Gripping a Basketball With Small Hands

Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls (L) looks to m

Small hands can make it difficult for basketball players to grip and palm a basketball, especially if the leather is worn down. Players with small hands might find themselves losing control of the ball more while dribbling or passing compared to those players with bigger hands, and even if you can jump high enough, small hands might keep you from dunking the ball.

For all these reasons and more, being able to grip the basketball is especially important for players with small hands.

How to Palm a Basketball

To give yourself the best chance of being able to palm a basketball without big hands, do the following with your dominant hand, or whichever one has more overall hand strength.

  1. Open your hand as wide as possible with your palm facing up, placing both your middle finger and ring finger on one of the seams of the basketball
  2. Position your hand so that your thumb also is on one of the seams, as the black rubber in the seams is often a bit tackier and can help you hold onto the ball
  3. Position your pinky wherever you feel it can offer the most support to your grip
  4. If you are doing this in your left hand, then use your right hand to press the ball firmly into your left hand, and vice versa
  5. After getting in position, turn your palm down and attempt to palm the basketball

Slightly deflate the ball, if necessary, to get your hand muscles acclimated to gripping a basketball.

Oklahoma State v Oklahoma

Getting Stronger Hands

While NBA stars are often seen lifting heavy weights for their legs and upper body, not many work on their hand and grip strength as much as they should. Having stronger hands will allow players to have more overall ball control and be more effective when ball handling, which is important for all basketball players.

  • Perform exercises like the deadlift and pull-up, where your grip is essential to success
  • Play catch with a 4 to 6-pound medicine ball
  • Attempt fingertip push-ups

Getting Stronger Grip Strength

Players like Kevin Durant and Michael Jordan might be able to grip a basketball just because of their naturally-large hand size, but players with smaller hands need to take an active approach to strengthening their grip. One approach that is often seen is using a rice bucket.

  1. Fill a large bucket with rice
  2. Plunge your arms forearm deep into the rice
  3. Repetitively squeeze the rice with your hands as hard as you can, releasing after a few seconds each time

This will help work all of the tendons and ligaments in your hands, which is necessary for gripping a basketball with small hands. Having strong hands and increased finger strength can help you overcome the lack of size when gripping a basketball.