Do you have someone to partner with to work on your ball-handling skills? If not, you should reach out and find someone because working with a partner can help.
With a partner, you improve through accountability and sharing knowledge. Plus, practicing with a friend makes training fun.
With a partner, you create accountability. If you make plans to meet a teammate two or three times a week, there is a better chance that you will practice. You depend on each other to show up.
Working out with a partner will help you stay encouraged and engaged practicing even the most basic drills.
If you stand across from one another, you’re on your way to being able to see the court better when you’re dribbling the ball during a game.
Better yet, have your partner hold up a few fingers at a time while you call out how many fingers they’re holding up. Have your partner change the count while you’re doing the drill to challenge your focus.
Basic Ball-Handling Drills
Consider the following to help improve your skills:
Slap the ball from one hand to the other.
Circle, or wrap, the ball around different parts of your body.
Try your head, waist, ankles, both knees, one knee at a time (both knees, both directions). And last try a figure 8 wrap in both directions.
Bring the ball between your legs from the front side of your body, wrap around one leg then back through the front and around the other leg. Then go in the other direction.
Start with your knees shoulder-width apart and bent. Hold the ball between your legs with one hand in front and one in back.
Keep the ball in about the same position while switching hand positions from front to back without letting the ball hit the ground.
Start in the same position as with the straddle switch.
The ball should stay underneath you as you right-hand dribble, then your left hand, then reach your right hand around and behind your knee for a dribble, and then your left hand behind your knee for a dribble, and then back to your right hand in front, and so on.
Dribble the ball hard into the ground with a low dribble.
Dribble the ball hard into the ground with a high dribble.
One Leg Dribble
Dribble the ball around one leg (both directions) and then the other leg (both directions).
Figure Eight Motion Dribble
Dribble the ball between your legs and then around your legs in a figure eight motion (both directions).
Cross the ball in front of your body moving the ball from one hand to the other.
Behind The Back Dribble
Dribble the ball behind your back: right hand to left hand and switch.
Start with your right foot forward and left foot back.
Dribble the ball between your legs and jump to switch the positioning of your feet with the left foot forward and right foot back, so you can immediately cross the ball back to the other side.
Every time you go through the legs you should be switching feet.
Try Something More Complex
There are a lot of partner drills that use tennis balls and even more where you move up and down the court together while dribbling and maintaining eye contact:
Partner Tennis Ball Toss
Start by facing your partner and tossing the ball back and forth to one another while dribbling the ball (use both hands).
Start with only one person dribbling but work toward both players dribbling and tossing. Try a tennis ball toss with a cross-over, a through the legs, and a behind-the-back move.
Stand across from your partner, both of you have a ball.
Dribble together with your right hand and reach across with your left hand and touch your partner’s hand.
Cross the ball over to your left hand while reaching across with your right hand to tap your partner’s hand.
This can be done standing still and then the drill can be done moving sideways down the court together. Or, consider one person moving forward while their partner is facing back.
This is similar to partner cross but you bring the ball between your legs for the drill.
Partner Behind The Back
This is similar to partner cross but you bring the ball behind your back for the drill.
Try Curry’s tennis ball workout with a partner instead of the wall:
And consider being creative and developing drills that work for you.
The bottom line is partner work makes practicing more fun. And when you’re having fun you’re more likely to practice. Reach out to a teammate or friend this summer and watch your ball handling elevate.