How To Palm A Basketball Like the Pros: The Ultimate Guide

How To Palm A Basketball Like the Pros: The Ultimate Guide

Whether you’re shooting hoops at the local park or playing a competitive game, knowing how to palm a basketball gives you an edge on the court. While it may seem like a simple task, palming a basketball correctly takes a bit of practice.

In this blog post, Redsarmy will give you a step-by-step guide on how to palm a basketball so you can take your game to the next level.

How To Palm A Basketball?

Requirement 1: Hand Size

It should go without saying that the size of your hands dramatically influences your ability to palm the ball.

Even if you have great strength and technique, the less pressure you apply to the basketball, the closer your fingertips are together.

Even with the most potent grasp, the ball will not stay in your hand if it is only one inch long. It’s as simple as that.

Way To Palm A Basketbal: Hand Size

So, is there a ‘bare minimum’ hand size?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether or not you can palm a basketball.

It’s not just about the length of the hand but also the length of the hand span (the distance between your thumb and pinky when you spread your hand out). For example, a person could have a relatively short hand length yet broad hands.

In addition, finger/grip strength is a factor. The strength of your grasp helps compensate for tiny hands.

As a general guideline, below are some approximate minimums for palming a basketball comfortably after training technique and strength.

Hand Length: 7.5″ (this is slightly over the average male hand length of 7.4″)

Hand Span: 8″

While it may be a little difficult at first, you’ll be able to comfortably palm the ball once you’ve practiced your technique and strengthened your grip.

Palming the basketball is possible for people with tiny hands, but their skill would have to be even greater.

There have been a few years where guys with 7.5-inch hands have appeared in the NBA draft combine, but this is a rare occurrence.

How To Measure Your Hand Length and Span

When determining your hand dimensions, you’ll need a standard ruler.

By measuring from base to middle finger of your middle finger, you may get an accurate reading of how long each of your fingers is.

Spread your thumb and pinky as widely apart as possible on a ruler to measure hand span:

How To Measure Your Hand Length and Span

Requirement 2: Strength and Technique

Hand size isn’t the only factor in palming a basketball. Your palming ability is just as crucial as the size of your hands in this game.

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Unless you’re Michael Jordan, you can’t just pick up a basketball and be able to secure it in your palm from the get-go.

When basketball player has the ball in their hands, they are likely to practice palming the ball subconsciously.

To preserve your ability to palm a ball, you need to practice more and more to strengthen the muscles involved in the palming process.

Strengthening your grasp is essential to achieving this goal.

Strengthening Your Pinch Grip

There are three forms of grip strength to bear in mind regarding training.

  • Crush grip: To’scrunch,’ you need a firm grip between your fingers and palm, like shaking hands or crushing a beer can.
  • Pinch grip: The grasp between the thumb and fingers. This is the crux of the situation.
  • Support grip: Holding on to a bar during a deadlift or pull-up requires a support grip, which is what this term refers to.

Hand grippers are often the first thing that comes to mind for those looking to improve their grip strength. These items help build the hand flexor muscles you need to smash things, but if you want to improve your ability to palm a basketball, there are better methods.

The crush and support grips are not as critical for palming a basketball. Your pinch grip should be your primary training objective.

Strengthening Your Pinch Grip

The following exercises will help develop your pinch grip so that you can comfortably hold a basketball in your hand.

Pushups with the fingertips

It’s easy to figure out what they’re for. You can lift your hand up, so your body is supported by your fingertips while doing a regular pushup.

Because this is a more complex pushup form, starting with your knees on the ground may be essential.

Pushups with the fingertips

Basketball palming while lying on your side.

Because gravity is your opponent, you should begin palming the basketball horizontally, parallel to the floor. This will help you become more comfortable. It’s easier to palm the ball if you’re using the bottom half of your hand to apply upward force to the ball.

With enough repetitions, you should feel a stinging pain in your forearm. The danger of muscular spasms can be minimized by not overworking your muscles.

Record how long you can hold the basketball in this position for each day. It would help if you witnessed a steady rise in quality. Read more: How Long Are Basketball Games? NBA, WNBA, and NCAA Rules

As you get better, start angling the ball towards the floor so that you don’t need as much help from the upward forces pressing on the ball.

Grasping Smaller Objects

At least 5 seconds of palming is required to strengthen your grasp with a basketball. Otherwise, your fingers won’t have a chance to grow.

A smaller leather/rubber ball is preferable if you cannot complete the aforementioned workout for an extended period.

