Best Basketball Dribbling Drills

Dribbling is one of the fundamental basics in the game of basketball and it is important to learn how to dribble well, as well as to know when, and when not, to dribble. Dribbling can be mastered by practicing basketball dribbling drills and transferring those skills to a game.

What is Dribbling in Basketball?

Dribbling is a repetitive action in which a player uses one hand to bounce the basketball continuously and without interruption on the court. A player can dribble the ball with either hand, depending on whether they are right or left-handed, or make use of both hands by switching from right to left.

It is better to learn to dribble well with both hands to have more scope for dribbling on the court and prevent the defending team from trying to overplay your strong side and forcing you to dribble with your weak hand.

The dribble ends the moment a player touches the ball with two hands or passes the ball to another player. If the ball comes to rest in the player’s hand and the hand is placed on the side or in the lower half of the ball and rotated upwards before dribbling again, this is known as “carrying” and the dribble ends.


A player can dribble the ball with either hand. 

How to Dribble a Basketball Effectively

Dribbling begins from a stationary position where you are standing erect. As you move, your body should be in a staggered position with one foot ahead of the other and parallel to each other and bent knees.

Let your dribbling arm hang straight down with your upper arm close to your upper body and make sure your wrist and elbow joints are relaxed. Flexing your elbow with minimal movement in the upper arm, dribble the ball no higher than your waist, letting it hit the floor just in front of your rear foot.

Your wrist should be loose and relaxed, and the forefinger of the hand with the ball should be pointing in the direction that you are facing. When dribbling, the whole hand must remain in the top half of the ball at all times.  

Effective dribbling is done without looking at the ball so that players can see the court and watch the game.

When is Dribbling Used in Basketball?

Dribbling can be used in both offensive and defensive basketball. In the offensive positions, dribbling can be used to advance the ball from the backcourt forward, make a drive for the basket to score, and get away from close or congested defensive areas.

Dribbling can be used in stalling tactics in defensive basketball, especially when a press is being used. It is important to practice both offensive and defensive basketball when doing basketball dribbling drills.  


Dribbling can be used in both offensive and defensive basketball. 

Different Types of Dribbling in Basketball

Using basketball dribbling drills to sharpen ball-handling skills and dribbling fundamentals is essential for improving your game, however, it is important to learn which type of dribble to use in a given situation so you can incorporate them into your dribbling drills.  

Regular Dribble

The regular dribble is the standard dribble in basketball and can be performed while stationary or moving. Regular dribbling can be used to gain a rhythm of play or to get some balance before taking a shot. Regular dribbling can also be used in the half-court to move from point to point when the player is not under any pressure.

High Dribble

The high dribble is generally used after steals and during fast-break opportunities when players want to move the ball up the court very quickly. In a high dribble, the ball can bounce right up to just above the waist.

Low Dribble

As the name suggests, the low dribble is performed as close to the ground as possible. This type of dribble is often used by players who are trying to keep possession of the ball while waiting for a play to develop.  

Watch this video to see a low dribble in play.

Change-of-Pace Dribble

A change-of-pace dribble is used to throw your defender off guard and lose his/her balance. As you move the ball forward with a high dribble, slow your momentum down to make the defender think you are slowing down, causing him/her to slow down. Then rapidly accelerate past him.

Watch this video to see a demonstration of a change-of-pace dribble.  

Crossover Dribble

The crossover dribble is very effective when used to get past strong defenders. This basketball drill is performed by moving left or right to draw the defender out of position and then quickly moving in the opposite direction, crossing your dribble over to the other hand. The crossover dribble should be low – no higher than your knees and it is important to keep your body low so you can accelerate past your defender with speed.

Check out this video to see how a crossover is executed.

Between-the-Legs Dribble

When you are being overplayed by a defender, the between-the-legs dribble is effective to get past him/her. When moving left, use a fast low dribble with the right hand and take a deep step forward with the left foot. Flick the ball through the gap in your legs to your left hand, keeping your body low as you move to the left.

Watch this video to see the between-the-legs dribble in play.

In-Out Dribble

The in-out dribble is effective for faking the defender into going in the wrong direction. Using your head and your shoulders to fake direction, take a small step in the wrong direction and then quickly change back to your path of movement. This causes the defender to change direction and you can move past quickly.

Watch this video to see a demonstration of the in-out dribble.  

Behind-the-Back Dribble

A behind-the-back dribble can be very effective for changing directions while maintaining a good view of the entire court. In this dribble, the ball is wrapped behind the back, swept across the thighs, and then flocked into the freehand.  

Watch this video of a behind-the-back dribble.

Basketball Dribbling Drills

As with any sport, practice makes perfect, and performing drills in training is one way to do this. There are a plethora of basketball drills to enhance every aspect of your game from ball handling to speed dribbling that can be practiced alone or with a team.

