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Basketball drills with cones for perfect dribbling

Updated on May 17, 2024
8 mins read
Basketball drills with cones for perfect dribbling
Basketball drills with cones for perfect dribbling

In a fast-paced sport like basketball, nothing can help a player more than agility, speed, and accuracy. Some players are indeed god-gifted, but size and strength can only help so much. If you want your players to be better than the ones a foot higher than them, practice and drills are what can make that possible.

Basketball drills and workouts consist of everything from shooting drills to using training cones for basketball. In this post, we will have a look at the basketball drills with cones that you can make a part of your training regime to improve your players’ game.

Before we get started, let’s talk a bit about why basketball dribbling drills with cones are such an effective way of training.

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Benefits of Basketball Drills With Cones

The main plus point of basketball cone dribbling drills is that they can be done by a single player and you don’t need to have the whole team on the court. Ball handling drills with cones can help the players improve in the following areas.

1. Agility

The most important benefit of doing basketball drills with cones is the increase in agility. As these drills need the athlete to move between the cones at high speed, the result is enhanced agility and accuracy of lateral movements. This makes it possible for the players to change directions and accelerate from a stationary position faster in the game.

2. Balance

In a fast-paced game like basketball, losing your balance can not only cost you points, but also result in serious injury. Thankfully, this crucial skill can be improved by basketball cone dribbling drills. Though balance is a hard skill to acquire as it requires many muscles in the body to work in precise coordination, basketball practice cones can help incorporate it into your muscle memory.

3. Endurance and Stamina

Basketball drills with cones are among some of the most physically demanding workouts your players can do. When done for extended periods, this intense physical exertion strengthens the muscles and enhances aerobic and anaerobic respiration in the muscle fibers. Consequently, the athletes have better endurance and improved stamina - qualities that are more important than anything else for being good at the game.

4. Improved Metabolism

With all the physical activity required by basketball shooting drills with cones, the players need to have a high metabolic rate. This is good for the overall health of the player and makes it possible for them to utilize the food they eat to build muscle mass.

5. Reflexes

Ball handling drills with cones do not only need immense physical input, but the athlete also needs to be mentally responsive. These drills improve their reflexes and the way they respond to the ball. The importance of sharp reflexes in a game where the players need to make a million calculations in a second can never be overemphasized.

An Important Thing to Note

Before we get into the actual drills, there is one more thing that needs to be made clear. These drills focus on two skills of the players which, when combined, are all that a player needs to be good at the sport. If you do not ask your players to keep their focus on improving these skills, no good will come from the drills. Before the players start the drill, brief them on the following:

Ball Handling Skills

Your players need to improve their ball-handling skills as they are doing basketball dribbling drills with cones. Encourage them to dribble lower and faster with every repetition. Tell them that they can only improve in the game if they try to be better than their own past self.


Once the players start picking up dribbling skills, ask them to turn their focus to footwork. Anytime the ball is in the air, there is a risk of losing possession. Ask the players to reduce the number of dribbles and aid their game with footwork to deliver better performance.

Best Basketball Drills With Cones

1. Tip the Cone Basketball Drill

It is one of the basketball drills with cones that work on both the offense and defense skills of the player. It improves the way the player handles the ball while increasing their stamina and endurance.

A great thing about this drill is that it can be used for players of any age or experience level. With a little change to the setup, the “tip the cone” basketball drill can suit anyone.

The Start

The start of the drill is the same for all players. Other steps differ according to the players’ skill level. Ask the players to start in a good athletic body posture. Ask them to keep their back flat and bend their knees. They should be holding their action arm to the side.

For enhanced visibility and situational awareness, the players need to make sure they can freely move their chin to increase their field of view.

Steps for Beginners

For the players new to the game, place two cones around 4 feet apart.

The player needs to start in an athletic posture, inside of one of the cones with the ball between their feet. This placement of the ball tells them that they cannot cross their feet or kick their heels together.

Next, the player needs to put their fingertips on the ball and roll it to the other cone while they shuffle their feet. Once they reach the other cone, they need to knock it down, change their hand at the ball and shuffle back to the starting cone.

