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Becoming a proficient basketball player requires time dedicated to practice. That is no secret and should not be news to anyone. Developing basic skills and fundamentals is the foundation of a talented basketball player, and ball handling is one of the most important.

Dribbling and ball handling are two of the most basic skills needed in order to successfully perform the others within the sport. Basketball is a fast-paced game with various situations that require players to protect, pass, and shoot the ball efficiently. Poor handling skills will only result in turnovers and missed opportunities. In order to avoid this, the following are just some of many ways players can improve their dribbling and ball handling.

Fingertip Exercises

Dribbling involves controlling the ball with your fingers, pads, and palms of your hands. Your fingertips come into play when you are getting ready to shoot or dribbling on the run. Therefore, drills and exercises involving this dribbling strategy are highly effective in developing players’ overall ball handling. Try those that incorporate quick movements with quick dribbling. This will help players grow more comfortable when driving to the basket, passing through open lanes, and preparing for open shots.

Dribble Stronger

Simply dribbling the ball harder forces it to return to your hand faster, which, in turn, gives you more control. This is also essential in learning how to dribble while keeping one’s head up. Players cannot effectively play the court if they are constantly looking down at the ball. Dribbling stronger and pushing the ball down with more force allows it to return quickly, allowing players to keep their eyes forward.

Dribble Low

A similar principle to dribbling harder, dribbling at a lower position limits the area in which the ball can move, allowing for more control. Apply this strategy on the court, and opponents will have a much harder time trying to steal the ball away. Drills that incorporate low dribbling can not only develop better ball handling skills, but also the ability to go from stand-still positions to short bursts of speed.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Repetition breeds success. As we all know, practice makes perfect. Performing these practices and exercises over and over again will only result in improved skills. No matter how basic the drill, have your players repeat these exercises for extended periods of time until they become second nature movements. Very rarely will flash on the court be an advantage over comfortability.