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Everyone from presidents to working class people have played the game of basketball. Whether you play it in school, in your spare time or even professionally, it will bring you a joy like few other sports can. To make the game even more enjoyable, check out all of the tips below.

Get good at making free throws. The free throw shot might seem simple, but it can actually be pretty difficult. When practicing your free throw, concentrate on where you want the ball to go when it leaves your hands. Begin by bringing the ball up to eye level. Maintain focus on the basket and try to visualize your basketball falling through the hoop. Shoot the basketball exactly as you saw in your mind.

Always follow through when shooting. A great way to practice is to hold your follow through until the ball goes in the basket or misses. This will give you some clues on why you missed a shot or where you need to strive for consistency. Watch how other players follow through and follow their lead.

Watch professional basketball players on television. When learning basketball, it’s essential to see what the best out there do. Listen to what the announcers are saying, too. Quite often, they’ll point out smart plays and unique moves that were exceptionally done. These call-outs will help you improve your skills just by watching.

Being a good player isn’t all about displaying physical skills and making all the shots. There is a lot of mental preparation that goes into being a team player. Don;t just focus on what you can do to be better but think about what you can do to be a better team member too.

To become a better dribbler, work on becoming more flexible. The looser and more flexible you are, the better you will be able to elude defenders. Stiffer players are easier to defend. The more flexible you are, the harder it is to defend you. So to improve your dribbling, you need to improve your flexibility.

If you wish to do free throw shots reliably, always do the exact same thing before making each shot. This can be any combination of movements that makes you feel comfortable and prepare for the shot. However, they need to be the same combination of movements each time. As you adopt this routine, it becomes easier for your mind and body to prepare for the shot.

To take care of your leather basketball, only use it in an indoor gym. If you take it outside, the cement and asphalt will tear up that leather. Instead, buy a rubber indoor/outdoor basketball to take to the cement court. They are cheaper and bounce just as well outside.

Always share with your teammates. When someone begins to guard you, start looking for someone to pass to and stop dribbling. If you don’t, your teammates won’t bother trying to find an open spot as they will know that you are a ball hog who doesn’t pass when the time is right.

To play the best defense, you have to beat your man to the place he wants to go and force him to go somewhere else. This means that your feet have to move quickly, so practice shuffling from side to side without crossing your feet. This is the quickest way to move laterally on the floor and will frustrate your man.

You need good vision if you are going to play basketball. Your eyesight will affect more than just making shots. Develop your peripheral vision on the court. You need to know the location of other players on the court in order to make good passes and avoid turnovers.

Box out every opportunity that you can. If you do not box out, you are going to find yourself sitting warmly on the bench after every break. When the rebound is there, take charge and get the coach’s attention with your awesome skill. Work this out in practice and apply it during the game.

Strength training can be a major help in basketball. In addition to strength, stamina is key in basketball. Even little kids who play basketball will develop more overall body strength. As they get older you can use weights to help enhance their performance. During the adult years, strength training is vital to keeping on-court performance at a high level.

The only way to gain skill in outside shooting is to make over 100 practice shots every day from various spots on the court. To improve even more, practice preparing for a shot quickly after dribbling the ball. Look at the target when you’re airborne and not a moment before. This will mimic game conditions and help improve your accuracy.

Keep your eyes on the court when you dribble. You want to be able to see an open teammate to pass the ball to, and you will also be able to keep an eye out for people trying to take the ball from you. Get very good at dribbling while keeping your eyes up.

To score more consistently and make better passes, learn to hold the ball properly. The ball should be held with the tips of the fingers, not the palms of the hands. This takes some strength. Practice by holding ball with only the very ends of the fingers, exaggerating the proper hold, not even using the pads. This will build finger strength.

To play basketball you need to be generating lots of energy. The key is to have your body burning calories throughout the day through metabolism. If you consume 5 to 7 light meals during your day, it will be easy to keep your metabolism fueled. This will produce the energy you need to get on the court and start making the plays.

When you love something, you need to work hard to become better at it. This is true of all sports, even basketball. While the game itself may seem simple, it takes practice and education to master it. This article is a great first step, so use the tips read here and improve your play.