How to Improve Your Weak Hand in Basketball

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Would you like to know how to make your weak hand stronger? If you are not aware of what we mean by weak hand in basketball, we mean your non-dominant hand. Many players aren’t able to improve the level they play because of their reliance on one hand and their inability to use the next efficiently.

We understand that it is of extreme importance that players learn how to use their weak hands while playing basketball, but we also understand that it can be quite challenging to achieve ambidexterity. That is the reason why we don’t see it as often as we should. In or article today, we are going to review different ways in which you can improve your weak hand so that you can take your game to the next level.

Why Must Basketball Players Improve their Weak HandWhy Must Basketball Players Improve their Weak Hand?

Improving your weak hand can significantly improve your game. Being able to use both hands the same way in basketball allows you to gain various advantages over your opponents. Let’s take a look at some areas of basketball that improving your weak hand can help you in.

Dribble Penetration

Players who can dribble the ball with both hands can perform a variety of moves while attacking the paint to get to the rim. If you can only dribble the ball in your dominant hand, the defense will use this flaw to force you to your weak hand. Ambidexterity allows you to penetrate the defenses easier than if you are only able to dribble with one hand.


Crossovers are as beautiful as they are useful. There are many different types of crossovers, some more elaborate than others. A crossover’s efficiency depends on the ability of the ball-handler to pull off the move. If you don’t have good control over the ball with your weak hand, you will find it very difficult to pull off a crossover. Players that can dribble the ball with both hands can do more elaborate and extended crossover moves because they can control the ball with their weak hand for a longer period. If you want your crossovers to be more potent or want to perform a larger variety, you will need to improve your weak hand’s strength. 


Passing is one of the most important parts of basketball. Basketball, when played has a team sport, requires that the ball is moved from player to player for a team to be successful. The ball must be passed, there is no way around it. One player can’t win against 5 players. The ball has to be shared among teammates. If you are unable to pass the ball, it is even worse than being unwilling to pass the ball. Some players are only able to pass the ball properly with their dominant hand or using both hands.

If you must use your dominant hand or both hands to make a pass, it is easier for the defense to guard against, and you will be restricted in your passing ability. You should work on improving your weak hand’s strength so that you can make proper passes with your weak hand to your teammates. It is terrible if you are in a situation and cannot hit an open teammate with the ball simply because your weak hand cannot complete the pass. 

Shooting close to the rim

Finishing at the rim is considered to be a high percentage shot. If you are able to make shots, it drastically improves your team’s chances of winning the game. The majority of the players we know can only play at a high level with their dominant hand. As you all know, basketball does not always allow you to finish at the rim with your dominant hand. Sometimes, you must switch to your weak hand and finish the basket.

If you cannot score at the rim by performing layups or dunks using your weak hand it severely hampers your ability to be an efficient player. Many times the defense will take away your strong hand, so having the ability to score with either hands is an added advantage that you can have that your coaches will be very thankful for.


A filter or a teardrop is a shot performed a few feet away from the basket, oftentimes by smaller players who want to prevent bigger players from blocking their shots. Floaters are often performed with the dominant hand, but if a player masters the ability to float the ball with their non-dominant hand, they will become a bigger threat to their opponents. Sometimes when you attack the paint and try to put up a floater, the defender may be on your hip on your dominant side so you may have to switch to your non-dominant hand. Being able to use your non-dominant hand will help you make that shot easier.

Off-ball defensive reflex

When most people talk about using your non-dominant or weak hand in basketball, the focus is primarily on the offensive side of the ball. Defense is important too. You would not forget that. Many times we are playing defense, and we are guarding a player off the ball, we miss opportunities to steal passes because of our reflexes with our non-dominant hand. If we work on our reflexes with the non-dominant hand, we will be able to guard the passing lane a lot better, and this will result in a better defensive effort.

On ball defense reflex

A player that is able to use both hands to guard their opponents is a player that has the ability to guard very well. Many players will often try to get steals or disrupt their opponents’ dribbles and block shots while only using their dominant hand. If you are able to use your weak and to disrupt your opponent’s dribble or steal the ball and block shots, you will have a big defensive arsenal.

How to Make Your Weak Hand StrongerHow to Make Your Weak Hand Stronger

There are a variety of weak hand basketball drills both on and off the court that we can do to improve you weak hand shooting and overall functionality of our weak hands in basketball. Let’s take a look at some things that you can work on to improve the use of your weak hand while playing.

Drills with ball

There are a variety of drills that you can do with a basketball to improve your weak hand development. Try to work on drills that include shooting, passing, and dribbling. On the defensive side, try to work with a teammate to play defense while using your weak hand. Shooting drills will improve your ability to shoot the ball at the rim and close to the rim using your weak hand. Passing drills will enhance your ability to pass the ball properly with your weak hand in games, and the dribbling drills will help you to do crossovers and dribble penetration with your weak hand.

Drills without ball

There are also drills that you can use to mimic movements in games that do not require a ball. These drills can also help you with straightening your weak hand’s functionality while playing. Doing drills without the ball will prepare you for drills with the ball.

Drills with tennis ball

You can also do drills that do not include a basketball but include other balls such as a tennis ball. Even with your dominant hand, it may be more difficult to dribble small balls than it is a basketball. So, to work on improving your dribbling skills with your non-dominant hand, you can try to do dribbling drills with a tennis ball.

Do regular life things with your weak hand

One of the reasons why your dominant hand is so easy to use is because you use it to do regular everyday things. Your non-dominant hand is more difficult to use because you do not use it as much in your day-to-day life. Outside of the basketball court, if there are activities that you do with your dominant hand that can be performed with your weak hand, try to practice using your weekend more to do these activities. This will help with your overall comfort level when using your weak hand throughout the games.

How to Develop Your Weak Hand Dribbling SkillsHow to Develop Your Weak Hand Dribbling Skills

Developing your weekend dribbling skills is definitely important so that you can be on offensive Dynamo. Here are a few tips that you can use to develop your weak hand.

Dribble tennis balls

You can dribble balls that are more difficult to dribble than a basketball with your weak hand to improve your coordination and reflexes. Tennis balls are always good options for this. 

Gym work for weak hand

Even though you workout with both hands when you go to the gym, the other things you do outside of the gym may be focused on using your dominant hand, and that is why your dominant hand is naturally stronger than your weak hand. To improve your dribbling skills, try to focus some of your gym work on your non-dominant hand so that you can improve its strength. 

3 Basketball Drills to Help You Improve Your Weak Hand3 Basketball Drills to Help You Improve Your Weak Hand

Here are three drills that you can use to improve the usability of your weak hand.

1. Attacking the paint with weak hand.

This drill will help you to get by defenders easier because it helps you to control the ball with two hands.

2. Stationary dribbling

Stationary dribbling with both hands is useful to boost your comfort level with your non-dominant hand.

3. Dribble, pass and shoot

This is a combo drill that works on your overall weak hand skill level. This drill should be done at game speed where possible. 

Here is a link to a video with each:

Wrapping Things Up: How to Improve Your Weak Hand in Basketball

Improving your weak hand for basketball will definitely improve your game. You will be able to pass better, you will be able to shoot easier and, you will also improve your defense. There are a variety of drills that you can do to work on strengthening your weak hand. In addition to strengthening your weak hand, you should also work on your reflexes and your coordination while using your non-dominant hand.

If you found this post helpful, you’re definitely going to like our other basketball FAQ articles here.

> How to Get Longer Arms for Basketball: Can You?

> How to Get Better at Basketball: Tips & Drills

> How to Palm a Basketball

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Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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