Encourage the players to do as many passes between the cones as they can.

Steps for Intermediate Players

The setup and start of this basketball drill with cones are the same. However, the player is required to dribble the ball to the other cone instead of rolling it over. Stress to the player to keep the dribbles as low as possible and try to move in a direct line from cone to cone.

This drill is great for teaching ball protection.

Steps for Advanced Players

For advanced players, this drill offers another variation. To execute this one, divide the team into players or partner up with the player if you are giving individual coaching.

The process of the drill is the same, but with an interesting catch. While one player is dribbling to the cone, the partner picks the cone and places it in a different position. The task of the player with the ball is to locate the cone and bring it back to its original location while shuffling their feet and dribbling the ball all the time.

If you want to take things up a notch, hand the other player another ball, and both now have to dribble while displacing the cones. The drill should be done for 30 seconds with as many reps as the players can endure.

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2. Cone Dribbling Drill

This basketball cone dribbling drill teaches players how to dribble while abruptly changing their speed and direction.

Drill Setup

The setup for this drill is pretty straightforward. Just place 5-10 cones in a straight line at a distance of 3-5 feet from each other.

Drill Execution

  • Ask the players to begin at one end of the line of cones. They have to move through the cones in a zigzag pattern. The player needs to dribble the ball during the movement.
  • The player should dribble the ball from one hand to the other while rapidly changing direction and speed across the line of cones.
  • Teach the players to incorporate “fake” crossovers in the game, along with real dribbles. This can be done by pulling the ball in towards the middle of the body and then moving it back to the same hand instead of changing hands.
  • Once the players start picking the pace, ask them to dribble the ball between their legs while they change hands and rapidly change the speed and direction of their movement.

Coaching Suggestions

You can make this basketball cone dribbling drill even more useful by:

  • Telling the players to incorporate the change of speed in addition to the change of direction to make the drills more unpredictable
  • Educate the players to keep their head up and keep an eye on the court instead of focusing their field of vision on the ball

To make the drill easier, you can increase the distance between the cones. To make it harder, use a flat or weighted ball.

3. Competitive Cone Touch Dribbling Drill

This is another ball-handling drill with cones that can be used for players of any age or experience level. It can be used as a warm-up, dribbling drill, or skill-building activity.

The purpose of this drill is to build competitive skills in the players by introducing the human factor, which is very important to develop responses to human actions.

This drill needs the players to dribble the ball with their eyes on other players, move fast, shuffle, and change speeds.

Drill Setup

The setup for this drill is simple. Scatter 12-20 cones randomly all over the court. You can also use more cones if you want to decrease the distance between them. The players are lined up at one side of the court with one ball at the feet of each.

Drill Execution

  • Say GO for the players to start the drill.
  • The players have to move to the other side of the court while dribbling the ball.
  • Points are given to the players based on the number of times they touch a cone.
  • Only the touches made while dribbling the ball qualify.
  • The players can only touch a cone once. To touch the same cone again, they must first touch another one.

Coaching Suggestions

You can make the game more competitive using one of the following or any other method you design to decide the winner.

  • The player who has touched the most cones in a minute wins.
  • The top three players who touch the most cones are the winners.
  • Assign a goal. Like, the player who is the first one to complete 20 touches wins.
  • Split the team into two teams, and the team with the most touches will be crowned the winner.

To Make it More Interesting

You can do the following to make this basketball cone dribbling drill even more interesting and challenging:

  • Allow the players to dribble with one hand only.
  • Allow only low dribbles, below the knees.
  • Players should change hands every time they touch a cone.
  • Players need to double-cross over each cone.
  • Players need to triple-course through their legs at each cone.
  • Dribble the cones forward and backward alternately. (Forward at first, backward at the second, so on and so forth).
  • Players can only shuffle to move around the court.

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To Sum Up

Basketball drills with cones are among some of the best workouts for basketball players, as they require the player to exhibit incredible balance, precision, stamina, and skill. Given enough time and practice, all the movements will become muscle memory and that gives the players a huge edge over others. These drills with cones are tried and tested to improve the dribbling skills of any player.