Just for a second think about the following scenarios and quickly decide if any of them apply to you.
1) The ball is entered to you in the post but before you can make your move the passer's defender drops down into your lap and rips the ball out of your hands.
2) You go up for a rebound and get both hands on the ball but someone knocks it away right after you grab it.
3) You establish a strong post position, give a great target, and call confidently for the ball but when the pass does come it goes right through your hands.
Have any of these situations ever happened to you, a friend, or a teammate? If so, you know the effect they can have on a team's success (or failure) and you also know they can be personally frustrating and sometimes embarrassing.
Fortunately, in most cases it's a simple fix as it just comes down to strengthening your hands and fingers and improving your ability to catch the ball.
Here are several things you can do to accomplish this:
1. Constantly squeeze a tennis ball, racquetball, or hand grippers
This is good advice for all players as strong hands and fingers will help improve ball handling and shooting as well as rebounding and overall post play. This is especially effective in strengthening your off hand and the best part is that it can be done while riding in a car, sitting in class, or watching a movie.
2. Use a heavy ball
Start by doing some stationary pound dribbles to warm up your hands and then play catch with your workout partner using chest passes, overhead passes and baseball passes. After a couple minutes move in closer together and start passing the ball harder. As your hands get stronger you can start using the heavy ball in the other drills listed here too.
3. Play one handed catch
Have you ever watched a water polo game? It's amazing how much ball control the players have while using only one hand! You can develop the same control by getting a workout partner and playing catch with only one hand at a time. First, pass the ball back and forth several times from your right hand to his right hand. Then pass several times from your right hand to your partner's left hand. Follow that by playing catch with your left hand and his right hand and conclude the session with each of you using only your left hands.
4. Play catch with a wiffle ball
This drill is more for developing soft hands and hand eye coordination which are crucial for improving your catching skills. The nature of a whiffle ball is to randomly float, drop, and curve and the unexpected movements force the pass receiver to concentrate and watch the ball all the way into his hands
5. Use the Mark Eaton bad pass drill
When former NBA All Star Mark Eaton was a rookie Coach Frank Layden implemented a simple drill that paid big dividends. Eaton would slide across the free throw lane while a coach constantly threw bad passes in his direction. Knowing that rarely are perfect passes thrown into the post these passes were thrown too high, too low, too hard, and often behind Eaton, forcing him to constantly adjust. When game time rolled around Eaton was ready for anything!
Don't let weaker hands or an inability to consistently catch the ball ruin all the hard work you put in improving your post moves and rebounding. These drills won't have to be done your entire career - I've seen drastic improvements take place in just a few weeks. However, the benefits you gain from doing drills such as these will last for years!