In order to play basketball well, you need to understand how to become a great basketball player. Along the same lines, nobody ought to expect basketball greatness in the absence of know-how and practice. Use these tips to improve you game to an expert level.

It’s easy to focus on offense when learning to play, but your practice time would be better spent on defense. 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! Correct dribbling is key. When you dribble a basketball you have to use the fingertips instead of the hand’s palm.

Crossing over is a vital skill to have for handling the basketball. This is when the ball is moved from hand to hand. If order for the maneuver to be a success, it has to be performed with speed. Once you’ve learned how to use it, the crossover dribble makes it easy to navigate the court in a more effective way.

Want to become a better basketball player? Watch the pros! Go to professional games in person and/or watch them online or on TV. You’ll see that every great player has specific skills that cause them to be great and you have the opportunity to practice what you’re watching them do.

Passing the ball is an important part of playing basketball so practice making and receiving passes. When you practice, be sure to do drills that improve catching wild throws and making great passes. This will help you catch those bad passes during a game. Being able to get imperfect passes will limit turnovers.

TIP! You must become knowledgeable about hitting a free-throw shot. This seems like an easy shot, but it is quite hard.

If you want to take jump shots, don’t spend time pumping iron. Muscle strength is great for any position in basketball, you can have too much when it comes to perimeter play. Shooting guards that end up with bulked up arms sometimes find that it affects field goal percentages.

If you get injured while playing basketball, do not try to play through the pain. This sport is physically demanding and you can become injured. Continuing to play when you are in pain can make an injury worse. If the injury feels too bad then seek medical attention right away.

Make sure, no matter what else happens, you can see where the ball is. It’s all about court awareness, and always facing the ball will make it so you are less surprised by passes. That means less turnovers. Also, watch for areas to open up so you can make an easy basket.

TIP! The way to properly dribble is to keep your head up while looking ahead of you. Anyone who watching the ball while they dribble surely needs to spend more time in the gym practicing.

Study you opponent well to give yourself an edge. Watch taped games, and keep current with scouting reports. Remember which player shoots left and which shoots right. Studying your opponent is one of the best ways to be able to win the game. Knowledge is power, even in basketball.

Being a good defensive player involves disrupting your opponent’s concentration. Get them outside their comfort zone. Your defensive moves must be aggressive and executed properly. Never let them control the game plays. The more aggressively smart team is usually the one who wins. Try making the initial move and interrupt their rhythm.

Prevent the opposing team from stealing the ball by dribbling hard. This causes the ball to return to your hand more quickly, so the offense has less time to try to get it away from you. If the defense gets to be too much, look to pass the ball to someone who is open.

TIP! Proper balance is essential when shooting. Your knees should be bent with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders.

When you are defending, keep your stance low. Staying low gives you a better chance to play the ball and helps you move more quickly. Be in the correct defensive stance all the time. If you break the stance to shot-block, then recover the proper form immediately after the pass or shot.

When you dribble, keep your knees comfortably bent. You will have a hard time controlling the ball if you always stand straight and opponents will be able to steal the ball. To help out your ball control, try bending the knees.

Make sure you stay in a constant rhythm until it is time to make your move. A consistent dribbling broken up by a fast paced dribble can surprise your opponent and give you a major edge for a shot. In addition to the tempo change, the louder sound of your dribbling can catch them off guard as well.

TIP! Concentrate on your strong points if you want to improve your game. Your talents might not make you a star, but when you make the most of your strengths, you might better contribute to your team.

Make sure you practice shooting all over the court. You should first practice on balancing and your grip. Off-balance shooting can happen, but it’s not as accurate. Pay attention to the air valve on the ball. Spread your fingers, and place your dominant hand over the area where the valve is located.

If a shooter is located at a corner, their missed attempt is likely to waft to the opposite side. Pay attention to this as you prepare for a rebound.

Knowing exactly what you need to do to make your game the best it can be will leave you filled with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. It pales in comparison to the feeling you’ll have when you learn how to play basketball well, however. This will help you win more and become more impressive.