Basketball involves many different skills—shooting, passing, and defense all come to mind immediately.
However, dribbling is the most fundamental skill involved in the game of basketball. If you can’t dribble, you can’t move with the ball!
So, how can we improve our dribbling skills?
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, there are fun drills to help you become a better dribbler and ball handler.
Here are 15 dribbling drills for kids—we’ll separate them by difficulty and add some fun games at the end!
Kids Basketball Dribbling Drills for Beginners
One of the most important things to know about dribbling in basketball is to keep the ball low—with the pound drill, you can easily practice this.
The Pound Drill hones dribbling control by emphasizing the need to keep the ball low and close to the ground. This skill is crucial for protecting the ball from defenders during games—there’s nothing worse than getting the ball stolen from you!
The drill also helps develop wrist strength—a key factor in executing powerful, controlled dribbles. As players alternate between their dominant and non-dominant hands during this drill, it also improves hand-eye coordination and ambidextrous dribbling skills, making players more versatile on the court.
- Stand in an athletic stance with your knees bent and your back straight.
- Dribble the ball as hard as you can with one hand, keeping it low to the ground.
- Alternate between your dominant and non-dominant hand.
- Repeat for a set amount of time or a specific number of dribbles.
When drills are performed for any skill, focusing on some activities that help with real in-game scenarios is essential.
Take wraps, for example—this drill primarily focuses on ball protection techniques, helping players improve their ability to protect the ball from defenders while transitioning between dribbling hands.
Wraps also help players weave through tight spaces on the court while maintaining ball control, a skill that is particularly useful when driving to the basket.
By practicing wraps with both hands, players improve their dribbling versatility and increase their ability to use either hand effectively during the game.
- Start with the ball in one hand.
- Wrap the ball around your body from side to side while maintaining a low dribble.
- Alternate between clockwise and counterclockwise wraps.
- Practice this drill with both hands.
Have you ever admired those players who can change direction on a dime with tight handles?
It all starts with practice—the zig-zag drill can help you get there!
The Zig-Zag Drill is a versatile exercise that offers several key benefits for basketball players. This drill improves dribbling skills under pressure by simulating game-like situations where players must change direction quickly while maintaining ball control.
It also improves agility—players need to make sharp cuts and changes of direction while dribbling through a series of cones or markers.
The Zig-Zag Drill teaches players how to effectively maneuver around defenders and work through traffic on the court, making it a valuable tool for developing overall ball-handling abilities.
- Set up a series of cones or markers in a zig-zag pattern on the court.
- Dribble the ball through the cones, making sharp cuts and changes of direction.
- Maintain control of the ball while navigating the course.
- Use both hands during the drill.
The game of basketball is all about quick decisions — when you have possession, there are only 24 seconds on the shot clock!
Gimme Five is a fun and effective drill that enhances hand-eye coordination and quick decision-making. By dribbling the ball rapidly and tapping it off five cones or markers while moving forward, players develop the ability to react quickly to changing situations during a game.
This drill also encourages players to keep the ball low and controlled while executing precise dribbles — an essential for avoiding turnovers and maintaining possession.
- Place five cones or markers in a line about two feet apart.
- Stand facing the cones.
- Dribble the ball quickly and low, tapping it off each cone with one hand while moving forward.
- Try to keep the ball moving smoothly and maintain control.
- Use both hands during the drill.
The crossover is one of the most iconic dribble moves in basketball. Many players throughout the history of the NBA have become synonymous with the move — Allen Iverson, for example.
What if you could use a drill to become a master of the move?
The stationary crossover dribble drill is vital for beginners — it introduces the fundamental skill of changing hands while dribbling.
This skill is essential for maneuvering around opponents and getting comfortable using both hands on the court. Mastering the crossover dribble at this early stage builds a solid foundation, boosting a player's confidence and versatility.
- Stand still with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Dribble the ball with your dominant hand.
- Quickly switch the dribble to your non-dominant hand in front of your body.
- Step your non-dominant foot slightly in front of your dominant foot as you switch hands.
- Continue dribbling, alternating between dominant and non-dominant hand crossovers.
- Focus on keeping the dribble low and controlled.
