Basketball is a sport that requires constant practice in order to become the best player you can be. But what do you do when you can't make it to the court? Whether it's bad weather, limited access to a basketball court, or maybe you just want to get some extra reps at home, there are plenty of basketball drills you can do right inside your house.
Some of them may annoy your family & neighbors more than others, but these 9 basketball drills can easily be done on a daily basis with a standard indoor ball or silent basketball. From ball handling basics to shooting mechanics, passing precision to defensive movements, and even mental toughness and focus, these drills will help you stay sharp and improve your game while your opponents watch TV on the couch.
Preparing Your Indoor Training Space
Unless your name is LeBron James, you probably don’t have an indoor basketball court. You’ll have to practice in the basement or move some furniture around in the living room or bedroom. But hey, that’s what it takes to get to the next level. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind:
Remove any obstacles or fragile items that could get in the way of your training. Make sure there is enough room to move around freely without the risk of bumping into anything.
If possible, find a space with a smooth and non-slippery surface. Hardwood floors, tiles, and even carpeted areas can work well for indoor basketball training. Avoid areas with area rugs or uneven surfaces that could cause you to slip.
Look for a wall that you can use for certain drills, such as passing or shooting against. Ideally, this wall should be free from any valuable items or delicate decorations. It won’t matter if you’re using a non-scuff indoor basketball, but avoid outdoor balls on any living area walls. If anything, try to find an unfinished concrete or brick wall.
- Make sure you have all the necessary equipment within reach. This includes basketballs in various sizes, cones, agility ladder, jump rope, and any other training aids specific to the drills you plan to do. You may just have a basketball – that’s fine too.
Now you have a place to practice; let’s get into the drills.
Best Home Basketball Drills to Improve Your Game
Drill 1: Ball Handling Basics
Ball handling skills are a fundamental part of basketball, whether you’re a point guard or a center. Not to mention, all you need to practice is yourself and a ball, so there’s no excuse not to practice. You can get as creative as you want with dribbling drills, but the following are the core drills that will help you perfect your ball-handling skills.
Stationary Dribbling: Stand in one spot and practice dribbling the ball using both hands. Start with simple dribbles, gradually increasing the speed and intensity. Focus on maintaining control and a consistent dribbling height.
Figure Eight Dribble: Imagine drawing a figure-eight shape with the ball around your legs. Practice this dribbling pattern, alternating between your right and left hand. This drill improves coordination and ambidexterity. Make sure to practice in both directions.
Crossover Dribble: The crossover move simply involves transferring the ball back & forth between each hand, typically at a low angle. Start with slow, controlled movements and gradually increase speed. This drill helps improve hand-eye coordination and quick hand switches – you’ll use this movement a ton in practice & games.
Between the Legs Dribble: Dribble the ball between your legs, alternating hands with each dribble. Start with slow and controlled movements, gradually increasing speed. Focus on keeping the ball low and close to the ground.
- Behind the Back Dribble: Practice dribbling the ball behind your back, alternating between your right and left hand. Begin with slow and controlled movements, gradually increasing speed. This drill enhances coordination and ball control.
Practice each drill with both your dominant & non-dominant hands for at least 60-90 seconds each, then switch. As you improve, you can speed up the dribbling pace and add more creative movements, which will translate directly to your on-the-court handles.
Drill 2: Dribbling Skills
Ball handling and dribbling are used relatively interchangeably. But once you’re comfortable controlling the ball from a still point, you can add some forwards, backwards, and lateral movements.
Two-Ball Dribble: Hold a basketball in each hand and practice dribbling with both simultaneously. Start with simple dribbles, gradually progressing to more complex patterns such as alternating crossovers and between-the-legs dribbles. This drill improves coordination and ambidexterity (ability to use both hands).
Zig-Zag Dribble: Set up cones or markers in a zig-zag pattern and dribble the ball as you navigate through them. Focus on changing directions quickly while maintaining control of the ball. This drill helps improve agility and ball handling in tight spaces, and it will feel even easier transferring it from your house to the hardwood.
Around the World Dribble: Imagine a large circle around you and dribble the ball around the circumference using various dribbling techniques. Incorporate crossovers, between-the-legs dribbles, and behind-the-back dribbles as you move around the circle.
