How To Get Better At Basketball
Time to read 13 min
Written by: Chris Hungerford
Time to read 13 min
Basketball is a universal game, played by all ages, sizes, colors, shapes, and skill levels. Basketball brings people together and promotes togetherness.
No longer is the sport confined to the courts in North America. Basketball is now played at a growing rate all over the planet.
Every player strives to get better at basketball, but not everyone knows how to get better at basketball. So how do you get better at basketball?
In this article, we will highlight how to improve the skills that you have, and get the ones that you're missing. Fundamental tips on how to improve your dribbling, passing, shooting, and rebounding, by attending clinics, being coach-able, practicing hard, training well, playing, and most of all, having fun while playing this beautiful game.
What are fundamentals? An adjective describing something that is an essential part of, or a foundation. Dribbling, Passing, Shooting, and Rebounding are some of the most important fundamentals in basketball.
The first fundamental rule that players need to remember is that you have to put the ball on the floor with a dribble, In basketball, dribbling is maneuvering a ball by one player while moving in a given direction, avoiding defenders' attempts to intercept the ball. A successful dribble will bring the ball past defenders legally and create opportunities to score. Not everyone is going to be like Tim Hardaway, or Allen Iverson, 2 NBA legends who were known more for their ability to break down a defender with a crossover dribble, than their shot. While it is not necessary to be the best ball handler, you do need to protect the ball while it is in your possession, especially when you are dribbling.
Style and technique can be unique touches to your dribbling skill, but as long as the ball is kept close to your body while you dribble for ball security, and your head is up while you dribble to see the court as you move the ball, then you have already mastered the fundamentals of the dribble.
The crossover dribble, is a very effective way of dribbling, that simply involves a change in direction to create space between yourself and your defender. For the most part, the lure of the crossover over the years has been how much the dribbler can get their opponent off balance. Instead of sticking with the basics, many young players fall in love with the idea of imitating their favorite player, usually resulting in a dribbling violation (carrying or a careless turnover) of some sort or another. If you reach a comfortable level with your dribble, a way that you can improve it is by doing drills around pylons with your weak hand. Another tip to try is borrowed from the tales of former NBA player Steve Nash, who was notorious for dribbling a tennis ball as he walked across the campus of Santa Clara.
To most players, shooting and dribbling are the most attractive skills to have and to try and improve. Being able to properly execute a pass, however, could be one of the most important skills to learn.
A Chest pass, holding the ball close to your chest, and tossing it with two hands to your teammate's chest area, is how to properly pass the basketball. In order to add this skill to your repertoire, simply practice, practice, practice, either alone or with a partner. You can pass the ball against a wall (do not stand too close to the wall).
The Bounce pass may seem a little advanced for beginners, but is key to feeding the post or finding a teammate who cut back door to the basket. Passing from a stationary position is the safest way to make a bounce pass, but it can be done while in transition as well. Although there is no written rule, generally one bounce before it enters the post or reaches its target, is the way to go.
Now is one of your first opportunities to utilize the skill of keeping your head up while you dribble. How are you going to see your teammate in the post who has a mismatch when your head is down? Or what if your teammate fakes as if he is setting a screen for you, but then cuts towards the basket (back-door)? That pass cannot happen with your head down pounding the rock into the Earth. Being able to see the whole court in front of you at all times on offense and defense, is called having "court-vision". The best point guards in the game, were admired for how well they could see the whole court, therefore, allowing you them to control the play.
Do you like seeing alley-oops? What is an alley-oop? This advanced form of passing involves lobbying the ball to a player who is jumping, leading them to the basket, as they catch the ball and dunk it. Some of the most impressive plays in basketball. While the alley-oop is an exciting play, the rate of completion of that pass, depends on skill level and confidence, so if it is not a pass you have made in practice routinely, then the game is not the time to perfect it. Improperly timed, or executed, this pass could land you a permanent seat riding the pine.
Despite how it may appear on television, Stephen Curry could not shoot from birth. The ability to shoot the basketball well, is a skill that can determine the outcome of the game and define basketball careers.
You may not be born with the precision, but if you learn the proper mechanics, it can make becoming a great shooter a big part of your game. The free-throw line is the only place where you will get chances to shoot with no defender in front of you, hence the term "free-throw".
Standing behind the line with both feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent, the ball is held with both hands, and as you rise to shoot, without leaving the floor, making certain your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, you release the ball at the apex of your jump (in this case of free-throws, right before the point you would jump).
By far, having a good jump shot is the best skill to have in basketball. The form of shooting a foul shot is the same as shooting a jump shot, but now you jump and release the ball at the apex of your jump. The timing of when you take a jumper, is the key to hitting your shot. Although you do not have to be wide open, that is the most ideal time to shoot, and is the closest you will get to shooting a free throw.
Here are some basketball tips for better shooting; locate your target (the rim), always hold your follow-through, finish with a relaxed wrist, use a colored ball for rotation purposes, do not fade or hang in the air when shooting, and NEVER think about your shot during games.
One tip in basketball that should never be forgotten, is that EVERYONE can rebound. The best rebounders in basketball, were not the tallest or strongest players in the league, or even on their own teams.
Rebounding is about position, your position. As the shot is being attempted, everyone, the shooter included, is expected to go to the basket in case the shot attempt is not successful. Whether on offense or defense, as long as your body is between your opponent and the basket, you will be in the best position to grab that rebound. A well-executed "box-out" (keeping the opposing player from getting to a loose ball by facing them and forming a barrier with your body), should lead to the perfect rebound, one that bounces on the floor in front of only your team.
Working and developing your basketball skills in practice is nice, but in order to take that next level in improving your skills, you may find it very helpful to be coached in an environment of peers with similar goals.