Advanced Basketball Dribbling Drills
How about some drills for those who are a little more experienced?
You can never stop learning new techniques—especially in basketball. Here are five more drills for the advanced players.
Change of Speed Drill
If you want the best chance to keep your defender guessing, you should understand how to change pace. Moving quickly before stopping on a dime and continuing more methodically makes you difficult to guard.
The Change of Speed Drill offers essential benefits by teaching players the art of varying their dribbling speed. The drill helps players deceive defenders and create scoring opportunities in the game. By mastering this drill, players learn to execute quick bursts of speed to blow past opponents or slow down the pace to control the game tempo, improving their overall ball-handling and decision-making abilities on the court.
- Start dribbling the ball at a moderate pace.
- Suddenly shift to a much faster dribbling speed for a few dribbles.
- Then, slow down to a walking pace.
- Repeat this pattern, emphasizing smooth transitions between speeds.
To become a better ball handler, it all starts with precision and control. The Chair Drill can help players with these two factors.
By introducing an obstacle to navigate around, this drill closely mimics in-game situations where players must maneuver around defenders. This translates to an improved ability to protect the ball, create passing lanes, and make plays.
Players who excel in the Chair Drill also develop confidence and agility in their dribbling, giving them a distinct advantage during the big game.
- Set up a chair or cone on the court.
- Dribble the ball around the chair in a figure-eight pattern using both hands.
- Focus on keeping the dribble low and controlled while maintaining a good stance.
- Perform the drill at varying speeds.
Behind the Back Drill
Ball-handling wizards know the importance of pulling off behind-the-back dribble moves — it also feels great to juke out a defender with a behind-the-back move before scoring!
The Behind the Back Drill plays a vital role in improving a player's ball-handling repertoire. It introduces a unique dribble move that can shield the ball from defenders or create space for a shot or pass.
As players practice this skill, they develop enhanced hand-eye coordination and dexterity, making them more versatile and unpredictable on the court.
- Start dribbling the ball with one hand.
- As the ball reaches your hip on that side, quickly move your other hand behind your back and dribble the ball with that hand.
- Continue alternating between hands behind your back, maintaining a controlled dribble.
Ball handling and dribbling skills are so much more than just your hand dribbling the ball — it’s about your body control, too.
The Retreat Drill emphasizes the ability to change direction and retreat while maintaining control of the ball — a crucial skill for avoiding turnovers, especially when faced with tight defense or unexpected pressure from opponents.
The drill also teaches players how to create space, reset plays, and protect the ball, ultimately contributing to better decision-making and composure in challenging game situations.
- Start by dribbling forward.
- Quickly change direction on command or at a cone marker by taking a few backward dribbles.
- Then, resume dribbling forward.
- Repeat this pattern, emphasizing control and balance while retreating.
Two Ball Dribbling Drill
One of the best ways to improve your ball handling and dribbling in a game is to overload yourself in the drill — for example, adding a second ball.
The Two Ball Dribbling Drill offers a way to improve by focusing on coordination and ambidextrous ball-handling. Players who excel in this drill significantly improve their hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and ability to simultaneously manage the basketball with both hands.
This added level of control translates into better passing, shooting, and overall ball-handling skills on the court, making players more versatile and capable of handling different in-game challenges.
- Stand in an athletic stance with one basketball in each hand.
- Dribble both basketballs simultaneously, trying to maintain control and rhythm with both hands.
- Focus on keeping the dribble low and controlled, and work on gradually increasing speed and intensity.
Fun Dribbling Games for Kids
We couldn’t leave out some fun dribbling games — who says you can’t have fun while working on your skills?
Playing tag with a basketball? Sounds like a great time!
Dribble Tag combines the excitement of tag with your basketball dribbling skills — the primary goal is to improve dribbling control under pressure and develop evasion strategies.
Players must dribble their basketballs while avoiding being tagged by the player designated as the "tagger." The game encourages quick thinking, agility, and decision-making as players strive to maintain their dribble and avoid getting tagged.
It also promotes teamwork — players can help "unfreeze" their tagged teammates by dribbling the ball through their legs, creating a sense of camaraderie on the court.
