Weak ball handlers are just that – weak. They lack the ability to be fluid with the basketball because their off hand (or weak hand) and sometimes even their “strong” hand lacks the necessary strength and motor skills (dexterity) to effectively control the ball.
This stage of the Dynamic Ball Handling System has been developed to rapidly increase your hand strength and dexterity. It will include both drills involving a tennis ball and a regular basketball. The tennis ball drills force you to focus on small hand movements which will help develop both strength and dexterity. Another advantage of the tennis ball drills is that tennis balls are easy to carry and you can always have one with you. You can work on these drills while watching television or sitting in the back of a car. The drills are quick and easy to do and could be done multiple times during the day.
Note: at the end of each drill there will be a suggested workout length for the drill. A repetition will refer to one performance of the drill. So, for example, it might be suggested to complete “five repetitions” which would mean to do the drill five times. A set is a completed group of repetitions. So, it might be suggested to complete three sets of five repetitions. Your first set would be the first five repetitions, your second set is the next five repetitions, and your third set is the final five repetitions.
Tennis Ball Drills
Section I – Developing Strength and Dexterity
1. Single finger ball squeeze: begin by holding a tennis ball in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Start with the thumb of that hand and squeeze the tennis ball for a count of five seconds. Release the ball and then repeat for a total of five repetitions before moving on to the next finger. Do three sets of five repetitions. (after you build strength, you can move up to 10 reps.)
2. Full hand ball squeeze: begin by holding a tennis ball in the palm of your non-dominant hand. Squeeze the ball using all five fingers at once for a count of five seconds. Release the ball and then repeat for a total of ten repetitions. Do three sets of ten repetitions
3. Back of the hand balance: begin by testing how long you can balance a tennis ball on the back or your dominant hand until it rolls off your hand. Then work on balancing the tennis ball on the back of your non-dominant hand until it is equal to that of your dominant hand. Work on improving the time for both your dominant and non-dominant hands.
4. Wrist to finger tip rolls: begin by testing how many times you can roll the tennis ball from the wrist of your dominant hand over the ends of your finger tips (the ball should go over your finger tips like a barrel going over a waterfall and not off the side of your hand). Start by cradling the ball on your wrist until you have it under control, then slowly roll the ball down the back of your hand toward your finger tips until it rolls over your finger tips and drops off your hand. Count how many times you can successfully roll the ball off the back of your hand directly over your finger tips (without going off the side). Work on developing your non-dominant hand so that you can control the ball equally as well with either hand. Also work on improving the number of successful rolls with each hand. Do three sets of as many repetitions as you can in a row. Try to make each set longer than the previous set
5. Wrist Flips: this drill is similar to the Finger Rolls, except instead of letting the tennis ball drop over the ends of your finger tips and hit the floor, as the ball reaches the end of your finger tips, you want to flip the ball in the air and catch it on the back of your hand near your wrist again. Don’t worry if you have trouble doing this drill. It is difficult to master, but when you are able to complete the drill, you will know that your hand coordination is definitely improving! Do three sets of as many repetitions as you can in a row. Try to make each set longer than the previous set.
6. Across the knuckle Rolls: begin by cradling the tennis ball between the knuckles of your index finger and middle finger on your strong hand. Slowly tilt your hand so that ball rolls across your knuckles toward your pinkie finger. Then roll the ball back toward your index finger. Count how many times you can successfully roll the ball back and forth across your knuckles before you lose control. Work on developing your non-dominant hand so that you can control the ball equally as well with either hand. Also work on improving the number of successful rolls with each hand. Do three sets of as many repetitions as you can in a row. Try to make each set longer than the previous set.
7. Across the Knuckle Catch: this drill is similar to the Across the Knuckle roll, except when the ball reaches the end of your hand, let the ball fall of your hand and try to catch the ball before it hits the floor. To successfully make the catch, your hand will have to go in a quick, tight, circular motion. Make sure that you work on having the ball roll off both sides of the hand so that your hand is forced to make the circular motion in two different directions. Do three sets of as many repetitions as you can in a row. Try to make each set longer than the previous set.
8. Back of the Hand Bounce: begin by balancing the ball on the back of your hand. Once you have the ball under control on the back of your hand, use your hand like a paddle and bounce the ball in the air. Keep track of how many times in a row you can bounce the ball before losing control. Work on trying to stand in one place rather than chasing the ball all over. Also, try to keep the bounce short and controlled, not high and out of control. Do three sets of as many repetitions as you can in a row. Try to make each set longer than the previous set.