Each position on the basketball court has its own skillset to master, but the fundamentals of the game carry over into each and every maneuver, pass and shot.
Even if you’ve been playing your whole life, there’s always room for improvement on the court. Fortunately, all your skills can be polished with a few drills. Work on these areas of your game, and you’ll be an unstoppable force when you get your hands on the rock.
Here’s how to become a better basketball player.
Basketball is a sport made up of many different parts. If you’re great in one area, but weaker in others, you can use that one area to compensate, becoming a valuable contributor to the team, regardless of your shortcomings. Even most professional players tend to be far more stronger in certain areas than others. If you can become a knock-down shooter, you’ll always have a place in any game. The most important thing about shooting well is to get reps and know your shot. Additionally, you also want to focus on squaring your body up to the hoop. This means using your dominant hand to push the ball up as you jump and using your other hand to steady the ball before you release. Follow through with this, and you’ll be able to flick your wrist toward the hoop. Remember to keep your entire body pointing toward, and square to, the hoop.
Unless you are a professional shooter, you’re not going to get the rock too often – unless you can dribble. Dribbling is the key to getting around the court, but most importantly, it’s the key to making sure you don’t immediately turn the ball over, which is the quickest way to making sure your teammates don’t pass to you anymore. The first and major rule of dribbling is to use your fingertips, but beyond that, it’s really a matter of practicing until you understand how the ball bounces. Practice with both of your hands, practice switching between your hands and practice moving the ball around your body and running with it.
Passing is the skill that tests a player’s physicality most. Successful passing is not a mechanically challenging technique: you either use a chest pass to throw it threw the air, or a bounce pass to make it harder for defenders to intercept and disturb. What’s most important is to be able to read passing lanes and know how to thread the needle between defenders. Always remember to read the movement of the person you’re passing to before making the pass.
Defense is half of the game of basketball. Consistently underrated and under appreciated by both beginners and professionals, defense will win you games if you’re good at it and lose you games if you aren’t. First of all, stay on the fronts of your feet and keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder length apart. Second, get your hands up and put them in your opponents face or in the area he’s trying to dribble the ball. Lastly, keep your eyes locked on his chest or waist. It’s far harder to get faked out when you’re locked onto the guy’s body. Most of all, stay in front of him – if he can’t get by you, he can’t get to the basket.
Finishing Around the Basket
Even if you’re a great shooter, you’re only hitting half of your shots. If you can get to the basket and finish reliably around the hoop, you’ll be a considerably more dangerous and versatile player. You have to keep your eyes locked on the hoop as you head to the basket and push off your drive leg when you go up. The most important thing is to be able to finish with both hands driving on either side of the hoop – that’s the way you make yourself truly able to score in any circumstances. If you can adapt based on the location and positioning of your defender as well as give your attack variety and variation, you’ll be the guy or girl nobody wants to defend.