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How To Palm A Basketball: 10 Drills To Get Better!

Palming is the top secret that pro players use to handle the ball with increased confidence in the court.

But don’t get me wrong…by palming, I don’t mean putting the ball under your hand and continuing to carry it while dribbling. That’s a violation of basketball rules and will get you penalized.

I’m talking of legal palming—where you squeeze and hold the ball using one hand. This is an essential skill for all basketball players that will give you massive advantage in the court.

For you to become better at palming, you’ll simply need to work on your fingers and grip strength.

basketball palm

Let’s discuss TEN helpful drills that will magically boost your palming power:

(a). Drills for increasing hand strength:

#1. Palm stretching

One of the most effective ways of improving your hand and fingers strength is stretching your palms.

To do this, place your hand (palm down) on a flat surface and spread out all your fingers. Try stretching the pinky finger as far as possible.

Now brace your thumb against the other hand’s palm. Lift the hand off the flat surface as you keep all the fingers pressed onto the surface. Then press the fingers onto the table as you press your palm.

Hold for 20 seconds and release.

Stretch your other hand.

#2. Finger stretches

You’ll also need to perform this exercise on a flat surface, such as a table.

Placing your hand on the table with the palm facing down stretch all the fingers as far as possible and hold for around 30 – 60 seconds before releasing.

Avoid forcing your joints when doing this exercise. And if you’ve issues flattening your hands completely, you’ll need to work on it to help you get the most out of this exercise.

Do this for a few minutes with each hand.

Another method of safely and effectively stretching your fingers:

With one hand placed palm down on a flat surface, slip the other hand and slide it right under your fingers. Carefully push the fingers up and back towards the wrist. Hold for up to 20 seconds and release.

Repeat the exercise 3-4 times with each hand.

#3. Thumb stretching

Stretching your thumbs is as easy as holding the hand in front of you with the palm up, and stretching the thumb away from the hand. Then try extending the thumb as far from your hand as possible.

Then, stretch the thumb in the opposite direction and try to make it touch the base of pinky finger. Hold it for 30 to 60 seconds.

Repeat with the other hand.

#4. Palm Slaps

Doing palm slaps can also go a long way in boosting your hands' strength (and gripability too, to some extent).

This exercise involves holding the basketball in one hand and then slamming it into the other hand’s palm. As you slap your palms with the ball, be sure to squeeze it as hard as possible. Slap it to the other hand and squeeze it to complete one rep.

Do up to 20 slaps on each hand per session.

#5. Practice claw stretches

Place the hand in front of you and bend the fingers and try to make the fingertips touch the finger joints base.

This will make your hands resemble a claw (hence the name of this exercise).

Hold the claw position for 30- 60 second and release.

Repeat with the other hand.

(b). Drills for increasing grip strength:

#1. Fingertip push-ups

If you can do push-ups on your fingertips, you’ll note a significant increase in your gripability, and hence your palming prowess.

Position yourself as you usually do when doing regular push-ups (i.e., place the hands on the ground, shoulder width apart). Then spread out the fingers and put the fingertips on the ground.

Using the fingertips only, start pushing your body off the ground.

When lifting your body, make sure you back remain straight. And when you go down, keep the chest right above the ground.

You DON’T have to straighten your fingers during this exercise; just start slow, with a few pushups and increase when you become used to it.

#2. Plate pinching

You can also build your grip strength easily by holding plates of different weights as explained below:

Take two plates weighing 5lbs each and put them together. Then use your thumb to grip one of the plates and the other four fingers to hold the other plate.

Hold the plates in your hand in this position for up to 20 seconds.

Repeat severally with one hand and then switch to the other hand.

As you become used to this exercise and build more strength, you can use heavier plates (say two 10lb plates). You might also consider holding the plates with only the thumb and pinky finger.

This exercise heavily focuses on increasing your pinching strength, which adds up to the overall gripping strength.

#3. Reverse curls

While the reverse curls are known to work your biceps, they can also have a positive impact on your grip strength.

To do reverse curls, you just hold onto the bar with an overhand grip. Remember to keep the hands shoulder-width apart.

With your back remains straight and your elbows stay in, push the shoulder back and then lift the bar to your chest level by bending at elbow.

#4. Pull-ups

Grab a pull-up bar with both hands around shoulder width apart, with an overhand grip. Then lift your body up the bar as you pull up with the back muscles.

An alternative way of using pull-ups to enhance your grip strength is using two towels draped over the pull-up bar.

Grip the towels and start doing the regular pulps.

#5. Aluminum Can Holds

The last method you’d want to try to improve your gripping strength is holding and squeezing aluminum cans.

You can use an empty can, such as the 14-ounce coffee can, and fill it with rocks, bolts, and nuts.

Grip and hold it out in front of you for as long as possible.

Switch to the other hand.


These are the 10 TOP exercises of increasing your basketball palming ability. As we mentioned earlier, better palming ability relies on finger strength and grip strength. That’s why the above drills focus on these two key areas.

Since these exercises are easy and less demanding, I’d recommend you to perform all of them for the best results.

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