Becoming a great basketball player isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes practice and repetition, along with the desire to push to improve your skills. Now that winter is here and the driveway is covered in snow and ice, it’s become more difficult to practice necessary game skills like dribbling and shooting. Though you no doubt get some practice time with your team, in order to really step it up and advance your game you need to find time to practice on your own time, too. But without your driveway net, it’s easy to find excuses to not pick up the ball.

Though it’s harder to practice some skills without the open space of an outdoor court or your driveway, there are a few skills you can work on mastering through the winter, in a space that won’t have your fingers freezing off!

At home drills can improve your game

While many drills need either space, teammates or a net, there are 2 great drills that you can do at home throughout the winter. All you’ll need is a couple basketballs and a hard floor, and your dribbling and shooting game will be pro in no time!

Although these drills are pictured in a gym, you need very little space and they’re perfect for improving your skills – in your own basement! Whether you’re playing rep ball, house league or just working your game – try them!

At home ball handling drill

One of the harder skills for a young basketball player to master is the ability to dribble the ball with both his dominant and his weak hand. The best drill to help advance this skill involves just 2 basketballs. Find a hard floor, maybe in your basement or garage, where you can comfortable dribble a ball. Now, dribble both balls at the same time. Having both hands in play, dribbling a ball, helps to prevent your dominant hand from taking over. It also helps to teach your brain to relax and let your body create a reflex in its weaker hand. Once you have good control of dribbling with both hands, start varying the height of your dribbles, taking the ball close to the floor and back up again.

Another great way to work on your ball handling skills is to practice dribbling between your legs, alternating which leg is forward. You can also work on dribbling at different heights, alternating hands as you go.

At home shooting drill

For this one, all you need is a basketball and somewhere you can comfortably lay down. Lay flat on your back, with your knees up. Hold the ball in a shooting position, and follow through with throwing it straight into the air so that you can catch it again. Start by throwing it only as far as your comfortable, slowly increasing the distance as you go.  When you catch the ball, focus on catching it with the pads of your fingers and not your palm. Make sure you extend your arm straight every time you throw the ball.

This drill will help you perfect your shooting form, since the floor prevents your body from twisting or moving incorrectly. It also helps you focus on how the ball feels leaving your hand, so that when you’re on the court it starts to feel more natural.

Winter is a great time to hone skills

When you don’t have a driveway or outdoor court to play basketball on, it’s a great reason to focus on some of those fundamental skills that build on what you practice with your team. If you want to advance your skills and grow your basketball IQ, using the cold and dreary winter months to improve your ball handling and shooting skills can really help to get you ahead when you do get back on the court. Hard work in your off time will really show when it comes time to hit the court!