Dribble and Finish: Combine dribbling with finishing moves such as layups or floaters. Practice driving to the basket from different angles while maintaining control of the ball. This drill improves your ability to transition from dribbling to scoring. If you don’t have a hoop, just practice against a tall wall, making sure not to run into it or throw the ball too hard at it.
Remember to focus on proper hand positioning, fingertip control, and maintaining a low center of gravity throughout these drills.
Drill 3: Shooting Mechanics
Shooting is one of the most crucial skills in basketball; everyone wants to score. And though you’d prefer to shoot on an actual hoop, you can practice your form to develop muscle memory even without a hoop.
Form Shooting Drill: Place a piece of Scotch tape on the wall at 10 feet to mimic the height of the hoop. Stand close to the wall and focus on your shooting form. Use just one hand (without your guide hand) and practice shooting with an arc to contact the wall above the tape. It will feel similar to practicing layups on an actual hoop.
- Horizontal Shooting Drill: Even while laying on a couch, you can get some extra shooting practice in. Similar to the form shooting drill against a wall, lay horizontally on a bed or couch. Holding the ball in just one hand, practice shooting the ball directly above you, focusing on a straight elbow and long follow-through. Make sure to catch it before it hits you on the chest or even the forehead.
Every great NBA player has done these drills before, no matter how simple they may seem. Committing to even just a few minutes of these each day will pay off weeks & months down the road.
Drill 4: Passing Precision
Passing is a fundamental skill in basketball that helps your team score. Sure, most of us would rather score, but it’s a team game.
Wall Passing: Choose a safe wall in your indoor training space, clear of paintings, picture frames, or other valuables. Practice chest, bounce, and overhead passes against the wall, focusing on form and accuracy, and gradually increase your distance. Add pass fakes and quick releases to enhance decision-making and accuracy in game-like conditions. This is a great drill for the QuietBounce ball so that you don’t damage the wall.
- Two-Ball Passing Drills: Practice passing two basketballs simultaneously, starting with chest passes and advancing to bounce and overhead passes, while maintaining control and precision. Start with a ball being passed back & forth to each hand, then change angles to use both hands at the same time and challenge your coordination.
Remember to maintain proper form and technique during passing drills. Focus on accuracy, timing, and decision-making to enhance your passing precision. Your teammates & coaches will thank you.
Drill 5: Footwork and Agility
Footwork and agility are essential components of basketball that contribute to your ability to move quickly, change direction, and maintain balance on the court.
Ladder Drills: Lay a ladder or create a makeshift ladder using tape or chalk on the floor. Practice various footwork patterns, such as the two-foot shuffle, high knees, lateral shuffles, and quick steps, by stepping in and out of the ladder's rungs.
One-Leg Hops: Stand on one leg and hop forward, backward, or laterally over each rung of the ladder. Focus on landing softly and maintaining balance throughout.
Ickey Shuffle: Start at the beginning of the ladder and perform the Ickey Shuffle, also known as the "In-In-Out-Out" drill. Step into the ladder with one foot, followed by the other, and then step out with the first foot, followed by the second. Repeat this pattern rapidly through the entire ladder.
5-Cone Drill: Set up five cones or still objects in a straight line, approximately three to four feet apart. Start at one end of the line and quickly move laterally, weaving in and out of the cones. Focus on staying low, using quick pivots, and maintaining balance throughout.
T-Drill: Set up three cones in the shape of a "T." Start at the base of the T and sprint forward to touch the top cone, then shuffle laterally to touch the cone on the left, and finally shuffle laterally to touch the cone on the right. Repeat this pattern several times, focusing on quick changes of direction and maintaining proper form.
3-Cone Drill: Set up three cones in a triangle formation, with each cone approximately five to six feet apart. Start at one cone and sprint forward to touch the next cone, then backpedal to touch the starting cone, and finally shuffle laterally to touch the remaining cone.
Regular practice of these drills will significantly improve your overall mobility, quickness, and ability to maneuver on the basketball court. You can even add a basketball to make them more challenging when you’re ready.
Drill 6: Defensive Movements
Defensive skills are some of the least fun drills to practice at home or by yourself, but they’ll make you an invaluable member of your team.
