Wrist strengthening exercises can be the difference between a good player and a great player. Really, sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference, like having strong wrists. Fortunately, increasing wrist strength is relativelyeasy to do and with practice, can have a major impact especially for kids playing lacrosse, basketball, tennis, golf, curling and hockey. I’ll bet you’ve never really thought about wrist strength, but it’s the key to being a better player for many sports!
When you’re handling a piece of equipment, a stronger wrist helps lacrosse and hockey players play one handed for longer periods of times and with greater accuracy. As a basketball player, stronger wrists mean that you can dribble and shoot without tiring easily.
Here are some wrist strengthening exercises that your child can do on their own, or you can do with them. Oh, and keep in mind that even if your child focuses on just one sport, trying the exercise below will complement their skills.
Weight training for wrist strength
Equipment: 5 pound
Wrist Curls and Wrist Curl Extensions are simple exercises that can be done using lightweight 3-5 pound weights or even water bottles or water bottles filled with sand. Here’s a great video that shows you how to do these exercises, as well as how to modify based on your body’s needs.
Here’s another great article that the USTA published with exercises that promote wrist strength in tennis players.
It’s important to note that the USTA’s article says that research has shown that tennis players often lose elbow and wrist motion on their dominant side from long-term play. All the more reason for young tennis players to become more adept at using both sides.
One handed catch using lacrosse stick
Equipment: lacrosse stick, ball, goggles
Using one hand, catch and throw the ball at different speeds. Be sure to throw hard and receive faster passes, as in game situations. Play with someone, use a wall or a bounce back.
Exercises using a basketball
- Dribbling with the proper form (meaning that the ball is being touched by fingertips only, not the entire hand) is another great way to increase your wrist strength. Be sure to dribble using your weak hand, so that you don’t rely on your dominant hand in clutch situations.
- Below are some additional exercises that are easy to follow:
- Ball slaps – here you are basically juggling a ball, but with greater intensity. “Slap” the ball from one hand to the other.
- Ball tips – bounce the ball back and forth from hand to hand (in some ways this is just easier to get someone to do, since they don’t recognize that they’re working on their weak hand)
- Figure eight drill. According to the article, “Start with your legs shoulder width apart, holding the ball directly below your pelvis. Next, direct the ball around the outside of your right leg, and around the back of your leg. Then transfer the ball from right hand to left hand as it goes between your legs. Bring the ball to the outside of your left leg and back around to the starting point to complete one figure eight.” Hope that makes sense!
Advanced Wrist Strengthening Exercises
For kids that have already been consistently working on wrist strength, check out this video for additional exercises that you can be adapted based on flexibility. TBH, the video is a bit intimidating, so remember to start with the easiest versions first!
With fall sports try outs coming up soon, now is a good time to get started working out your wrists and these wrist strengthening exercises are a good place to start. Don’t forget to check out SCOUTjr.com for a program nearby, and be sure to let us know of any teams, camps or clinics that we’re missing so parents can find the right program for their kids.