Ball handling is an important skill for any basketball player.
It doesn't matter what position you play. Sure, if you're a guard then you need crisp handles, but even if you're a center or forward, having great ball handling will get you more playing time and will make it easier for you to score.
There's a ton of drills you can do to improve your ball handling, but these 7 are the best if you want results fast.
The drills are in order from easiest to hardest, so if you can do one, move on to the next one and try it.
1. Low, Medium, High One Ball
Pick a hand to start with and set a timer for 30 seconds.
Start of by dribbling the ball hard 1 inch off of the ground. After 3 seconds go to your waist and dribble hard there. After 3 seeconds let the ball bounce to your chest and dribble hard there. Repeat the exercise until the timer runs out.
Switch hands and repeat.
2. Front Crossover Back Crossover
Take the ball and dribble hard with your right hand two times.
Cross the ball over in front of your body as close as possible to the ground and as hard as you can.
Dribble the ball twice in your left hand as hard as you can.
Cross the ball over to your right side while dribbling as hard as possible.
Next, do 2 hard dribbles while bringing the ball behind you. Once that's done, cross the ball over to the left hand behind you.
Do 2 hard dribbles, and move it back to your right hand.
Dribble back to the front and repeat.
Do this drill either for 60 seconds or until you lose the ball 10 times.
3. Jogging Crossovers
Jog down the court while doing the following:
Do 2 dribbles with 1 hand, and then cross over to the other. Do 2 more dribbles and then cross back.
You should be doing a zig-zag pattern on the basketball court.
Do it there and back while doing regular crossovers, between the legs, and behind the back.
4. Two Ball High Medium Low
Get two basketballs and set a timer for 30 seconds.
Start out by dribbling both balls one inch off the ground. Do this for 3 seconds and then increase the dribbling height to just below your waist.
Do that for 3 more seconds and then start dribbling the ball at chest height.
After 3 seconds, switch back to one inch off of the ground and keep doing the drill until the 60 seconds are up.
5. Two Ball High Low
Start with two basketballs and set a timer for 60 seconds.
Dribble one of the balls 1 inch off of the ground while dribbling the other one just below your waist. This will be hard, but push through the pain and do it!
Once 30 seconds are up switch the height of the balls. You will be exhausted after this drill, but your handles will improve quickly.
6. Two Ball Jogging Crossovers
This drill is very hard so don't be afraid of starting out slow and increasing your speed once you feel comfortable.
Walk down the court while dribbling two balls, do a two ball crossover, and then continue walking down the court.
Do crossovers down and back, do one ball between the legs and one in front on the way there, and then do one ball behind the back and one in front on the way back.
7. Two Ball Sprints
This is a fun drill to do when you have someone to compete with.
Both of you get two basketballs and race up and down the court while dribbling.
Here's the catch: for every time you lose the ball you have to do another down and back, but if you finish under a certain time you have to do another down and back.
This makes sure that you don't slack, but also don't go so hard that you lose the ball every time you dribble.
Ideally someone would watch on the sideline to make sure you don't carry the ball and don't travel when you race.
This drill can also be dangerous for your ankles if you turn around fast on the back stretch, so make sure to buy a basketball shoe that will prevent ankle sprains.
While ball-handling won't get you far if you can't score, it's a highly important skill to have no matter what position you play.
If you're a guard you should be proficient in all of the above drills, and if you're a center or forward you should be able to do all of them without losing the ball.