Cole Anthony is a rising star in the NBA
© Cassy Athena/Red Bull Content Pool

15 basketball dribbling drills to improve your handles

Whether you’re a point guard dribbling through a full court press, or a center catching it in the post, dribbling is imperative.
By Sean Wright
6 min readPublished on
On the court, Orlando Magic point guard Cole Anthony is electrifying. He makes the highlight reels for his game-winning shots and his ability to compete on both ends. But the foundation of Anthony's game is his strong handle, or dribble. Two years into his NBA career, his hesitation moves, signature combos and ankle-breaking crossovers are still evolving.
“I recognized that there are levels within the NBA. And to get to that highest level, you really do need that insane, intense, consistent work ethic and discipline,” said Anthony.
How do players like Anthony and Arike Ogunbowale improve their ball-handling skills? With a regimen of drills designed to build stronger and more nimble hands. Whether you're training for the playground or the Red Bull Pro-Am Classic, we've got a drill here that will help you take your dribble to the next level.
Arike Ogunbowale

Arike Ogunbowale

© Sean Berry

15 Basketball Dribbling Drills to Improve Your Handles

Beginner Drills


Full Court Dribbling

To perform this drill, all you need are cones and a basketball. The cones should be set up in different spots on the court. Start with the ball and simply dribble to each cone, make a move at the cone, and dribble to the next cone. There are a variety of moves you can perform when reaching the cone including a crossover, between the legs, or a behind-the-back dribble.

Figure 8

Performing the figure 8 drill is fairly simple. Start with your feet spread apart and the ball in your right hand. Then dribble the ball through your legs to your left hand, and immediately dribble it back to your right hand. This drill helps to crossover your defenders quickly.

Pound Dribble Drill

To perform this drill you choose which hand you want to dribble with and place the ball in that hand. Next, you’ll bend your knees in an athletic position and dribble the ball repeatedly with that hand. Your head and eyes should be upright looking straight ahead as you dribble. This drill helps players keep their heads and dribble the ball hard.


The crossover drill is another classic beginner dribbling drill. You’ll start with the same stance as the pound drill, but instead of dribbling with the same hand you’ll alternate hands and crossover repeatedly. The crossover is one of the most basic dribbling moves and this drill will help improve it.
Cole Anthony is a rising star in the NBA

Cole Anthony is a rising star in the NBA

© Cassy Athena/Red Bull Content Pool


Ball Slaps

Ball slaps are another good simple drill. To perform ball slaps you’ll simply pick up the ball in one hand and slap the ball into the other hand. Repeat this transfer from hand to hand for one minute. Ball slaps are a good warmup and build stronger hands.

Finger taps

Finger taps are very similar to ball slaps. The one difference is instead of slapping the ball back and forth, you’ll be tapping it back and forth on your finger tips. You can perform this drill with your arms straight out, or above your head. This drill serves as a good warmup and will also help your fingers get stronger.

Intermediate Drills


Cone Touch Drill

To perform the cone touch drill you’ll need about 10 cones. You’ll spread the cones out wherever you choose. Next dribble the ball to a cone and reach your hand down and touch the cone and head to a new cone. You must keep your head and eyes up during the entire drill. Cones can be placed laterally or diagonally. This drill will help you to dribble without looking at the ball.

Wall Toss

To perform the wall toss you’ll stand about 10 feet from the wall. You’ll start by dribbling between your legs left to right, then right to left behind your back. Next you’ll throw the ball against the wall, catch it, and repeat the drill. Performing this drill will help when it’s time to catch a pass and make a move in traffic.

U Dribble Drill

To perform this drill you’ll form a square with four cones. First you’ll dribble to the cone in front of you. Next you’ll dribble sideways to the next cone and backwards to the last cone. You’ll need to use the same hand for each cone. This drill will help you learn to move in different directions while dribbling.

Double Ball Dribbling Suicides

You’ll need two basketballs to perform this drill. Start at the baseline with a ball in each hand. Start by dribbling both balls to the near free throw line and return to the baseline. Then dribble the balls to half court and return back to the baseline. Next dribble to the far free throw line and back to the baseline. Lastly, you’ll dribble baseline to baseline. This drill improves ball handling while changing directions at different speeds.

Chair Drills

There are a series of drills that can be performed with the use of a chair. Place the chair anywhere you want. Dribble towards the chair and crossover or go behind the back as you advance past the chair. The chair serves as a defender and this drill will help you get better at making moves on defenders while moving at full speed.

Advanced Drills



To perform this drill you’ll need a partner. Your goal is to dribble from one side of the court to the other while your partner slides and defends you. This drill will help when a player faces backcourt pressure while trying to advance the ball.
Cole Anthony

Cole Anthony

© Cassy Athena


1vs1 (One Hand Only)

You’ll need a partner for this one too. The goal is to advance from one side of the court to the other dribbling with the same hand. The defender will slide and attempt to stay in front of you while you work to advance past them. This drill will help when a defender takes away one of your hands and forces you to use the other.

3 Ball Dribble One Hand Pass

To perform this drill you’ll need three basketballs and a partner. Start by dribbling two basketballs. Pass the ball in your left hand to your partner, and dribble the one in your right to your left. Your partner will then throw you a ball and you’ll dribble that with your right and continue to repeat. This drill helps improve your crossover, explosiveness, and ability to switch hands mid-play.

Tight Spaces Ball Handling Drill

This drill is much like the 1vs1 drill but you won’t have the whole court to operate with. You’ll need six to eight cones. The cones will be placed in a straight line, 3 or 4 on each side, 6 to 7 feet apart from one another to create a straight line. The goal is for you to dribble past the defender without going outside the cones. This drill will help you create space and also aid in dribbling through contact.
Dribbling a basketball is one of the best skills a player can possess. Whether you’re a point guard dribbling through a full court press, or a center catching it in the post, dribbling is imperative.
Take it from Arike Ogunbowale, guard for the Dallas Wings, who uses drills like these to warm up. She said, “Before games, I do a two-ball dribbling drill. That way, I know I’m good.”
Just don’t forget about the other basketball skills you need to perfect your game!