- Designate one player as the "tagger" and give them a soft object, like a foam ball or beanbag.
- All other players must dribble their basketballs within a defined playing area.
- The tagger attempts to tag other players by hitting them gently with the soft object while they dribble.
- When tagged, a player must freeze and place their basketball on the ground.
- To "unfreeze" a player, another player must dribble their basketball through the legs of the frozen player.
- Rotate the tagger role periodically to keep the game exciting.
Snake is a dribbling game focusing on ball control, spatial awareness, and teamwork. Players form a "snake" by dribbling closely behind the player in front of them, with the player at the front serving as the "head." The objective is to navigate through a predetermined course without breaking the chain.
The game encourages players to maintain their dribble under close proximity to others and requires them to communicate and coordinate their movements to avoid collisions and keep the snake intact. This game emphasizes the importance of precision and teamwork while dribbling.
- Players form a line and start dribbling their basketballs, maintaining close proximity to the player in front.
- The player at the front of the line is the "head" of the snake, and the player at the back is the "tail."
- The objective is for the snake to navigate a predetermined path or obstacle course without breaking the chain.
- If a player loses control of their dribble or strays from the line, they become the new tail, and the player behind them becomes the new head.
- The game continues as players take turns leading the snake through the course.
Sharks and Minnows
You might have heard about this one before!
Sharks and Minnows is a dribbling game that blends dribbling skills with evasion tactics. The goal for "minnows" is to dribble their basketballs across the playing area to reach the other side without being tagged by the "sharks."
The game enhances dribbling control and teaches players how to maneuver under pressure from defenders — something they can practice on the court!
- Select a few players to be the "sharks," and the remaining players are the "minnows."
- The sharks stand in the center of the playing area, while the minnows start on one side.
- The minnows must dribble their basketballs across the playing area to reach the opposite side without getting tagged by the sharks.
- If a minnow is tagged, they becomes a shark for the next round.
- The game continues until only one minnow remains, who becomes the winner.
Red Light, Green Light
This one plays exactly like the title sounds!
Red Light, Green Light is a dribbling game focusing on control and quick reaction times.
The traffic light serves as the central figure, issuing commands that dictate whether players can dribble forward ("Green Light") or must stop ("Red Light").
The objective for players is to respond promptly to these commands, testing their ability to start and stop their dribble on command while also maintaining control of the ball. The traffic light aims to catch players off guard when they should be frozen.
- One player acts as the "traffic light" and stands at one end of the playing area with their back turned to the other players.
- The remaining players start dribbling their basketballs at the opposite end of the playing area.
- When the traffic light shouts "Green Light," players can dribble forward as fast as possible.
- When the traffic light shouts "Red Light," players must stop their dribble and freeze.
- The traffic light occasionally turns around to catch players moving when they should be frozen.
- The first player to reach the traffic light wins and becomes the new traffic light.
Dribble Knockout is a competitive dribbling game with the primary objective of improving dribbling skills under pressure. Players must dribble their basketballs while attempting to knock other players' balls out of the playing area. The game tests their dribbling precision, control, and strategic decision-making as they aim to protect their own ball while targeting their opponents. The last player remaining inside the playing area is declared the winner. Dribble Knockout promotes a competitive spirit while challenging players to apply various dribbling techniques to keep their ball in play and eliminate opponents.
- Create a small playing area with a boundary line.
- All players start inside the playing area with their basketballs.
- The objective is to dribble and knock the basketballs of other players out of the playing area while protecting your own.
- Players are eliminated if their basketball is knocked out, and they must leave the playing area.
- The last player remaining inside the playing area wins the game.
- Encourage players to use a variety of dribbling moves to keep their ball in play and target opponents' balls.
Improve Your Dribbling With Drills and Games at a Basketball Summer Camp
Ready to take your dribbling (and overall basketball skills) to the next level?
Experienced counselors can share their favorite drills to help your child become an all-around better ball handler.
If summer camp is on your mind, we can help you pick the right one. The Future Stars Camp Comparison Checklist lets you easily compare and contrast basketball camp costs, activities, dates, and locations.
Access the Camp Comparison Checklist today and find a basketball summer camp your child will love!