I play football (soccer) for my community traveling team. Our usual ball handling exercise is getting the ball around a course of cones.
What other ways can I improve my ball handling abilities?
There is great site http://www.playsportstv.com/soccer that has alot of tricks try it!
Cones are the best way but you can also use rope:
taken from http://voices.yahoo.com/soccer-drills-speed-agility-ball-handling-drills-for-893859.html
2 Foot Ladder Drill
In this drill the coach will lay out a rope ladder and the soccer players will line up at one end. The first player will run to the side of the first box and quickly step into the both with both feet, one at a time, and then step out of the box to the other side with both feet, one at a time. As soon as both feet are out of the first box they will cross into the second box with both feet and cross out and so forth. Once the first player has moved up a few boxes the next player will start.
Ball Tap Drill
In this drill each soccer player stands in front of a soccer ball. When the coach blows the whistle, the players will quickly tap the top of the ball with one foot and then the other, switching as quickly as possible. This drill can be done for number of taps (25, 50 or 100) or for time (30-60 seconds).
Buy a football and keep it at home - then just take it around with you (ok, stairs may be an issue). You'll either get annoyed with it or really good at control.
Then ask what you're trying to improve - close ball control is great if you're looking to run with the ball, dribble, take on players, etc. You should also be concentrating on quick control of fast passes, keeping your head up while in possession, etc etc.
One particular thing that has been fun and useful for me and most of my friends, is to get a smaller ball and play around with it. You can get a size 3 ball (regular size is 5), and try to get fully familiar with it. Once you are comfortable playing with a smaller ball, try out new tricks that you might have seen on TV etc. Since the ball is smaller/lighter it will most likely be easier in the beginning, get used to that and next time you play with a regulation size ball, try and see if you can do the same tricks.
As a player who's never been great in skill dribbling, I should also remind you that it is quite overrated. Once you learn to control the ball and use your body to shield the ball when under pressure the rest is just reading your opponents weakness and having the acceleration to dribble past him when you get him off the wrong foot. In my experience, fancy dribblers have always been a pain for their teammates, since they do tend to lose the ball in tough spots in every once in a while. Likewise most of the dribbling skills you see talented professionals do will put them in situations that are risky in terms of injuries. That's my personal opinion of course...