Medicine Ball Drills for Basketball

Portrait of a smiling woman holding a medicine ball

When trying to improve skill and overall performance in basketball, medicine ball drills are commonly overlooked, yet they shouldn't be as they have countless benefits. If implemented correctly, medicine ball drills can drastically improve your speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, quickness and strength. Most medicine ball drills consist of movements and game-type scenarios to help you perform at a higher level.

Wall Chest Pass

The wall chest pass drill will help you develop better passing ability, as well as greater chest, arm and core strength. Begin by standing three to four feet away from a wall. Assume an athletic squat stance, with your feet a bit wider than shoulder- width apart and your back straight. Grab a medicine ball and begin to perform a standard chest pass into the wall. As the medicine ball bounces back to you, fluidly catch and perform another rapid chest pass into the wall. Repeat this until you have completed 10 sequential throws into the wall, maintaining proper form throughout. Do three sets with 10 passes in each set, and as your strength increases, you can increase the weight of the medicine ball, the number of passes or both.

Defensive Shuffle and Throw

Start by assuming a defensive stance while holding a medicine ball in front of you, about six inches away from your chest, with your elbows wide. Facing the baseline, have your partner stand next to you on the left side of the free throw lane. Begin to quickly perform a defensive slide to the right, for about 12 feet, or the width of the free throw lane. Once you reach the set distance, perform a right handed pass back towards your passing partner. While performing the pass, you should maintain a defensive stance, continue to face forward and use your left hand to merely stabilize the med ball. As soon as you have completed the pass, rapidly slide back to your starting point, where your passing partner will toss you the medicine ball. Assume your original stance with the medicine ball in front of you and repeat the sliding and passing motion. Complete at least five repetitions before switching to the other side and begin passing with your left hand.

Squat Jump and Pass

The medicine ball squat jump and pass helps increase your power, jumping ability and passing ability all at the same time. Begin by standing about 30 feet away from a partner and assume a squat position. Hold a medicine ball about six inches in front of you with your elbows wide. Explode upward, jumping as high as you can, while bringing the medicine ball up into the air above your head as you jump. Land in a squat position and immediately chest pass the ball to your partner, who should repeat the same jump/pass motion. Repeat the drill until each person has completed 10 squat jump and passes. Take a 30-second water break and perform at least two more sets. Increase the distance between passing partners and use a heavier medicine ball as you become more skilled at this exercise.

Rotational Side Throws

Begin by standing in an athletic squat position, about four feet away from a wall, with your left shoulder facing it. Place both your hands underneath the medicine ball and hold it by your right hip. Swiftly toss the ball underhanded towards the wall while simultaneously rotating your hips to face the wall. It is important to keep your feet planted and to only rotate your body at the hips. As soon as the ball bounces off the wall, catch it, move the med ball back into the starting position and repeat. After you complete 10 reps, switch sides so your right shoulder is now facing the wall and you are rotating the other way. This drill increases core and arm strength while simultaneously increasing flexibility.