Nick Rivers, a DICK’S Sporting Goods Associate and former point guard for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, believes that the best way to improve your ball-handling skills is to practice dribbling with two basketballs simultaneously. His theory: If you can dribble with two, then you can definitely dribble with one.
To improve your ball-handling skills and overall presence on the court, practice these six two-ball drills for 10 minutes each day.
TWO-BALL SAME TIME DRILL
Bounce both basketballs at the same time while making sure your head is up. If you start to hear two bounces or a pitter-patter, then your timing is off. The key is to control the basketballs and get them on the same rhythm. This drill improves hand-eye coordination, ball handling, passing and control.
TWO-BALL ALTERNATE DRIBBLE
Keep your head up while bouncing the basketballs at different times. Next, make sure your dribbles are in rhythm, creating a one-two cadence. This drill will help the timing on your dribbles, ushering in more control.
TWO-BALL VARIED HEIGHT
There will be times when you have to vary the height of your dribbles as you move through traffic, all while keeping control of the ball. This drill will help you learn how to kill your dribble and vary the height of your dribbles. To start, dribble three high dribbles with both balls, then three low dribbles with both balls. The rhythm of the high dribbles should be slow, while the low dribbles should be fast.
To begin this drill, start off in a low, athletic stance and “cycle the basketballs” in a circle. This means that the ball in your left hand should bounce to right hand, while at the same time the ball in your right hand passes to your left hand without it touching the floor. When you start getting the hang of that, try to get 20 in a row without messing up. Once you’ve done 20 in a row in one direction, do 20 in the other direction clockwise, then counter-clockwise. It’s important to be able to go both ways and use both hands.
Remember to stay low. Many players have the tendency to stand up to do the drill, but always make sure you’re staying focused and in an athletic position.
ONE-DRIBBLE MINI SCOOPOVER
To begin, get even lower than in the Two-Ball Cycle drill. Bounce both of the balls at the same time before transitioning them to the other hand, like you would in a crossover without the balls touching each other as they cross. For the rhythm, it should be one dribble between each crossover move. This drill improves hand speed so you can make quick, decisive decisions with the ball when defenders are reaching or attempting a steal.
This type of drill is usually for more advanced players. To start out, place your left leg out in front of your right leg while in a low, athletic position. Dribble both balls once before switching one of them behind the back, then repeat with the second ball. It’s important, like every two-ball drill, to have a rhythm. In this drill specifically, you want the balls to bounce at the exact same time. It makes it easier to track the them if you can dribble at the same time.