7 Ways: How Do I Get My Fingers Stronger To Catch A Football?

Great hands for the catch

One of the first things that football players are taught when catching is to catch the ball with their hands and not their body. To do so, the fingers and forearms must be strong in order to catch tough passes and hold onto the ball while being hit or tackled by the defense.

Several little-known exercises can help increase the strength in your fingers and give you the best hands on the team.

1. Catch footballs thrown harder at shorter distance

Practice catching footballs thrown harder and at a shorter distance. Many teams and players use pitching machines that can throw the ball hard.

Alternative​: stand close and have someone throw the ball hard to you will work.

Your fingers and hands get used to catching fast balls so normal catches are easy.

Important​ to use proper form and catch the ball with just your fingers and hands away from your body.

2. Fingertip Pushups

Drop down and perform some fingertip pushups. Fingertip pushups are simply standard pushups, but instead of putting your entire palm on the floor you have just your fingertips touching the floor.

Expert research finds ​fingertip pushups are effective to build finger and forearm strength​.

3. Grip Strength with a Tennis Ball

Grab a tennis ball with just your fingers and perform ball squeezes. There are several variations of squeezes you can perform.

Wrap your fingers around the ball and squeeze 10 seconds straight to complete one set. You should complete at least two sets with both hands.

You can also squeeze the ball between two fingers for more of a challenge and to isolate the four gaps between the digits.

Why this works: ​ Growing up at a school with NCAA football athletes and great rodeo calf-ropers, arm wrestling challenges were always won by the rodeo champions. They used squeeze grip devices to improve grip strength. Our method was to compete to see how long we could hold the squeeze.

4. The Barbell Plate Grocery Bag Exercise

Pinch a barbell plate by holding it at your side with your thumb on the inside and the other four fingers on the outside.

Use only your fingers to hold the plate and hold it for at least 30 seconds.

Alternative:​ Beginners should start with a 25 pound light plate and increase the weight if the exercise is not challenging enough.

Variations:​You can add difficulty to this exercise by holding the weights in a different position, such as:

  1. Arms extended
  2. Walking while pinching the weights
  3. Pinching two plates

Pinches help strengthen and train your fingers to snatch footballs out of the air.

Strengthen Fingers: Variations and Pastimes

1. Use a bucket of sand

2. Finger Hangs

3. Finger exercises for strength and mobility


  • Rock Climbing - a great exercise to develop finger strength
  • Piano Playing - will also help with finger extension
  • Guitar Playing - chord positions help your dexterity