How Can You Improve Your Left (Weak) Hand Dribbling?

If you are asking yourself this question, the first thing I would tell you is congratulations!

While 99% of players have one hand that is definitely stronger and better at ball handling, most players don’t spend any time trying to make sure that both hands are equal or at least VERY CLOSE to equal in terms of ball handling. Most players realize they have a problem but won’t do anything about it.

They continue to have a dominant hand that they are comfortable using in games.

And soon defenses realize this as well…

Good defenses will take your one strong hand away and force you to use your weak hand. That is when you feel like a below average player.

So why am I congratulating you???

You realize that great players are great with BOTH hands.

You realize the need to improve.

You realize that the time to get better is NOW!

Two Strong Hands Equals Better…

If you have 2 strong hands and you don’t have a weak hand, what will that mean for you? Well it means….

  • You can attack both ways off the dribble equally well….which makes you a match-up nightmare.
  • Teams must guard you straight up and can’t try to force you a certain direction.
  • You are an instant asset to your coach against pressure defense.
  • You must be on the floor at the end of the game because of your ball handling skills.
  • You will have more scoring opportunities because you can drive right or left.

So let’s get straight to it. Below is a list of 5 different ways to help you improve your ball handling with your weak hand. 

5 Ways To Improve Your Left Hand (Weak Hand) Dribbling

1. Increase The Reps

If you are a right handed player who is trying to improve your left hand, start by increasing your left hand reps when doing ball handling drills. 

In other words, if you are doing a ball handling drill that calls for 10 reps right hand and 10 reps left hand, simply increase your left hand reps. So maybe do 10 reps right hand and 15 reps with your left hand. Just make this a part of your workout routine.  It may not seem like a big difference, but if you consistently do more QUALITY reps with your weak hand, you’ll begin to see improvement.

2. Give Me 10!

I’m not asking for an extra hour or two hours a day. I’m asking that you show up 10 minutes early to each work out.  This 10 minutes is going to be dedicated to ONLY USING YOUR LEFT HAND. 

Below is a list and brief explanation of simple yet effective drills to do with your weak hand in the first 10 minutes of each workout.

Stationary Weak Hand Drills

  • Left Hand (Weak Hand) Ball Rolls. Simply roll the ball on the floor in a circle with your left hand. Make sure you go both directions. Do 3 circles clockwise and 3 circles counterclockwise.
  • Left Hand Pound Low.  Pound the ball  as low and as hard as you can for 20 seconds.
  • Left Hand Pound High. Pound the ball  as high and hard as you can for 20 seconds.
  • Left Hand Kills. Pound the ball high and hard and then after 5 seconds try to pound the ball as low as you can (almost kill your dribble) and gradually bring the ball up to as high as you can go. Repeat for 5 reps.
  • Left Hand Side To Side. On the left side of your body, push and pull the ball at your side low and fast for 20 seconds.
  • Left Hand Windshield Wipers. Put the ball out in front of you and go back and forth from left to right low and hard. Do this for 20 seconds.

On The Move Ball Handling for Weak Hand   (Do These Drills Full Court & Back)

  • Left Hand ½ Speed. You should go at approximately 50% speed with your left (weak) hand.
  • Left Hand Hesitation. Take 2 dribbles forward and perform your hesitation with your left hand and then explode forward. Repeat until you get to the opposite baseline. 
  • Left Hand In And Out. Take 2 dribbles forward and perform in and out move with your left hand. Repeat until you get to the opposite baseline. 
  • Left Hand Retreat Dribble. Take 4 hard dribbles forward. Stop. Take 2 hard dribbles backwards trying to cover as much ground as possible. Continue with 4 dribbles forward followed by 2 retreat dribbles backwards until you get to the opposite baseline. 
  • Left Hand Low Pound. Walk to the opposite baseline while pounding the ball in your left hand low and hard
  • Left Hand Speed Dribble. Now it is time to fly. Speed dribble as fast as you can to the opposite baseline. Do this drill full court and back three times with a short rest between reps.

These 11 drills give you a great place to start each of your workouts. And the best thing is you don’t have to be at the gym to do these, so if you want to improve faster, do these beginner basketball drills twice a day at home.

Key Points of Emphasis:

  • Make sure you keep your eyes up for every drill and look around the gym as you are using your left hand.

  • Work on hard, quick dribbles while you are using your left hand. You may lose the ball occasionally – that’s OK – you are getting BETTER!

3. Left Only Bonus Day

Everyone knows to improve at something it takes extra time. How bad do you want to become an elite ball handler with both hands?  If your left (weak) hand is holding you back stop making excuses. Go to the gym 1 extra day a week. 

Maybe you are going 3 days, so go 4. 
Maybe you are going 5 days, so go 6.

But make that extra gym day a LEFT HAND DAY. Spend your time at the gym that day doing everything with your left hand. 

Do all left handed stationary ball handling. 
Do all left handed on the move ball handling.
Do all scoring moves with left hand dribbling.
Do all your pull up jumpers to the left.  
Pass against the wall to yourself only using your left hand.

This doesn’t have to be an extremely long workout. Maybe you are only at the gym an extra 45 minutes for this workout. And you can still do most of the normal shooting drills you do, but make sure any time you are to dribble, use your weak hand.

4. Left In Daily Life

Ok, how often do you use your left hand in your daily life? Using your opposite or weak hand in everyday life helps strengthen neural connections in your brain. 

Try using your left hand for EVERYTHING you do throughout the day.  

Try opening doors with your left hand.

Try brushing your teeth with your left hand.

Try eating with your left hand.

You get the point. Everything you normally would use your right hand for, try using your left hand. It will be awkward at first, but you will gradually feel more comfortable. And this new found comfort with your left hand will carry over to the court.

5. Game Situations

Make sure you use practices, pick-up games and scrimmages, to work on using your weak hand as well.

You will have to make a concerted effort throughout these live action games to use your left hand more!

What might that look like?

If you are forcing yourself to use your weak hand during off-season games, what might that look like? Maybe you are…

  • Dribbling the ball down the court with your left hand when dribbling in transition.
  • Attacking LEFT the first five times you put the ball on the floor to get to the rim.
  • Bringing the ball down the floor every time with your left hand.
  • Making push passes with your left hand.

Work = Confidence

Remember, your current habit is to use your right hand and your strength is using your right hand. This means the tighter the game and the better the competition, the more likely you are to resort back to what you do best….using your strong hand.  

You must develop your weak hand so you are AS CONFIDENT using your left hand as you are using your right hand. And the only way for you to become confident in using your weak hand is by putting in the work! Put in the work and you’ll gain the confidence.

It is crucial that you implement your action plan for improving your weak hand into scrimmages, pick-up games, and summer league games, as well as practices.  It is the only way you can achieve your ultimate goal of having  NO WEAK HAND and having 2 STRONG HANDS.

Now let’s get to work!

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Nathaniel
Nathaniel
6 months ago

Yes! Develope that off hand until you do not have a weak hand. This is a huge asset as a dribbler, but also a post player being able to shoot with their off hand. This makes it difficult to guard.

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