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I’d go for a handball or a women’s basketball for this (handball is a popular sport in Europe, and the ball is significantly smaller than a Basketball).

Before going on to a men’s basketball, practice palming one of these more petite balls for at least 20 seconds.

how to palm a basketball with small hands

Flexors for the hands

Finger stretchers are an excellent alternative to hand grippers when training finger muscles. You may buy them online to work on pinch grip strength for a fraction of the price.

Using a Climbing Wall for Preparation

Climbers are the best place to witness folks with incredible grip strength.

During a climb, different muscle groups are tested because of the uneven contouring of a climbing wall or natural climbing rock. Without even realizing it, this results in training all three types of hand grip.

After a few climbing sessions, my basketball palming became noticeably better immediately. After a session, you’ll experience an intense burning sensation down your forearms and fingers like no other.

Using a Basketball as a Palm

1. Align your fingertips with the ball’s ridges.

The straight groove that circles the ball’s center should be where your thumb rests. Four fingers above the middle groove should also be placed by your other four fingers.

Even though you can palm the ball from any angle, it’s a good idea to start by aligning your fingers with the grooves of the ball.

If you can’t get your pinky all the way into the groove, don’t sweat it; just get it as close as you can.

2. Use your thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers to grasp the ball.

Forefinger and palm work together to palm a ball. Your fingers should firmly grip the ball.

Once you’ve mastered the art of palming a basketball correctly, your hand may never even come into contact with the ball. Everything you need to do should be done with your fingers.

Using a Basketball as a Palm

3. Get into the habit of squeezing.

Spend some time squeezing the ball with your fingertips to strengthen them.

Squeezing should be done with both hands.

4. Fake a pass and try it out.

Once you’ve mastered the art of palming a basketball, put it to use. To maintain the ball in your hands, toss it out as if you were about to pass it.

To improve your palming technique, practice moving the ball around. You’ll improve your overall ball control and grip strength as a result.

‘True’ Palming vs. Pseudo-Palming

Top players like Kobe Bryant and Anthony Davis are known to have trouble palming the ball.

You might recall Kevin Durant explaining to photographers that he couldn’t palm the ball in shots because of his 6’10” height.

The NBA’s most efficient dunkers are Kobe, Anthony, and Kevin. There is no denying the size of Kevin and Anthony in NBA terms.

When it comes to dunks, even these men have a hard time palming the ball in the literal sense and instead cradle it.

As a result, learning to palm the ball isn’t the same as learning to grip a tennis ball. Even in the NBA, very few people have the ability to manipulate the ball with such precision.

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Make sure you can accomplish the motions you want with just one hand by working on your one-handed control. Being able to slam the ball with just my wrists were more than enough for me.

‘True’ Palming vs. Pseudo-Palming

Men Before vs. Men Now

You’ve probably noticed that your father’s and his pals’ hands tend to be larger and more masculine-looking than your own. In fact, the younger generation is getting weaker, and it’s not because they’re getting older.

Researchers from the Journal of Hand Therapy found that men’s crush and pinch grip had deteriorated dramatically over the past three decades.

how to make your hands grippy for basketball

This is due to a shift in men’s habits toward a more laid-back, less active way of life

Do something active every day, whether assisting with household errands, going to the gym to do deadlifts and kettlebell swings, or simply playing a game of basketball. Read more: How To Play Basketball And Dominate The Court

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re struggling to hold a grip on a basketball, you could be better served by working on your overall strength rather than just palming the ball.


Is it illegal to palm a basketball?

Because it offers the ball handler an unfair advantage over the defender, palming the ball is forbidden.

Can you hold a basketball with one hand while using the other?

Even if the leather is worn down, small hands might make it challenging to handle and palm a basketball. Players with small hands may have a more challenging time dribbling or passing the ball. You may not be able to dunk the ball even if you can jump high enough because of your short hands.

palm a basketball

How vital is grip strength when it comes to palm a basketball?

Gripping a ball with one hand demands a lot of strength in the other hand. Your overall game will benefit from having a firm grasp on the basketball and being easier to hold. Grip strength will help you dribble more effectively and shoot with more precision. Read more: Way To Shoot A Basketball?


There are many different ways to palm a basketball, but the most important thing is to make sure that you have a good grip on the ball. If you can grip the ball tightly in your hand, you will be able to control it better and make cleaner passes. Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you. With a bit of practice, you will be able to palm a basketball like a pro!

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