All over the globe, basketball is being taught in camps and clinics. Former and current professional/amateur players, coaches, or fans of the game, are run with the sole purpose of producing the best players.
When choosing a camp, consider the following; what is offered, what is the cost, what opportunities come out of it, and how well trained is the staff?
Let's be real for a moment, shall we? Most parents involve their children in camps to help their social skills, but to also pawn their care off to someone else. Sending your child to camp or going to the right camp, however, could mean the difference between basketball being a game to them, and it being the sport that demands their respect.
Hoopsking.com, offers the most bang for your buck. This site was founded in 2000 by Coach Chris, was founded to fill a void where basketball training resources are minimal.
Are you a parent? Coach? Are you a beginner at playing or coaching? Perhaps you are someone interested in becoming a qualified hoops instructor? HK, offers an outstanding array of training for everyone seeking to improve in any area of the game.
Coach Chris wants to develop players and make their experience with him a time in their life they will always remember.
Now with the onset of the information age, there is no reason anyone can’t get the information and tools needed to become the best player they can become.
Technology and social media have made it impossible for their basketball knowledge to be out of reach. They provide the best information in the form of our videos which you can purchase from the top trainers in the world with our Advanced Basketball Training System or choose from our over 900 Rental DVDs from the top coaches in the game of basketball.
Hoopsking also provides top training tools such as shooting aids, dribbling aids, vertical jump equipment, training pads, ball racks, custom coaching boards, and so much more.
Customers come from all over the world and include parents, high schools, colleges, and even NBA teams.
GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL CAMP (Canada)
Talent may serve useful, but being able to listen and be coached is much more important. Camps like Gold Medal Basketball Camp, (GMBC) were founded in 1993 by Angelo Provenzano and Tony Marcotulio. The club has grown over the years into a well-respected basketball organization offering summer camps, house leagues, and competitive programs for kids from 5 to 19 years old. GMBC's philosophy is based on a firm belief in focusing on player development and that basketball should be, first and foremost, fun. The club has a strong commitment to developing athletes through a focus on skills development, work ethic, and building team fundamentals.
Nike Basketball Camps offers a variety of programs across the U.S. designed to help you achieve your basketball goals. Whether you're new to the sport and want to learn the basics or are a more experienced player looking to advance your positional skills and confidence, Nike has a camp for you. All aspects of the game are covered from on-court fundamental instruction to off-court lectures and classroom sessions, jam-packed into a week of serious fun.
The first rule to being coached, is you have to listen. Whoever is taking their time to teach you how to get better at basketball, will not possibly be able to teach you if you are not paying attention to them.
Skill level makes absolutely no difference when it comes to being coachable. In fact, the most talented players in the world, credit their coaches for their success, and so they should.
There is nobody better to instruct, teach, and show you how to get better at basketball, than someone who has been watching you play. Your coach sees you in every practice, and game scenario. They know your tendencies both good and bad, and can offer basketball tips on how to improve the skills you have, and get the skills that you will need.
Michael Jordan, arguably basketball's greatest player of all time, even thanked his high-school coach in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech. Even though he was making a tongue-in-cheek comment by thanking the coach who cut him from the team, the message was that Jordan used that coach as motivation and inspiration to become the best basketball player in the world.
Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson, and Mike Krzyewski, are among the names of the most respected coaches in basketball. Aside from being blessed with playing talent like Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, and a long laundry list of players out of the Duke University program, all of these coaches have one thing in common. Each coach when asked how they were able to be so successful, their answer was universal, and their players listened. The best players always search for ways to add a skill to their game in practice and the off-season.
Now you have newly found basketball skills and you want to show them off. In a game with officials, it may be difficult to demonstrate your prowess in hoops. This is when entering tournaments (3 on 3 or full-court), or playing drop-in ball at a community center, should be front and center in your spare time calendar.
Turnovers and losses are never welcome, but playing in environments where there is no prize for winning except bragging rights among your friends, can do wonders for your game.
Tournaments will not have a coach threatening to bench you after a mistake. Playing drop-in or pick-up ball, allows you to interact with others and add a toughness to your improving talent.
Playing outside of your league will definitely help to enhance your basketball skills because the competition is not limited to your skill level and age. One of the best ways to get better at basketball is to play against players with skills similar to yours or better.
Whenever you're on defense and you're not defending the basketball or one-pass away, you should be in a 'defensive triangle'. The defensive triangle (or ball-you-man) refers to positioning yourself between the basketball and your opponent so that you can see both with your peripheral vision.
Some tips for playing good defense; stay on your feet and do not fall for shot fakes, no lunge for the ball because you will now be off-balance, stay in a wide, low, athletic stance, and take short steps when sliding from side to side keeping the offensive player in front of you at all times.
Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith (a Canadian) in Springfield, Massachusetts. The NBA is the most popular professional basketball league in the world and boasts one of the most impressive statistics when it comes to its international influence. The NBA had 11 players from countries other than the United States in the lineups on its 2019 opening night of the regular season. There are 108 total international players, from over 40 different nations, currently on an NBA roster. In 2016, the league had reached its climax of representation globally at 25.1%.
Basketball is growing to become the most-played sport in the world. The Olympics have even added 3 on 3 basketball as an official event, that is how much the sport has blown up internationally.
The most important basketball skills to have are the fundamentals of; Dribbling, Passing, Shooting, and Rebounding.
Defense was not highlighted in this article as much as the others simply because it has less to do with skill and talent, and more to do with positioning and teamwork.
Listening to coaches, applying their advice in practice, and executing their vision in game situations, are skills that increase your chances of getting better not only in basketball, but in life in general.
How to get better at basketball, is a question that everyone who plays the game has asked at one point or another on their journey, and never will truly find the answer.
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