Top Tips for Basketball Dribbling Drills

  •         Always dribble with your eyes up – don’t look at the ball.
  •         Use your finger pads to control the ball.
  •         Alternate and practice dribbling with both hands.
  •         Push yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and don’t be scared to make mistakes.


Use your finger pads to control the ball.

Here are some of the best basketball dribbling drills for all levels that will help improve and perfect your dribbling skills in basketball.

Stationary Basketball Dribbling Drills – Best for Improving Ball Handling Skills

Stationary basketball drills can be practiced alone in a fairly small space or with a group or team. You don’t need a court to practice stationary basketball drills and they are an excellent way to improve your ball-handling skills.

1. Ball Slaps

Ball slaps are a great drill for warming up your hands and getting them ready for the workout. Simply slap the ball continuously from one hand to the other.

2. Straight Arm Finger Taps

This drill is used to teach and practice using your fingertips to control the ball. It’s also a good drill to get your eye in before the workout. Keeping the elbows locked, quickly tap the basketball back and forth straight out in front of your body. Once you have mastered this, tap the ball up and down and then alternate between back and forth and up and down.

3. Wraps

Wraps are good hand speed and coordination drills that give you a feel for the basketball and improve your ball-handling skills. It’s also a great conditioner for your arms. Wraps are performed by moving the basketball in a circular motion around your ankles, your waist, your head, and all together without letting the basketball touch the ground.

To perform Wraps Around the World, combine all the drills into one by wrapping the ball around the ankles, waist, and head then bringing it down again to wrap around your waist and your ankles.

Other versions of wraps include Right Leg Wraps (around the right leg); Left Leg Wraps (around the left leg); Double Leg, Single Leg Wraps (both legs, single leg), and Figure 8 Around Legs Wraps (figure eight motion around the legs).

Watch this video to see how Figure 8 Around Legs Wraps are performed.

4. Drops

Drops are great for ball handling, hand speed, eye-to-ball coordination, and leg conditioning. Start in a squat position and using both hands, drop the basketball in front of you. The aim of the drill is to let it bounce once and move your hands behind your legs and back before catching it again with both hands.

Watch this video on drop drills.  

5. Straddle Flips

Straddle flips are similar to drops but when the ball drops, move only one hand behind the legs and catch the ball.

6. Pound Dribbles

Pound dribbles are a great way to improve your hand and wrist strength, quickness, and ball-handling skills. Pound dribbles must always be done as hard as possible. There are numerous variations of this drill, including Pound Dribble – Ankle Height – Right Hand / Pound Dribble – Ankle Height – Left Hand; Pound Dribble – Waist High – Right Hand / Pound Dribble – Waist High – Left Hand, and Pound Dribble – Shoulder Height – Right Hand / Pound Dribble – Shoulder Height – Left Hand.

Advanced players can do double-pound dribble drills using two balls with one in each hand. Try Double Pound at Ankle Height, Double Pound at Waist Height, Double Pound at Shoulders Height, and Double Pound Alternating where the balls are at a comfortable height and dribbling are alternated between each hand.

Here is a video showing pound dribble drills.

7. Spider Dribbles

Spider dribbles are great for working on your hand-eye coordination, ball-handling skills, speed, and leg conditioning. Begin with your knees shoulder-width apart and bent. Dribble the ball quickly with the right then left hand, keeping the ball beneath you all the time. Then move your right hand behind your knee for a dribble followed by your left hand and then back to the front.

Watch this video to see a demonstration of spider dribbles.  

8. Crossover Dribbles

Simply cross the ball continuously in front of your body, making sure you are crossing over wide.

9. Behind the Back Dribble

Simply cross the ball continuously behind your body, making sure you are crossing over wide.

10. Freestyle

Using all the dribble drills you have learned, combine as many together as possible while staying in a stationary position.

Basketball Dribbling Drills for Beginners

Beginner basketball players should start simple stationary drills as shown above that introduce the skills, concepts, and basic terminology of basketball. Once they have grasped the basic skills, movement and fun basketball drills can be introduced.

Here are a few fun dribbling drills that are good for beginners:

1. Pirate Dribbling

Pirate dribbling is a fun way to teach dribbling and slowly add speed into the mix. It also teaches younger players how to use space creatively on the court.

Drill Instructions

Two players are chosen to be “pirates” and all other players get a basketball. Everyone with a basketball starts dribbling in any area of the court and the pirates have to try and touch the ball. Once a pirate touches the ball, they get the ball and become the dribbler, who then becomes the pirate. This is a great drill for all ages.

Best for: Dribbling on the move and ball-handling skills.

2. What Time is it Mr. Fox?

This age-old drill can be used in a variety of sports and teaches young players how to dribble on the move and improve ball-handling skills. It also introduces young players to dribbling at different speeds.

