Be Strong With The Basketball

As a big man, my biggest problem used to be catching the ball. Ive worked on that alot by just bouncing the ball off of a wall at varying speeds and angles and catching it with one hand. Now Im able to catch the ball decently well even in traffic.

Obviously once I catch the ball I immediately look to bring it in under my face with my elbows sticking out or up high where the guards who are doubling me cant get to it. Despite all the prevention, sometimes the ball does get slapped out of my hands.
Especially in pickup games with no refs those pesky guards are constantly trying to slap the ball out of my hands pretty much the instant I catch it.

So anyway what Im getting at is I want to have such a strong grip on the ball that its almost impossible to take it once its in my hands. Is this a matter of grip strength in the hands, forearm strength, or just technique? I purchased some captains of crush grippers to improve the gripping power in my hands, but Im wondering if this is the right solution?

Id say you need to start squeezing objects like you do a basket ball. things that are harder though heavy med balls, big rocks. etc its a combination of yes some grip but also its much more compound all the way up to shoulders, pecs, bicep strength etc.


As a fellow big man with formerly poor hands, I would say order yourself a pair of captains of crush grippers. I think this helps your hands and forearms get stronger. Also as was previously said any strengthening of forearms, biceps and shoulders will help.

Any other advice on improving my hands, Duke? I want to get to the point that my guards are confident throwing the ball to me even in high traffic situations or where I have to reach for it.

Be an angry son of a bitch when u get the ball, hit people with your ass and elbows. When someone tries to grab YOUR ball just put an elbow in between. It’s not strength as much as attitude. I play with many softer big men and it is very easy to strip the ball.

But if the guy is swinging his elbows and being vicious down in the paint its very tough to defend. Driving the lane, little people like me (6’2" is little in b-ball terms) can have the same problem. But swinging your elbows as well as the ball with some tenacity goes a long way.

Actually, what Dissemination said is really good advice. I was always a “softer” bigman in highschool, but when I got pissed off and asserted myself, I rarely lost the ball. As soon as you get the ball, bring it up in a swinging motion with your elbows to clear off any defenders crowding you. This is supposed to be legal, but you will sometimes get called for a foul on it. Believe me, the foul is worth it. If you establish early in the game that you’re willing to give someone a black eye, and that if they try to strip the ball, they’re going to pay for it, guards will be much less likely to get in your grill.

Also squat down low when you’re posting up, really spread your body out and extend your arms, as a taller guy, you never feel like this is the right thing to do, that just standing up with a high arm is the best way, but you make yourself a much better target for a teammate to pass to.

When running up the floor on offense, always keep your hands up, you let the guards know that you want the ball, and you have more time to react to the passed ball and catch it, whereas otherwise you have to take the .2 seconds or so that it takes to get your hands off your sides and into position.