How to Become Better at Palming a Basketball

Dribbling, guarding, attacking, and passing are some of the tactics used to get the ball in the hoop in a basketball game. Palming, or handling the ball, is a frequent one that is required in basketball. It is the most important component without which the game would be incomplete and almost impossible to win.

Palming the ball isn't difficult if you know how to play, but if you're new to basketball, things may become a little messy. So, without further ado, here is our ultimate guide on palming a basketball, which will surely help you excel in your basketball career.

Read carefully, or you could miss your chance of being dubbed "dribbles" in high school.

Difference Between Palming a Basketball & Palming Violation

Before we get started, it is necessary to know the difference between palming and palming violation.

Palming is a skill in which you keep the ball’s head in constant contact with your palm. It is helpful in dribbling, shooting, passing, and defending the ball from the opponents, and even in a slam dunk. Palming also offers you a variety of other advantages.

As for the palming violation, it refers to the act of carrying the ball. At times, while dribbling, players put their hands under the ball while moving to another spot, or stop their dribbling and break the motion.

carry-basketball

This is considered a violation of the rules and can get the player disqualified from the game. This is because it allows more control over the ball, and handling it becomes more accessible, giving the player an unfair advantage.

Since there is no exception to the palming rule, the players have to be highly cautious about their moves.

How Big Do Your Hands Need To Be To Palm A Basketball?

Height matters a lot in basketball for moves such as slam dunks and passing, but it isn’t an essential factor in skills like palming. Instead, what matters is the size of your hand.

Palming requires you to have big hands since you can exert more force on the ball, enabling pressurized and fast-paced palming.

If you have small or baby hands, you might not be suitable for palming, as no matter how hard you try, you cannot apply the same force to the ball.

The minimum hand size required for palming is between 7.5” and 8".

Using a ruler or measuring tape, you can measure your hand size, starting from the palm to the middle finger.

Fun Fact: A famous basketball player to take the most advantage of palming is Michael Jordan, thanks to his giant hands and excellent palming techniques.

Exercises To Improve Palming

Palming is a skill that needs to be practiced as much as possible in order to be implemented perfectly. If someone has relatively bigger hands, he can master this skill in less time and with more precision.

Regardless, they still need proper practice and learn the right techniques to avoid palming violations.

There are some exercises or drills that you should keep practicing if you wish to perfect the art of palming. Continue reading to find out more about these exercises:

palm-a-basketball

The Basic Finger Stretch

This stretching exercise is to strengthen your finger muscles and ligaments, which are essential for palming. All you have to do is place your palm flat on a surface and start stretching all five fingers. You have to repeat this exercise 10 times, for 30 seconds each.

Make sure you are stretching your fingers out as far as possible. This will improve the blood circulation in that area of your hands and make them ready for palming. Ultimately, you will be able to stretch your hands wider, resulting in efficient palming.

Palm Smaller Balls

Another trick to improving the grip of a regular basketball is to transfer to a smaller rubber or leather ball. You can even use a junior-high kid’s basketball for this purpose.

All you have to do is palm the ball for more than 20 seconds, at least. Afterward, you can switch back to your regular basketball and start practicing for five-plus seconds.

This can help you deliver faster reflexes and a more stable grip on the ball.

Climbing Exercises

Another exercise for achieving a solid grip is to start climbing walls.

Climbing is the best way to strengthen your grip since it enables you to carry your whole weight in the palm of your hand, emphasizing the pressure on your fingers. This exercise can also help increase your height if you’re a teen and have not reached puberty yet.

Fingertips Pushup Exercise

Push-Ups increase the muscular strength of your arms and palms. But to increase the strength of your fingers, you can try doing push-ups with your fingertips. This can prove to be a good exercise for improving your palming as it requires strong fingers.

You might find it hard to do these at the start, so you can choose to press your knees to the floor, and once you get used to it, switch back to the usual way. This exercise will make your fingers strong enough to hold the ball firmly.

Thumb Extension Exercise

Thumb extension is another effective exercise to help you get better at palming a basketball. It improves the functioning of the thumb, which is the least used finger for most people.

You can do this exercise by placing the palm flat on a surface and wrapping a rubber band around the hand and thumb, right below the joint of the finger. Next, extend your thumb for 30 seconds, each for 10 minutes.

This exercise is also helpful for sports such as badminton and even thumb fights. It is a great exercise for people with small hands as it helps them stretch the appendage and train it better.

Practice Dribbling

Another way to improve palming is through constant dribbling. Since dribbling is done with palming, it is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. This exercise will also improve your hands, fingers, and eye coordination.

Horizontal dribbling is another way to improve palming since it applies gravitational force upwards on your hand. However, it is considered difficult by players due to the muscular tension it creates.

Horizontally Palming the Basketball

Palming the basketball horizontally is incredibly helpful for a beginner. It aids in the training of a firm grip on the basketball when palming.

palm-ball

It may cause some discomfort or soreness in your arm at first, but it will improve over time. Ultimately, you'll be able to extend the time you spend palming.

Rubber Band Stretch

Another exercise recommended by several basketball coaches is the rubber band stretch. For this exercise, you have to take a rubber band and stretch it over your fingers, excluding the thumb.

Once done, you can extend your fingers as far apart as possible, and hold them that way for a few seconds.

Conclusion: Palming a Basketball

Palming is the best way to start while trying to perfect your basketball skills. It also improves your physical and cognitive coordination. Once you get a hold of this skill, there is no going back, and you can become a pro in a matter of months.

All of the exercises we mentioned above are excellent for you to practice palming. In addition, they can help you by strengthening your hand muscles, thus enabling you to learn impressive palming techniques.

Moreover, these exercises are also suitable for badminton or table tennis players who need to work on their hand and finger coordination with the brain. Best of luck perfecting your skills!

Joshua Bast


My name is Joshua Bast and I have been playing basketball ever since I was 7 years old. I love the game play, I love the feeling whenever I score a basket, but what made me fell in love was the camaraderie with my team mates. This blog is dedicated to help any up-and-coming basketball players maximize their potential.

Joshua Bast