Mirror Drill: Stand facing a wall or mirror and assume a defensive stance. Practice mirroring your own movements as if you are guarding an opponent. Focus on maintaining a low stance, active hands, and quick reactions to simulate on-court defensive scenarios. You can ask another family member to direct you which way to go so that you can improve your reaction time.
Defensive Slides: Set up a designated area in your indoor space and practice defensive slides from side to side. Focus on quick lateral movements, staying low, and maintaining proper defensive positioning.
Closeout Drill: Imagine an imaginary opponent on the perimeter. Start in a defensive stance and practice closing out on the imaginary player with proper technique, closing the distance quickly while maintaining balance and staying in front of the opponent.
Agility Ladder Drill: Utilize an agility ladder or create a makeshift ladder using tape on the floor. Practice quick feet movements by stepping in and out of the ladder's rungs in various patterns. Focus on maintaining speed, coordination, and agility.
- Jump Rope Drill: Jumping rope is great for improving your cardiovascular endurance and vertical jump, making you a triple threat on defense. Jump rope with fast, quick jumps, focusing on light and quick footwork.
Remember to focus on maintaining a low defensive stance, active hands, and quick reactions throughout these drills.
Drill 8: Endurance and Stamina
Endurance and stamina are crucial for basketball players to maintain high levels of performance throughout a game, and outlast your opponents in overtime.
Jumping Jacks: Perform a set of 30 seconds of jumping jacks at a high intensity, followed by a 15-second rest. Repeat this cycle for 5-10 minutes.
Mountain Climbers: Get into a plank position and alternate driving each knee towards your chest in a running motion. Perform this exercise at a high intensity for 30 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
Burpees: Begin in a standing position, then drop to a push-up position, perform a push-up, jump your feet back towards your hands, and explosively jump up with your hands in the air. Perform 10-15 repetitions at a high intensity, followed by a 30-second rest.
Single Unders: Jump over the rope with both feet, allowing it to pass beneath you just once per jump. Perform 1-2 minutes of continuous single unders, aiming for a steady and consistent rhythm.
Double Unders: Jump over the rope with a higher jump, rotating the rope twice beneath you with each jump. Practice double unders for 30 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
Interval Training: Alternate between different jump rope techniques, such as single unders, double unders, and criss-crosses, for set intervals. For example, perform 30 seconds of single unders, followed by 30 seconds of double unders, and 30 seconds of criss-crosses. Repeat this cycle for 5-10 minutes.
Remember to start with shorter intervals and gradually increase the duration and intensity as your endurance improves. Stay hydrated, maintain proper form, and listen to your body during these endurance and stamina drills.
Drill 9: Mental Toughness and Focus
Basketball is more than just a physical game; it also requires mental toughness and focus to overcome setbacks and stay dialed in for a full four quarters. These can be done with no equipment whatsoever, and they’ll do wonders for your game.
Mental Rehearsal: Sit or lie down in a quiet space and visualize yourself performing various basketball skills and scenarios. Imagine yourself executing perfect shots, making accurate passes, and playing strong defense. Visualize the sounds, movements, and feelings associated with each action. It may sound strange, but even Olympians do it regularly.
- Game Situations: Visualize specific game scenarios, such as hitting a game-winning shot, making a crucial defensive stop, or executing a perfect fast break. Picture yourself in these situations, experiencing the emotions and making the right decisions. You’ll feel more comfortable once you get to the live situations.
Deep Breathing: Take a few moments to focus on your breath. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this deep breathing exercise several times to relax your mind and improve focus.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Start from your toes and work your way up, tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in your body. This will help you release tension, improve relaxation, and increase body awareness, and help you recover from all of the extra training you’ve been doing at home.
Incorporate these mental toughness and focus drills into your training routine regularly. Developing mental toughness and focus will not only enhance your performance on the basketball court but also improve your ability to handle pressure and overcome obstacles in all areas of life.
By combining skills in these drills, you will develop a well-rounded game that incorporates various aspects of basketball. These drills simulate game-like situations and improve your ability to make quick decisions, maintain control of the ball, and execute skills under pressure. Practice these drills regularly to enhance your overall basketball performance.