Eight Basketball Dribbling Exercises

How to Dribble: For Beginners & Experienced Players

Being able to dribble well is an essential technique in basketball.

Dribbling is the most important skill in basketball and the first thing a beginner learns. Professional basketball players also regularly integrate dribbling exercises into their training to optimize their coordination and endurance. In this article we will show you four exercises for beginners and advanced players to practice your dribbling skills.

Before we dive into the basketball dribbling exercises, here are three basic tips to get you started:

  • Take your eyes off the ball. Otherwise you can't see what the opponent is doing.
  • Lift your chin, look straight ahead and try to fix your gaze.
  • Give equal time to both hands when dribbling.

Your checklist to becoming a good dribbler:


Basketball Dribbling Exercises for Beginners

Before you start the drills, you should be able to dribble in place. From there you can start pushing yourself and leave your comfort zone.

Dribbling while Multi-Tasking

A man dribbles with basketball
In a game, the ability to multi-task to imperative.

Dribbling with distraction improves your focus and multitasking skills.

Exercise Set-Up:

  • Step 1: Walk across the court while dribbling.
  • Step 2: Talk with a teammate while dribbling.
  • Step 3: Shake your teammates hand while dribbling.


Women practices crossovers.
This basketball dribbling drill is regularly used by professional players.

Crossover-Dribbling improves your ball handling and stamina.

For this exercise, stay in place and switch hands back and forth while you dribble the basketball. Slightly bend your knees and keep a straight back.

Exercise Set-Up:

  • Step 1: Dribble the basketball from one hand to the other until you feel confident to move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Bend your knees further to decrease your distance to the floor. Depending on how high or low you dribble the basketball, the behaviour of the ball and the force you need to apply to move the basketball will change.
  • Step 3: Increase your speed and try to dribble as fast as possible without losing control of the ball.

Tip: To practice low and fast dribbling, alternate between dribbling the basketball with your right and left hand while sitting down.

Dribbling Through an Obstacle Course

Two boys dribbling around cones
Vary the set up of your obstacle course to keep it exciting.

An obstacle course is perfect for training your agility with a basketball. You can build and vary it according to your training level.

Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Slalom with cones and flags
  • Gymnastic bench, over which you dribble the basketball while walking alongside the bench.
  • Rings into which you dribble sideways as you pass by
  • Sprint between two cones while dribbling
  • Boxes over which you run while dribbling the basketball
  • Lay down a small, narrow track with ropes that you dribble low to the ground through

Did You Know?

Dribbling was only added to the rules of basketball in 1910, a full 19 years after the modern game of basketball was invented. Before that, players were only allowed to pass the ball while standing still.

Dribbling Backwards

Man dribbling a ball
With enough practice, dribbling backwards will become child's play.

To improve ball handling and agility, try dribbling backwards.

Exercise Set-Up:

  • Step 1: Dribble in front of your body like normal but walk backwards while you're doing it.
  • Step 2: Dribble the basketball around yourself in a circle.
  • Step 3: Try to dribble behind your back.


Advanced Basketball Dribbling Exercises

Got the hang of dribbling and walking at the same time? Here are some advanced techniques.

Figure Eights

Man dribbling a basketball around his legs
The figure eights drill: The perfect exercise to train both hands.

Everyone has a dominant hand when dribbling. Being able to dribble with both hands puts you at a clear advantage and makes you a better, more flexible player.

The figure eights is an exercise that lets you train both hands at the same time. Take a wide stance and pass the ball between your legs in a figure eight motion.

Exercise Set-Up:

  • Step 1: Dribble a figure 8 until your can do so without error.
  • Step 2: Bend your knees further to decrease the distance to the floor.
  • Step 3: Try to increase your speed as much as possible. Very deep and fast dribblings are the most difficult. If you want to improve your skills even further, try to go as deep and fast as possible.

Crossover while being Fouled

Man holding basketball
You can practice these exercises by yourself or in a group.

This drill is perfect to get you ready for game day as it trains speed, focus and especially coordination.

Exercise Set-Up:

  • Step 1: Stand an arms length away from a pole or a teammate. Now do cross-overs.
  • Step 2: While you have the ball in one hand, touch the pole or your teammates hand with the other hand.
  • Step 3: Once you have internalized the exercise, you can increase your pace.

Combine Dribbling Exercises

Two players playing basketball
Play a pick up match to get a feel for the game.

Pick a few dribbling exercises you want to perform in a set order or combine with each other. This lets you recreate a game situation and train more effectively.

Here are a few possible combinations:

  • Crossover twice in front of your body immediately followed by two crossovers behind your back and a figure eight through your legs. You can repeat this as many times as you like while trying to get faster.
  • Set up cones and move back and forth between them. Perform a different exercise at every cone. Try to move as quickly as possible in order to practice quick changes of direction and improve your reaction times.

Tip: To make the exercise harder, you can let teammates distract you by letting them slap you on your arms, provoke contact or get in your way.

Dribbling with Two Basketballs

Two Basketballs in the net
With two balls you can train both hands.

Dribbling with two balls simultaneously is a great way to train both hands. You can set up this exercise with varying levels of difficulty.

Exercise set-up:

  • Step 1: Dribble both balls simultaneously while standing still.
  • Step 2: Dribble while moving.
  • Step 3: Juggle the balls with the help of the floor. Push one ball towards the ground and throw the second ball into your other hand. With your free hand, catch the ball that's bouncing up from the floor. Try to increase your speed as you get better at the exercise.

Practice Makes Perfect

These exercises will help you along your way to mastering the dribble. You can read up on the rules of basketball to make sure that you don't commit any fouls while dribbling.

Looking for another challenge? Perfect your jumpshot or dunk.

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Good Luck Training!


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