing the hoop. Stand on one foot and pretend to shoot a backward jump shot. Switch to the other foot.
  • Lastly, alternate between three different types of leg hops to improve your footwork. Hop from front to back, side to side, and in a twisting motion.

Here’s a video of this drill in action:

2. One Foot Balance Shooting

This is one of the best shooting drills out there and can be done during warm-ups. It won’t improve your in-game footwork, but it will teach you how to control the momentum of your lower body before shooting jump shots. 

This drill will also help your ability to shoot on the run by giving you better balance.

  • To start the drill, line up just behind the three-point line and spin the ball high in the air. Catch the ball and then quickly balance all of your body weight on your left foot. 
  • After pausing for two to three seconds, place both feet on the floor and shoot a regular jump shot. Restart the drill again but switch to balancing on your right foot on the next rep.

Here’s a video of this drill in action:

3. Agility Ladder Drills

Basketball players need to have a high level of agility if they want to perform well on the basketball court. The following video shows 10 different agility drills with a ladder. 

Each of these drills will improve your sprinting and acceleration, both of which are important to any athlete. We’ll only cover the first 3 drills in the video since they are the most basic and the rest are simply variations of them.

  • Gallop: After properly setting up the agility ladder, start off with the gallop. Begin with your feet facing directly toward the ladder. Quickly move both of your feet in and out of each ladder slot. Once you reach the end of the ladder, turn and do the same thing the other way.
  • Lateral Shuffle: This drill is similar to the gallop but it’s done in a lateral motion. Instead of beginning with your feet facing forward, you’ll be turned to the side. Do side steps as fast as you can in and out each window of the ladder.
  • Icky Shuffle: This one is lovingly named after former NFL star running back Icky Woods. You’ll start with your feet facing the ladder. Sidestep into the first ladder window with the left foot, then quickly move the right foot in as well. Once your right foot lands inside the window, quickly move the left foot outside the window. Continue this rhythm until you reach the end of the ladder. Lastly, repeat the drill on the way back but do it while going backward.

Here’s a video of this drill in action:

4. 3 Balance Drills with Eyes Closed

These three drills may be simple at first glance but they are incredibly difficult when done with the eyes closed. By closing the eyes, any kind of balance training is amplified.

Coach Alan Stein, who has worked with Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry, demonstrates how to do these drills in the video below. Here’s a brief description of all 3:

  • Balance on One Leg: Coaches should have their basketball players imagine that there’s a string that goes from their elbow to their knees. Have all players raise the ball up as high as possible, while simultaneously raising one knee above the waist. All players should hold this pose for as long as they can with their eyes closed. When finished, everyone should switch to putting the other leg into the air.
  • Make a T: With the eyes closed and holding the ball, bend at the waist while extending one leg behind you. Your body should form an upper case T. Now take the ball and quickly wrap it around your leg for 10 reps. After the reps are complete, do the same routine around the other leg. This drill will greatly improve your dribbling and ball-handling skills.
  • Lunge: Complete a lunge without letting your knee touch the ground. Again, remember to keep your eyes closed. Do a side bend and fully extend the basketball with one hand. Do the same motion with the other arm.

Here’s a video of this drill in action:

5. Steph Curry’s Balance Drills

Steph Curry is one of the best all-around NBA players, so why not practice some of the balance drills that sports performance coach Brandon Payne takes him through on a daily basis? 

All 3 of these drills will improve your basketball skills on the court. Let’s go over each drill separately:

  • Single-Leg Wraps: Stand on one foot while wrapping the ball behind your back and in between your legs. Feel free to switch up the speed on how quickly you move the ball. Your main focus should be on staying consistent with your breathing, keeping your core muscles tight, and keeping your leg stable. Payne recommends putting an emphasis on your big toe, pinky toe, and heel to improve your balance.
  • Barefoot Single-Leg Crossovers: In the video, Curry does this move with a special foam pad. However, Payne said to complete the drill barefooted if you don’t have access to a pad. While standing on one foot, practice your crossover move with each hand. If you do this drill often enough, you’ll be blowing by your opponent during games for easy layups.
  • Single-Leg Shooting: If you’re a right-handed shooter, stand on your left foot for this drill. Shoot some jump shots without letting your right foot touch the ground. Before each shot, touch the ball to your left foot while extending the right leg out. If you are new to this drill, start out close to the basket to prevent having problems with your shooting mechanics. Once you get comfortable with the drill, you can move as far back as the free-throw line like Curry. 

Here’s a video of this drill in action:

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Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with basketball for over 30 years as a player, coach, and bettor. He has a degree in Sports Psychology and enjoys following both the NBA and College Basketball on a nightly basis.