Learn How to Spin a Basketball on Your Finger in < 5 Minutes

I remember back when I first started playing basketball in middle school. One of the older players on our team would spin the basketball with such ease on his finger. I was in complete awe and wished I could spin the ball like him.

Want to learn how to spin a basketball on your finger? Here’s a brief step-by-step tutorial that will get you doing it in just five minutes. With lots of practice, you’ll soon be spinning the ball like one of the Harlem Globetrotters!

The Basics of Spinning a Basketball on Your Finger

Before we get into the step-by-step tutorial, here are a few basic tips and tricks to keep in mind.

  • Use Your Dominant Hand: When you’re first learning how to spin a basketball on your finger, make sure to use your dominant hand (if you’re right-handed, spin the ball on your right hand). Your dominant hand is stronger and oftentimes steadier than your non-dominant hand.
  • Use an Old Basketball: Brand new basketballs may be shiny and nice to look at, but they can be more difficult to spin since they have less grip. Old basketballs have some worn-in grooves that make it easier to balance for beginning spinners.
  • Trim your fingernails before your first spin practice session! When it comes to spinning a basketball, long nails aren’t helpful. You don’t want to break your fingernail off because it’s painful and will result in you having to end your practice session early.
  • Proper Spacing: Before starting to spin the ball, make sure you have enough space. The last thing you need is the ball flying off your hand and breaking something in your house.
  • Forget About Speed: When you’re first starting to learn how to spin, don’t be so concerned with speed. Start slowly and learn to increase momentum once you get more comfortable with the movement.
  • Do Wrist Exercises: Believe it or not, spinning a basketball requires a great amount of wrist strength. Do some wrist curls or some gripping exercises. This will help you snap your wrist with more centripetal force and create more spin on the ball.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice! Just like any other endeavor, spinning a basketball requires a lot of practice. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t spin the ball for very long right away! With a little persistence and a lot of repetition, spinning the ball on your finger will become second nature.

How to Spin a Basketball on Your Finger: 8 Simple Steps (Plus Video Example)

1. Warm Up: Perform some simple warm-up stretches to get your wrists, elbows, fingers, and forearms loosened up. Flexibility is a hidden key to spinning a basketball on your finger. These stretches will also help to prevent any muscle or ligament strains.

2. Set the Ball: Move the ball from the palm of your hand and let it rest on your fingertips. Bend your knees slightly to be in a more athletic position. This is the perfect opportunity to get a good feel for the basketball and find out how the grooves feel on your fingertips.

3. Fully Rotate Your Wrist: Get ready for a good first spin by rotating your wrist at maximum capacity. This is where you get ready to snap the ball quickly!

4. Spin and Toss: This is where the magic happens. In one motion, spin the basketball while simultaneously tossing it into the air. This is arguably the most important step since a good spin and toss sets the tone for the rest of the maneuver.

5. Find the Center: As the ball is in the air, try to locate the center of the basketball.

6. Raise Your Finger: Raise your index finger at a slight angle. 

7. Catch and Balance: With the center of the ball as your target, catch the ball on your index fingertip and keep it balanced to prolong the spin.

8. Keep The Spin Going: Once the momentum of the spin dies down, you can use your opposite hand to lightly graze the sides of the ball. This will help the ball to continue spinning. Just make sure to do this lightly or it will knock the ball off of your finger.

Bonus Tip: Check out this fabulous six-minute YouTube video from Coach Nick on how to become a master at spinning a basketball on your finger. This guy does a terrific job of breaking down each step of the process.

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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.