Basketball is adored worldwide. All players contribute different skills to the team. If you want to take your game to the next level, the following tips should help.

It’s natural to focus on offensive abilities when practicing the sport of basketball, but your practice time needs to focus on defense. Victory requires the ability to play defense. Offense is often what gets the glory, but most winning basketball teams play great defense.

TIP! It is easy to be focused on offense when you are learning how to play basketball, but you really should focus your practice on defense. Many times, defense actually wins the game.

Practice using different types of defenses. While a good chunk of the game will most likely be played in zone, your opponent might flip the switch to man-to-man coverage just to change things up and surprise you. If you are unprepared, you may lose the match fast.

Lay off the weights if you are trying to become a jump shooter. It’s possible to have excessive muscles when you play the perimeter. There have been instances where great shooters bulk up so much that it adversely affects their shooting percentage.

Keep your skills sharp in the off-season by playing different challenging games. It is possible to enjoy this team sport even in the absence of your team. That is okay. You can still accomplish a lot when playing solo. Practice free throws and layups. There are always things that can be done.

TIP! It is important that you perfect dribbling the ball. Proper dribbling technique involves use of the fingertips, not the palm of the hand.

You can play a great defensive game if you know the opposition well. One great way to get a better understanding of your opponent is to take the time to watch film and get information from other players or scouts. Remember which player shoots left and which shoots right. Defense is more effective when you know what your opponent is likely to do. A smart defender is someone who is good at his position.

You should always be aware of the position of your feet and their actions. You want to make sure you don’t step over the bounds by even a teeny bit. If you take several steps while holding the ball, you could be called for traveling. In addition, a foul can be called against you if you move either foot while setting a screen, a pick or taking a charge.

Free Throws

TIP! Learn how to hit a free throw shot. This may seem like an easy task, but in reality, things prove otherwise.

If you want improve your free throws, you have to develop a routine. Inconsistency will ruin your shots. A great way to get better at free throws is to practice, practice and then practice the same routine some more. If you don’t stick to your routine, you could miss the shot.

Your forearms and hands should be strengthened in order for you to handle the ball better. Wrist curls can be effective at helping you to control the ball as if you’ll be dribbling in your sleep. One thing that is important to remember is that it is difficult to be static and be a scorer. While this does happen on occasion, you should be moving in order to execute the play.

Alternating your pace is critical to keeping the defense guessing. When running toward the hoop, plant your leading foot and start to straighten up. You will have the guard think that you’re slowing down. In turn, they will straighten themselves. All the while, push ahead hard then run past them.

TIP! When dribbling, focus on what’s in front of you by keeping your head up. If you have to ever look at the ball while dribbling, then you haven’t practiced that enough.

To create a trapping machine in a standard 2-3 zone, have your two top defenders or your guards wait until point guard is about 10 feet from the time line or midcourt. Once your opponent is trapped, he will have no option but to make a pass. Your forwards should sprint to cover the other players on the outside. This will cause the point guard to throw a pass that will allow your forwards to steal.

When you dribble, bend your knees. When you stand straight up, you’ll find that the ball is harder to control and the ball will be a lot easier for an opponent to steal. Bending your knees slightly can really make a difference in the way you control the ball.

Keep dribbling until it is time to shoot or pass the ball. When you stop dribbling the ball, you only have a limited amount of plays you can perform. Your only option, besides shooting or passing, is to use your back foot to pivot. This will leave you open for double teaming from opponents and you may lose control of the ball.

TIP! Free throws are as much mental as they are physical, like other parts of the game. It is possible to practice the physical movements needed to make such a shot, but when your mental focus is lacking, you are likely to miss.

Use whatever hand you aren’t dribbling with as a shield between the ball and your opponent. You can’t push on your opponent, but you should use your non-dribbling arm to protect the ball. This move helps to keep the ball protected and you in control of it.

Do off court exercises that will improve your game on the court. For example, you can improve individual plays with sprinting. You can improve overall game performance and endurance with long distance running. You can build muscle to support your shots and ability to hustle by lifting weights and engaging in resistance training. The confidence and aggression that result also help you more than anything when shooting.

To keep your opponent on their toes, keep your dribbling steady and regular, then surprise them. A steady dribble interrupted by a fast dribble will take your opponent by surprise and give you the advantage. It’s not just the speed, it’s the change in sound too that can stymy the person guarding you.

TIP! Don’t pump a lot of iron if you wish to become a jump shooter. It’s possible to have excessive muscles when you play the perimeter.

Practice all kinds of shots from various spots on the court. Start out by practicing grip and balance. It is possible to make a shot when your balance is off, but it is a lot less likely. You can perfect your grip on the ball by using the valve. Your fingers of the dominant hand can be placed on the ball with your palm centered on the valve.

Anyone who plays basketball wants to hone certain skills to improve their game. The tips included above should have given you ideas on how to become better at your chosen sport. Reread the article, if you feel it necessary, but the most important thing to do is to never cease practicing the techniques and tips within this article.

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