Countless people derive euphoric thrills from playing or watching the game of basketball. Many people don’t know all that there is to know about this game. Keep reading to find out great ways to bring your game skills to a whole new level.

It is important to focus on both offense and defense when learning to play basketball. Basketball games are won more often by defense than offense. Offensive skills are usually the most impressive ones but defense is something every team should work on.

TIP! Work on pass catches. Make sure you get used to catching less than perfect passes smoothly.

Get good at making free throws. This is something that seems simple, but in reality it can be hard. When practicing your free throw, concentrate on where you want the ball to go when it leaves your hands. Hold the ball level to your face. Your eyes should be on the goal. You should be thinking about the ball going in the hoop. Then repeat that when you take the shot.

Free throws require as much mental focus as physical skill. You can train your body to complete the motions of making a free throw, but if you are mentally prepared to fail, you will. Relax and focus on the net, and you’ll be able to make more.

You should practice against a variety of defense types, not just zone. A lot of the game is sure to be played in the zone, but your opponent could change to man-to-man coverage. You may lose control of the game if you aren’t prepared.

TIP! Don’t just practice your game against the zone defense. While much of the game is played in zone, the opponent can flip to man-to-man coverage, changing everything and surprising you.

If you experience a basketball injury, don’t keep playing. It’s easy to be hurt when playing basketball. Trying to continue playing even if you’ve got discomfort can make the injury worse. If you are seriously injured, obtain medical care.

Never turn away from the ball so that you can always be prepared for what’s coming. You develop a good feel for the game around you, making it much easier to quickly react to your opponent. Also, watch for areas to open up so you can make an easy basket.

Your fingers should always be spread out when handling the ball. The ball will not get away if you always keep your fingers spread when handling the ball. You should avoid having your palm touching the ball. Only your fingers should touch it during a pass or when dribbling.

Defensive Game

Your defensive game will be more successful if you know your opponents. Study video tape on your opponent and read over any scouting reports. See if you can determine each players strong and weak sides. When you know your opponent, you will be better able to play an effective defensive game. A smart defensive player is a strong one.

Be aware of what your feet are doing and where they are. When you are in possession of the ball, touching the baseline will get you out of bounds. The ball will be turned over on a walking call if too many steps are taken with no dribble action. Being aware of your body movements can give you an advantage on the court.

TIP! Want to trick the other team? Try doing what is known as a back pass. Use the dominant hand whenever trying a behind the back pass.

If an opponent is staying with you, try passing the ball between your legs. Bounce the ball very hard through your legs while stepping to the front or the back. Mastering this movement gives you a big advantage on the court.

When you are passing the ball, get used to looking in the other direction. This will easily confuse your opponents. If you can pull it off, it’s effective to draw your opponents away from the shooter. That way the shooter gets a great look before shooting. It’s a powerful play when done right.

In order to do the best you can with layups, you’ll want to take off with the foot that is opposite of your shooting hand. Use your left foot when shooting with the right hand. This way you keep your body away from defenders, your momentum going in the direction of the basket and your body stays balanced.

Increase your weak hand’s capabilities by using it for everything you normally would not. Being more dexterous means you will have better control. Your basketball skills will benefit.

Make sure the ball doesn’t bounce above your knees when you dribble. The other team’s players will have a difficult time stealing the basketball from you. It will be necessary to bend over, but you should be able to get down the court faster.

The hand not used to dribble the ball should serve as a wall separating the ball from the opposing players. You can’t push the person guarding you, but you can hold your arm out gently. Hold your arm slightly elevated as you dribble with the opposite hand.

TIP! If the other team has a good defense, passing the ball between your legs is a good option. To practice, simply bounce the basketball between your legs while stepping either forward or backwards.

Maintain a rhythm to the dribble until you are ready to surprise the opponent. You can for instance suddenly speed up your dribbling to get past an opponent and get the edge you need for a shot. The change in speed and sound can surprise your opponent.

If you are a basketball player you should be eating a healthy diet. If you’re playing regularly, you need energy-loaded carbs as well as some fat and protein. You want to make sure that your body has enough energy to keep going; think about eating chicken, nuts and whole grain bread. Limit your consumption of salt and sugar.

Basketball provides lots of potential as both a spectator sport and physical activity. To get the most out of the game, it is best to learn as much as you can. This article is a great resource for accomplishing that.