Utilize Three Ball Drills for Advanced Guards

By David Jooss

Home > Player > Training Drills > Utilize Three Ball Drills for Advanced Guards

When working out advanced guards there is always the challenge of keeping things fresh for the players. Your advanced players are almost always your hardest workers and at times need you to change up your drill series. By incorporating three ball dribbling drills you allow for creativity from the players while also challenging their skill level. When doing this three ball series I focus on the following:

  • Encourage creativity from the players

  • Peripheral vision (always locating the third ball)

  • Ball Quickness

Instructions for Three Ball Drills:

I usually do this drill in the center circle but it can be done anywhere on the court.
Give one player three basketballs and have them try and maintain three bouncing basketballs at all times. Players will start by dropping one and dribbling the other two, they will constantly be changing which two of three basketballs they are dribbling.

As players get more advanced they will incorporate two ball dribble moves into this series (high-low, crosses, between legs changes etc...). Players should go for an allotted time or until one of their basketballs stop bouncing. If doing this drill with a less advanced player you may need to help start one of the three basketballs for the player to help them get going.


  • For really advanced players change the air level in one of the basketballs (over inflate or under inflate).

  • Also, for really advanced players use weighted basketballs for this drill (over inflate the weighted basketballs).

Related Pages & Helpful Resources

Basketball Camps For Beginners and Advanced Players
Develop Great Handles With These Ball Handling Tips and Drills
Handling Ball Screens Like Steve Nash

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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Jeff Haefner says:
10/26/2014 at 7:37:57 AM

I agree this is a great drill for improving hand/eye coordination. Not to mention, it's challenging, fun, develops both hands, and keeps players engaged.

Just because a drill doesn't happen in a game, that doesn't always mean it's bad. Does that mean the defensive shell drill is bad because offensive players are never stationary in a game?

The truth is that when you think about it, most drills incorporate certain things that never happen in a game. That doesn't necessarily make them bad drills.

When used in the proper context and at the right time, 3-ball dribbling is an excellent drill for coaches to add to their toolbox.

When it comes to skill development… you dribble, pass, pivot, shoot, and finish at the basket. That’s about it.

A good coach will give players different drills so it seems like they are working on something new -- but in reality, even though the player thinks it's new, they are still just working on dribbling. Otherwise it can be pretty monotonous.

I would not rely too heavily on the 3-ball drill above, because you obviously need to incorporate game-like drills and other dribble moves... but this is excellent for building a base, challenging players, and giving them a variety.

Pounding the ball with both hands build hand quickness, strength, and confidence with the ball. Adding the third ball makes it a little more interesting. :)


Ken Sartini says:
10/24/2014 at 3:07:03 PM

This drill is also good for improving eye/hand coordination.


John says:
10/24/2014 at 12:25:27 PM

The drill can be used to improve dribble/ball control when the hand is not conditioned to handling the ball in certain situations. As far as making you a better player, other drills and situation training can be utilized for that.
But dont forget, this drill will improve the players skill in some respect. So skipping it will not give the player the opportunity to discover his potential.


Coach Olson says:
10/23/2014 at 2:31:08 PM

Useless not!!! There should be a progression when teaching multiple ball drills just as well with single ball drills. I have been very successful having MANY of my AAU girls making their high school varsity teams as starters mainly because they do not have a dominate hand. Oh as 9th graders!


Joe Haefner says:
10/23/2014 at 1:58:22 PM

Coach Mike, you might enjoy this story.

When at video shoot with Don Kelbick, we were doing some 2-ball dribbling drills. One of the kids asked Don, "Are these the drills you use with pros and NBA players?"

Don replies back, "No. This is for you."

Then he continues, "Pros work on things that make them better."

He went on tell a story when he gave two basketballs to JJ Barea to begin a workout and JJ rifled one back at him.

With that being said, I do like these drills as a quick warm up to get the body loose.

It's also a fun, challenging way to keep kids attention.

With today's YouTube generation that idolizes trainers who use circus basketball training marketing videos. I think I recently saw a guy with a tractor tire on the floor...(smh)

Now if you're spending 10 to 15 minutes at a beginning of a workout with this drill, you probably are wasting your time.


Coach Mike says:
10/23/2014 at 12:58:16 PM

I dont believe it will make you a better basketball player in any way. Once you get past 2 basketball its for show are just amusement. You cant use it in a game.


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