How to Palm a Basketball?

As a basketball player, it’s one thing to have a high vertical jump. And it’s another to get up in the air with the ball facing a ton of defenders that try to stop you from slam dunking.

That’s where palming a basketball comes in—it’s a super-secret way most pro-NBA players use often. They use this technique to get more control of the ball on the court.

It’s far beyond dribbling a player with the ball under your hand as you move up and down the court. Instead, it’s holding and squeezing the ball with one hand.

Professional basketball players know this for a fact: “learning the skill of palming is crucial to gain a huge advantage on the court.”

That’s why we’ve created this article to help you enhance your palming ability. Plus, we’ll be giving you some key nuggets on how to palm a basketball and become a better player.

What Influences Your Palming Ability?

As a basketball player, you’ve been itching to step up your palming game, right? But, the process seems tough. Take a chill pill! Palming isn’t as hard as you think. Let’s start with what affects your palming activity:

Your Hand Size

It’s obvious. The size of your hand plays a significant role in your ability to palm the ball. You can swank as much as you want about your incredible power and technique.

But, if your hands are small—your fingertips will be closer together, and you can only apply little pressure on the ball—which makes your power and technique negligible.

For instance, if your hands are less than an inch long, the ball won’t stick—that’s physics for you.

There’s a perfect yardstick for hand size. A big and full hand gives you an added advantage—to hand span. To measure your hands, use a standard ruler to measure from where your wrist begins to the top of your middle finger.

For your hand span measurement, spread your pinky and thumb as far apart as you can on a ruler.

Your Strength and Technique

Asides your hand size, you have to look into palming the ball at every opportunity. When you can palm the ball to an extent—practice more to strengthen your palming muscles, and maintain your ability.

Also, you have to work on your grip strength—which increases your efficiency in palming.

So, what do you do to improve your palming over time?

10 Drills That Will Improve Your Palming Skills

To palm the ball like a pro, you need to drill your hands to increase strength and grip. Here are ten drills that will help:

A. Training That Will Increase Your Hand Strength

Finger Stretches

To perform finger stretches effectively, you have to do it on a flat surface like a table. When you place your hand on the table, ensure that your palm faces down—with all your fingers stretched as far as possible. Then, hold for 30 to 60 seconds before you release.

When you’re doing this exercise, don’t force your joints in the process. If you have any difficulty flattening your hands completely—work on it to get the most out of the exercise. Repeat the exercise about three to four times for each hand.

Palm Stretches

Palm stretches are one of the most effective ways to improve your hand and finger strength. You can start by placing your palm on a flat surface and spreading out all your fingers.

Stretch your pinky finger as far as you can and brace your thumb against your other hand’s palm. Then, lift your hand off the flat surface—but; ensure that your fingers remain pressed onto the surface. Then, squeeze your fingers to the table as you push your palm.

Hold your hand in position for 20 seconds and release. Repeat the process for your other hand.

Thumb Stretches

Thumb stretches are easy. All you need to do is try to separate your thumb away from your hand as possible. After that, stretch your thumb in the opposite direction; make it touch the base of your pinky finger. Then, hold it for 30 to 60 seconds, and repeat with the other hand.

Claw Stretches

The name of the procedure says it all. The goal is to make your hand look like a claw. To achieve that, place your hand in front of you and bend your fingertips to touch the finger joints base. Hold your fingers in that position for 30 to 60 seconds. And repeat it with your other hand.

Palm Slaps

If you want to boost your hand strength and grip strength alongside—do some palm slaps. It involves holding your basketball with one hand and slamming it into your other hand’s palm. While you’re at it, squeeze the ball as hard as possible. You can do about 20 slaps on each hand per session.

B. Drills That Improve Grip Strength

Plate Pinching

Plate pinching helps to increase your pinching strength—which is one of the secrets to overall gripping strength. It involves taking two plates that weigh the same (for instance, 6lbs each). Put the plates together, and use your thumb to grip one of the plates—while you hold the other plate with your other four fingers.

Next, hold the plates in this position for about 20 seconds. Repeat the process severally with one hand before you switch to the other. When you’re used to the exercise, step up your game by doubling the weight of the plate. You can also try holding the plates with only your thumb and pinky finger.

Fingertip Push-Ups

Oh yes! The same push-up, you know. The only difference is; you’ll be doing the exercise on your fingertips. While you’re in position for your push-up, spread out your fingers. With just your fingertips, commence with pushing your body off the ground.

Make sure your back remains straight on the position as you lift your body. Plus, keep your chest right above the ground, when you go down. Don’t worry about your fingers being straight during the exercise. Start with a few push-ups and increase when you’re comfortable.


With an overhand grip, grab a pull-up bar with both hands. Both hands should stay shoulder-width apart. Then, you can lift your body above the bar—as you pull up with your back muscles. Or you can wrap the pull-up bar with two towels. Grip the sheets and proceed with your regular pulps.

Reverse Curls

If you’re familiar with reverse curls, you should know that it works your biceps. Interestingly this exercise also has a positive impact on your grip strength. All it takes is for you to hold on to the bar with an overhand grip, and keep your hands shoulder-width apart.

Aluminum Can Squeeze

Save the squeeze for last. It’s best to use an empty can. Then, fill it with nuts, bolts, and rocks. Afterward, grip and hold the can out in front of you. Repeat the same thing for your other hand.

Closing Words

Palming a basketball isn’t rocket science.

However, it takes a whole lot of hard work to display the skill with ease—except you’re Michael Jordan. With the actionable drills in this article, you can rest assured that your consistency will produce a “Grippier” you.

Which of the drills will you try out first? Did we miss out any effective drill? We’ll love to hear from you in the comment section.

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