Drill Instructions

Players line up on the baseline with a basketball and the coach stands at the foul line. Players yell, “what time is it Mr. Fox?” and the coach calls out a time for example “six o’clock.” Players then take six dribbles towards the coach. This can continue until the players get close to the coach and he yells, “dinner time!” Players then need to dribble back to the baseline as quickly as possible without the coach catching them.

Best for: Dribbling on the move, ball-handling skills, introduction to moving with the ball at speed.

3. Competitive Cone Touch Dribbling Drill

The competitive cone touch dribbling drill is a super-fun skill-building drill for all ages that can be fun or competitive. This drill has numerous variations and can be used as a dribbling drill, a skill-building activity, or a warm-up. It is designed to improve dribbling skills, hand-eye coordination, change of direction with the ball, and moving with the ball at fast speeds.

Drill Instructions

Cones are placed in different areas all over the court – the number will depend on the amount of space you have to work with. When the coach gives the signal, players dribble to each cone and touch the cone with one hand WHILE they are dribbling with the other hand. Players have one minute to touch as many cones as they can before returning to their original position.

Best for: Dribbling skills, hand-eye coordination, change of direction with the ball, and moving with the ball at fast speeds.

Basketball Dribbling Drills for Intermediate Players

Intermediate basketball players also need to practice stationary dribbling drills, which are great for honing dribbling and ball-handling skills and warming up.

Moving drills are vital to incorporate into training to practice positioning and movement around the court and learning to read the game. Here are a few drills for intermediate basketball players that incorporate movements and challenges that usually occur in a game.

1. Gears – Change of Speed Dribbling

This is a challenging drill as it requires players to move continuously while dribbling two balls simultaneously. It helps to improve and develop dribbling ability and dribbling at different speeds. It also allows players to work their ball-handling skills and changing pace during play.

Drill Instructions

Players line up on the baseline with two basketballs. When the coach gives the signal they need to run, dribbling both the balls at a certain speed or “gear.” Gear 1 = they run at 25% speed / slow jog; Gear 2 = 50% speed; gear 3 = 75% speed; gear 4 = 100% speed. When the coach shouts “change” they need to change direction.

Best for: Improving and developing dribbling ability, change of pace, speed, and ball-handling skills.

2. Crossover Dribbling Progression Drill

The crossover dribbling progression drill is suitable for intermediate and advanced players as every move in the drill starts with a crossover and the difficulty increases with each progression. This drill can be performed alone or with a team and makes use of 11 dribbling moves.

Drill Instructions

To perform the drill, place a chair (one player) or chairs (several players) about 15 feet from the baseline. Players dribble with one hand to the chair, execute a specific dribble move when they reach the chair, and dribble back. Each dribble move should be repeated at least six to eight times before changing and eyes are always forward and not on the ball.

The order of progression for this drill is as follows:

Drill #1 – Retreat Dribble with Cross Over

– Retreat quickly backward from the chair to simulate creating space from a defender

Drill #2 – Cross Over (Right to Left)

– Keep the ball low and change speeds on the crossover from slow/medium to fast

– Take an explosive first step after the change of direction and accelerate to a fast speed

Drill #3 – Cross Over (Left to Right)

– Keep the ball low and change speeds on the crossover from slow/medium to fast

– Take an explosive first step after the change of direction and accelerate to a fast speed

Drill #4 – Crossover / Through Legs (Right)

– Keep the ball low and change speeds on the crossover from slow/medium to fast

– Snap the ball and fake a change of direction at a fast speed

Drill #5 – Crossover / Through Legs (Left)

– Keep the ball low and change speeds on the crossover from slow/medium to fast

– Snap the ball and fake a change of direction at a fast speed

Drill #6 – Crossover / Behind Back (Right)

– Keep the ball low and change dribbling from slow/medium to fast

– Snap the ball and fake a change of direction at a fast speed

Drill #7 – Crossover / Behind Back (Left)

– Keep the ball low and change dribbling from slow/medium to fast

– Snap the ball and fake a change of direction at a fast speed

Drill #8 – Crossover / Through Legs / Behind Back

– Keep the ball low and change dribbling from slow/medium to fast

– Snap the ball and fake a change of direction at a fast speed

Drill #9 – Crossover / Behind Back / Through Legs

– Keep the ball low and change dribbling from slow/medium to fast

– Snap the ball and fake a change of direction at a fast speed

Drill #10 – Crossover / Through Legs / Through Legs

– Keep the ball low and change dribbling from slow/medium to fast

– Snap the ball and fake a change of direction at a fast speed

Drill #11 – Crossover / Crossover / Through Legs

– Keep the ball low and change dribbling from slow/medium to fast

– Snap the ball and fake a change of direction at a fast speed

Best for: Improving dribbling skills at speed, change of direction, ball-handling skills, faking change of direction.

