Basketball has been universally loved by the young and old for many years. That said, few understand the game enough to play well. This article is intended to help folks of all skill levels appreciate basketball more and improve their game significantly.

Practice hitting your free throws. There are usually a lot of distractions when you are shooting free throws so you need to concentrate. Use this technique to better your game. Start out by holding the basketball right in front of you. Maintain focus on the basket and try to visualize your basketball falling through the hoop. Bend your knees to control the arc of the ball.

TIP! Many people only direct their attention to the offensive part of the game without realizing that defense is the key to winning. Many times, defense actually wins the game.

Concentrate on your strong points if you want to improve your game. Even though your best abilities might not make you stand out each game, it is sure to help you contribute to the overall success of the team. Learn what your strengths are, then practice to perfection!

Practice layups often. Layup shots make up nearly 80% of a game’s shots. When you are practicing, run full speed at the goal and make the shot. Knowing how to run and jump quickly and smoothly will assist you in knowing how to leap and shoot more effectively while playing.

A great way to bolster your basketball ability is to observe those who are considered to be the best in the sport. Go to a bunch of professional games in person, watch them on television, or just get online to search for basketball videos. You’ll notice that each player has a skill that they are great at. Choose a move that you like and start practicing it.

TIP! You can learn how to better pass the ball if you run drills without the dribble. It is a challenge not to dribble while playing, but it will ensure the accuracy of your team’s passes.

You need to practice more than defeating a zone defense. Most of the game is played in zone, but your opponent may try to switch things up to do man-to-man coverage. If you have not practiced enough on this scenario, you could run afoul of the scoreboard very fast.

When you’re trying to work out, you should build up your core strength while getting your footwork perfected. When your core is strengthened, you will have more balance and be able to move more swiftly. Work the muscles in your abdomen, back, buttocks and hips. Jumping rope can also help you become lighter on your feet and quicker on the court.

For more consistency in making those free throws, stick with the same sequence of motions before you take each shot. Whatever you do before each shot, from dribbles to body motions, should be the same each time. Keep it simple and consistent, and the routine will become a part of your muscle memory.

TIP! Try using hand signals to prevent passes in error. It is very frustrating when a teammate isn’t open for the perfect pass.

If the opposing team is guarding you to much, you can try a pass between your legs. Try practicing this by bouncing your ball hard in between your legs while stepping forward or backward. This move can give you an advantage when playing a tough defense.

Sly feet will help you get the rebound of your team mates free throw. Your defender will move towards you, so figure out how to slither past him and grab the ball. You are able to rebound the ball without fouling someone.

Practice moving the ball from one courtside to the other in just 5 dribbles of the ball. This may seem like an impossible challenge, but it will increase your stride length and your speed. If you master this, you will be able to quickly take layups.

TIP! Remember to spread your fingers when handling the ball. This makes sure that it does not escape away from your grip.

Keep changing up your pace to help keep your opponents on their toes. While you run at the net, plant the front foot and start straightening your body. This will confuse your opponent into adjusting their stance. Like them, push and run past them.

To turn a normal 2-3 zone into a trapping machine, have your top two defenders (your guards) wait until the point guard has come about ten feet past the time line (midcourt). At that point, both guards should move in for the trap. Your forwards should sprint to cover the other players on the outside. Point guards need to throw up passes that your team’s forwards can steal easily.

Use your weak hand for brushing your hair, doing up your belt and opening bottles so you can build up its strength. If your ability to use that hand starts to improve, the benefits to your basketball playing talents will be substantial. This is bound to carry over to the court.

TIP! In order to be your best on defense, take the time to completely understand the player you are guarding. Watch replays and follow scouting reports.

Keep your knees loose when you dribble the ball. Standing straight makes it hard to control the ball. Bending your knees slightly can really make a difference in the way you control the ball.

Stay in communication with your teammates. It is a sport that requires team work. This means that everyone on the team must work together to achieve a common goal. You all help each other out. If you communicate your wishes before you go out on the court, the team will work better as a unit.

Practice a variety of shots from different locations on the court. Practice your grip and proper balance. Shooting off balance is possible, but you will not be nearly as accurate with your shots. Perfect your grip by using the basketball valve. Splay your dominant hand’s fingers, and place the middle of your hand atop the valve at the basketball’s center.

Basketball brings pleasure to many different kinds of people. You need knowledge to both enjoy and play the game. Remember these tips in order to improve your basketball game.