Best Basketball Drills to Improve Your Weak Hand
One of the biggest gifts a basketball player can give to opposing teams is an underdeveloped weak hand. As soon as you step on the court, you’re saying to your defender:
“Relax, you only need to defend me on one side.”
Whether in moving the ball down the floor, or shooting the rock, with a weak hand your effectiveness as a scorer, playmaker, and teammate is cut exactly in half.
You’re only 50% of the player you could be.
The best players are nearly ambidextrous. They’re as comfortable going to their left as they are going to their right.
Almost none of them started out that way.
Developing your weak hand into a dribbling and scoring threat means long hours of training. It also means you will be an invaluable asset to any team you play with.
Let’s make it impossible to tell whether you’re naturally right- or left-handed. Put in the time to master these drills, and you’ll be twice the player you are today.
Ready to get to work? Let’s go.
1. Dribble Sprints with Your Weak Hand
Starting out with Dribble Sprints means simply walking while dribbling with your weak hand at first.
Building on the basics of dribbling, and changing your game to include your weak hand will leave your defenders off kilter as you’re moving the ball on the floor. But we walk before we run.
Remember, developing your weak hand can be frustrating at first. For all of us, it’s just so much more comfortable to play with your dominant hand.
To perform Dribble Sprints you will vary between a slow pace that incorporates the basic basketball dribbling skills you’ve mastered already while moving up to a full-on sprint. Obviously, this progression takes time, but you can make it easier by shortening the floor.
Rather than attempting Dribble Sprints with the full court (see Full Court Drills later), begin by using an area between the baseline and free throw line. Eventually, you will build to the three-point line, and then half court.
You’ll be sprinting up and down the floor in no time.
Pro Tip: Put your dominant hand behind your back, stuck in the waistband of your shorts, to avoid cheating.
Getting the hang of it? Pretty soon the sports reporters are going to be writing feature pieces on your skills if you keep it up.
But they aren’t the only ones who will need to use the typewriter.
2. Typewriter Drill
This one is my personal favorite. Using the Typewriter Drill allows you to get comfortable with each individual finger, and build to great control with each hand.
Here’s how you do the Typewriter Drill:
-Sit on the court cross-legged, or with your legs extended in front of you.
-With your hand at your side begin dribbling a basketball while remaining on the floor.
-Keep the dribbles low to the ground to build speed.
-Only use one finger at a time, as if you were punching keys on a typewriter.
-Begin at your pinky and progress all the way to your thumb. And vice versa.
-Alternate between your dominant and your weak hand. Develop a rhythm, varying speed, and fingers simultaneously.
Pro Tip: Master the Typewriter Drill with each hand. Then use two basketballs at the same time, one on each side.
NBA greats have been working hard to develop both sides of their game since professional hoops began, so you’re not alone. One of the best weak hand drills is named for one of the greatest centers to ever play the game.
3. The Mikan Drill
Ever heard of a basketball great with the greatest hoops nickname of all time? They called George Mikan “Mr. Basketball.”
An inspiration to scoring greats like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal, George Mikan was one of the original dominant “big men” in professional basketball. He helped to revolutionize the game.
The Mikan Drill, named after him, is required training for any player looking to score in the paint–and not only big players.
Performed by standing beneath the hoop and alternating shooting and rebounding between your weak and dominant hand, the drill doesn’t just improve your close-range scoring ability. It will also help develop your weak hand for every part of your game.
Whether you’re a center, forward, or guard, performing the Mikan Drill regularly will increase dexterity in your less dominant hand.
4. Full Court Drills for Weak Hand
As you build confidence and get comfortable using your weak hand for dribbling and shooting it’s time to graduate to going full court. Master using your weak hand going all the way up and down the floor and you’ll be a force to reckon with come game time.
Watch: Think using your weak hand in hoops is hard? What about baseball?
There are as many drills for using the full court with your weak hand as there are skill lessons in all of basketball. Try a few of these, and then invent a few of your own.
-Weak Hand Full Court To Lay-Up Drill
-Weak Hand To Crossover Dribble-Sprint
-Weak Hand To Half Court Sprint and Stop
A variety of full court drills will help increase your comfort and speed.
Are you keeping your eyes up while dribbling though? You need to see your teammates, defenders, and the hoop!
Let’s try the Tennis Ball Toss.
5. Tennis Ball Toss
This drill is best to start out with your dominant hand while you get the hang of it. Grab a tennis ball in your weak hand and start dribbling a basketball on the other side with your dominant hand.
One of the biggest problems ball handlers have when starting out is looking down at the floor, and at the basketball, rather than looking up. Continue to toss the tennis ball with your weak hand and catch it, and continue to dribble up and down the floor.
This will force you to keep your head up.
Once you get comfortable it’s time to switch. Using your weak hand to dribble during the Tennis Ball Toss drill is a great way to develop your weak hand.
Been practicing? Okay, now that you can dribble and score with both hands, let’s make sure you have the best ball for your game.
Come read our expert reviews for choosing the ball that’s right for you.