3. 1v1 Speed Dribble

This is a great drill for improving dribbling at speed, conditioning, and finishing play under pressure. The drill simulates break-aways and lay-ups during a game and forces the offensive player to run at full speed.

Drill Instructions

A defender stands on the baseline and an offensive player with the ball stands opposite the defender just above the baseline. When the coach gives the signal, both players start at the same time with the offensive player attempting to beat the defender and dribble the ball to the opposite basket for a lay-up.

The defender must sprint at full speed to cut the offensive player off before reaching the basket and prevent a lay-up and possible point from being scored. This drill can be practiced from both ends of the court to improve ambidextrous dribbling and ball handling.

Progressions of this drill include adjusting the distance between the players so that the offensive player has a longer initial lead, and the defensive player has to run faster to catch.

Best for: Dribbling at speed, finishing play under pressure, break-aways, lay-ups, and conditioning.

Advanced Basketball Dribbling Drills

Even the best basketball players in the world have to practice basics so all the drills we have discussed in this article can be used by advanced players with various progressions.

Here are some more challenging drills for players with advanced ball-handling and dribbling skills.

Tight Spaces Ball Handling Drill

This ball-handling drill helps to develop and improve handles and forces faster and more explosive dribble moves. It also helps with attacking in straight lines at speed and putting pressure on defensive players. It also teaches players to be more deceptive and create spaces during a game and learn how to play through contact in smaller spaces.  

Watch this video to gain a better understanding of the Tight Spaces Ball Handling Drill.

One Hand Pound

This is an extremely challenging basketball drill for players of all levels, however, players adapt quickly to the drill if they use the correct technique. The One Hand Pound improves dribbling skills and speed, accurate passing, hand and wrist strength, and player confidence.

Drill Instructions

To perform the drill, players are paired up and need to stand about eight feet apart from each other. One of the players has a ball and has to place the left hand behind his/her back.

On the command, “Pound” from the coach, the player must dribble the ball once as hard as possible without the ball coming above the waist. The ball must be caught with the same hand and repeated several times before passing the ball to the opposite player.

The drill is then repeated with the right hand behind the back and the drill progresses in speed. Players are now dribbling with one hand, catching the ball, and passing to their opposite player at top speed.

You can do this drill alone by using a wall as your opposite player. It will work your arms harder as you won’t have a break. Speeds can be altered between slow, medium, and fast.

It is important for players to stand in an athletic stance with the knees bent so that they can get their legs into the pass. The dribble must be recovered with the fingertips, and the hand must be behind the ball on the pass to follow through accurately.

Two-Ball Crossover Rhythm Basketball Dribbling Drill

The Two Ball Crossover Rhythm Basketball Dribbling Drill is a great drill for working on tight, quick, and effective ball-handling skills. The drill uses two basketballs which improve ambidexterity, dribbling speed, keeping the ball low and body balanced, and executing moves in a tight space. It also allows basketball players to work on different dribbling combinations and moves.  

Drill Instructions

A player stands in an athletic stance with a basketball in each hand. The player then executes three consecutive crossover combinations with accuracy and speed. Each combination should be done twice.

The three crossover moves the player needs to execute are: between the legs crossover, behind the back crossover, and reverse between the legs crossover. The crossover moves are performed with one hand while the other hand maintains a consistent dribbling action in front of their body.

The drill should last between 30 and 45 seconds per hand before the direction of the crossovers is switched. It can be varied by changing the order of combination moves or the number of repetitions of each combination move.

To increase the difficulty of this already challenging drill, players could complete the two-ball moves while moving forward or backward.

Watch this video to get the grip of the Two Ball Crossover Rhythm Basketball Dribbling Drill.

Slow to Fast Between the Legs Behind the Back Basketball Dribbling Drill

Speed is just as important as skill in a game of basketball and offensive players that can separate themselves quickly from the defense and throw them off balance will have an undue advantage. The faster a player can change direction and speed in a game while dribbling, the better.  

This drill works on ball-handling skills, changing direction, and changing speed from slow to fast.  

Drill Instructions

A player begins dribbling the basketball with the right hand. They then execute a between-the-legs move at quarter speed. As soon as the ball has moved to the left hand and touches the finger pad, the player must snap the ball behind their back as fast as they can.

The players then take a couple of stationary dribbles and then repeats the move with the other hand. Important points for players to remember when performing this drill is to keep the eyes up all the time, so they can watch the moves of the defender in a real game. They also need to stay in a low athletic stance with bent knees as this helps to change speed and direction quickly.

Watch this video to get a better understanding of the Slow to Fast Between the Legs Behind the Back Basketball Dribbling Drill

Have fun on the court!