Drills to Learn to Palm a Basketball

Palming a basketball can be a useful skill.
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While palming a basketball is an impressive feat of physical prowess, it's also a skill with practical application in competitive play. By palming the ball, you can maintain control of the ball while extending it higher, making it easier to dunk. It also allows you to keep a free hand while you're driving, passing or performing a fake-out before a shot. Although it's helpful to have large hands and longer fingers, even people with smaller hands can learn to palm the ball by improving their grip and mastering a few techniques.

    Step 1

    Palm a ball smaller than a regulation basketball. This will improve your grip, and particularly the strength of your fingers, which will be necessary for palming a full-size basketball. Palming a small medicine ball can be especially helpful due to its increased weight.

    Step 2

    Perform grip exercises with household objects. Lift a stack of plates and hold them in one hand for as long as you can, pinching them with your thumb at the bottom and your fingers at the top. Work up to more plates as your grip improves. Next, pour rice into a bucket, reach in with your hand and squeeze the rice as hard as possible.

    Step 3

    Place your forearm flat on a table and use only your fingers to lift it up. This exercise is useful because it can be performed virtually anywhere with a flat surface.

    Step 4

    Practice palming the ball periodically as your finger and grip strength improve. Place your palm down on the ball, with your ring and middle ringers on a seam of the basketball. Spread your fingers apart as much as you can and press the ball up into your palm with your opposite hand. Extend the thumb of your palming hand down as low as possible. Focus on maintaining a solid grip without squeezing too hard and ejecting the ball out of your palm.


    • Get your hand slightly moist before attempting to palm the ball to improve your grip.


    • Place your thumb on the seam of the ball to make palming it easier.


    • Practice palming with a brand new basketball. Used balls tend to be slicker and drier, even if they've only been used a few times. This goes double for balls that are used on outdoor courts.


    • Don't bother with traditional hand grippers, as these mainly improve the strength of your hand and not your fingers.

    Things You'll Need

    • Small medicine ball

    • Dinner plates

    • Bucket

    • Rice

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