Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

Improving your basketball skills with your weak hand will make you harder to defend on the court.

If you play basketball, chances are you struggle with your weak hand when dribbling and shooting. Working to improve these weaknesses will force the defense to respect you.

To avoid being a one-dimensional player, you need to be able to dribble, pass and score with your weak hand at a semi-proficient level.

Chances are you will never be quite as good with your off hand as you are with your dominant one, but that's not the goal. You want to develop your off hand enough to be unpredictable on the court and open up more options for you offensively.

Being extremely one-hand dominant limits your ability to take what the defense gives you.

Before we get into methods, let's go over some in-game moves that weak-hand work can improve.

  1. The Crossover: Developing a great crossover with your weak hand creates a huge advantage. Instead of crossing over to your weak hand to drive to the goal and finish, you will be able to put the ball in your strong hand to do the most important thing—score.
  2. The One-Handed-Pass: Lets face it: Great-passing point guards make one-handed passes, and they do it well. If you can't pass at the very instant when your teammate is open, you risk turning the ball over or missing an easy scoring chance. The ability to use your weak hand to do that makes you much more effective as a passing point guard.
  3. The Weak-Hand Finish: During a game, you don't have time to measure your steps like you can in practice, so you never know what leg you will jump off when you drive to the basket. Thus, you don't know which hand you will use to finish the shot. Once you feel comfortable shooting layups, floaters, runners and reverses with your weak hand, you will open up a lot more scoring options for yourself.

As you can see, having a good weak hand is a must if you want to be a complete player. It's just as important as shooting, defending and ball-handling. Here's how to make it happen.

  • Improve your weak-hand strength by squeezing tennis balls throughout the day, gripping squeeze clamps, or whatever else you can think of.
  • Make sure every drill you do with your dominant hand you also do with your off hand.
  • In practice, don't be afraid to use your weak hand more often. By using it, you will start to gain more confidence in it.
  • Dedicate 15 minutes to your weak hand every time you're in the gym. During that time, don't even touch the ball with your strong hand. Check out the video player above to see John Wall's Two-Ball Dribbling Drill.

Here is a complete 15-minute workout you can use to improve your weak hand.

If you're a young player, my best advice is to work on your basketball shooting with your strong hand. But when it comes to finishing, work 90 percent more with your weak hand to be able to shoot a high percentage with it.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BASKETBALL TRAINING | POINT GUARD | DRILL | CROSSOVER