You might not think about using a tennis ball to improve your basketball skills, but using this method of training can greatly improve your hand-eye coordination and your ability to dribble and control the basketball. You can do many innovative drills with a tennis ball that will improve your ability to see the floor and be a more effective basketball player. Do these drills alone or within a team setting.
A good rule to remember in basketball is that the court is flat and the ball is round. Simple physics tells you that because of this, if you bounce an inflated ball on a flat court the ball will bounce right back into your hand. Dribbling a tennis ball in lieu of a basketball will make you more comfortable when dribbling a much larger ball. Practice dribbling with either hand, and when you're good enough, use two tennis balls and dribble with both hands simultaneously.
Practice dribbling a tennis ball while running up and down the floor. You may have to look at the ball at first, but teach yourself to keep your head up so you can see the floor. Seeing the floor is vital in game situations because it allows you to locate open teammates or defensive lapses that can lead to easy baskets. Dribble with your right hand while running one way and your left while running back. Increase your speed as your skill level increases.
Tennis Ball Toss
A more advanced drill, this one is great for hand-eye coordination and requires dribbling a regulation basketball with one hand, while tossing a tennis ball up in the air and catching it with the other. This will require you to multitask, but mastering the drill will make dribbling a basketball by itself seem much easier. Focusing on both the basketball and the tennis ball will force you to keep your head up and teach you to be more aware while dribbling.
Partner Tennis Ball Toss
Another advanced drill, this one can be done with a coach or a partner. Both partners will have a basketball and face each other 10 to 12 feet apart. While dribbling down the floor, your partner will toss the tennis ball to you and you will toss it back. This is another drill designed to force you to keep your head up so you can catch the ball, and it will make dribbling a basketball by itself seem much easier.