Drills to Learn to Palm a Basketball


Being able to palm a basketball is a huge advantage for a basketball player. Palming gives a player more control and the ability to dunk one-handed with the confidence that the ball won't fly out of his hand. A common misconception is that palming a basketball depends only on hand size. Even players with smaller hands can palm a ball if they have strong hands and fingertips. There are several things you can do to improve this strength.

Ball Squeezes

  • Hold a basketball straight out in front of you with your arms extended as far as they will reach. Squeeze the ball with just your fingertips as hard as you can for as long as you can. Repetition is key as the more you do it the stronger your fingertips will become. Since the actual palming of the basketball is done by your fingertips, this drill will help develop the strength needed.

Fingertip Pushups

  • Just as you would do a regular push up, place the fingertips of both hands on a flat surface shoulder width apart. Keep your feet together and lower your body towards the ground. Make sure you go slowly when you are going down. Once your chest touches the ground, slowly push your body upward to starting position. Do as many repetitions as you can until you begin to feel tired. If you are too tired to continue to do them correctly, stop to avoid the risk of injury.

Up the Ladder, Down the Ladder

  • Holding the ball in front of you, with your arms fully extended, pass the ball back and forth from hand to hand using only your fingertips. Start at eye level and take the ball down to your waist and back up. Be sure to keep your arms fully extended to ensure that your fingertips are doing most of the work.

Squeeze the Banana

  • Similar to the other drills, this one will also improve fingertip strength. With the ball in front of you at eye level and arms fully extended, squeeze your fingers and thumb together with one hand at a time. Move the ball from one hand to the other by squeezing as quickly as you can from eye level down to your waist and back up.

Hand Exercisers

  • If you are willing to spend a little bit of money, there are several hand and fingertip exercisers that will help improve strength and dexterity. This exercise equipment can be found at most stores that sell fitness and sporting goods. The stronger your hands and fingertips are, the more chance you have of being able to palm a basketball.

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  • Photo Credit holding basketball #5 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com
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