You can play basketball just about anywhere. It can be played at a park or even in a cul de sac in the neighborhood. If you love the game of basketball, you should keep reading to learn all that you can about this exciting game!

While focusing on offense is fun, you must also make sure you focus on defense. Defense is what stands between you and a win. While offense seems to get the praise, defense must be stellar in order to win.

TIP! Hitting free throws is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. Your body can be trained to make free throws, but your mind has to be focused on success if you want to make the basket.

It is important that you perfect dribbling the ball. Use the fingertips, not the palm, for the best dribbling. Doing so will allow you a greater degree of ball control. Always dribble to your side, not your front. Instead of focusing on the ground, gaze upward.

If you wish to do better with basketball, you have to focus on what you’re good at. Your best talent may not make you the star of every game, but learning to play your best angle will help you contribute more to the team. Perfect what you can do well by practicing and developing the strengths you already have.

There is a lot of pressure when shooting free throws. You’re able to train your whole body to do full free throw motions, but if you’re not mentally prepared, you will fail. Be relaxed and concentrate on the basket and you will help you make more free throws.

TIP! Want to become a better basketball player? Watch the pros! You can do this by watching games in person and on television. This is a great way to learn new techniques to try out on the court.

A great way to hone your own basketball abilities is to watch the pros. Go to a bunch of professional games in person, watch them on television, or just get online to search for basketball videos. You will quickly notice all the different skills that they have which makes them a great player, then take what you learned and use it to help improve your own game.

Do not practice solely against 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. You might lose your control of the court if the other team use this technique, unless you are ready for this possibility.

Play basketball against yourself even during the off-season. Basketball is sport played in teams, but there are times when no one is around to play with you. This is perfectly acceptable. There are many ways that you can improve your game alone. Whether focusing on foul shots or how to pivot with the ball, you can look for ways to improve. You can always practice something.

TIP! Are you interested in being able to fool the other team? Try a back pass. To accomplish this pass, grasp the ball using your dominant hand.

One way to get a good understanding of your game is to ask your fellow players about your ability. Are you really good at any one thing? It could be your speed, or it could be your back-up abilities. Learn what other’s see as your natural skills and make sure to keep and develop those skills more fully.

One of the best ways to play a strong defensive game is to know your opponent. Make sure that you’ve watched tapes that show the other player. You can also check out scouting reports. One simple thing to know before the game is if your opponent shoots with their right or left hand. Knowing an opponent’s dribbling, passing and shooting styles gives you a definite edge on defense. The more knowledgeable a defender is, the stronger he is.

You want to strive in practice to bring the ball all the way up the court in no more than five dribbles. It isn’t impossible, it just takes practice. You will find that it becomes easier to score and make layups.

TIP! Don’t play while injured or else your injury will worsen. It’s a challenging sport that’s very physical, and you have the ability to get injured.

If an opponent charges at you, let him run into you. This strategy can result in your opponent taking a foul and your team getting a defensive stop and taking possession of the ball. This can devastate a competitor psychologically as well as being a powerful play on the court.

To better three-point shooting, try using NBA distance as the minimum. The international line is much closer. If you’re able to get the shot from where the NBA shoots, then you can start working from a range further than the defense expects.

You should always have your free hand between you and your opponent when dribbling the ball. It’s a foul to push your opponents, but using your arm as a barrier is allowed and will help you to secure the ball. Keep it slightly up when you dribble with your opposite hand.

TIP! Always be aware of where you have your feet and what you are going to do with them next. Out of bounds will happen with even one toe over the baseline of the lined play area on the court.

Whether you enjoy the occasional casual game or compete in local tournaments, improving your skills on the court can help you get more out of the game. Now that you have read these tips, it is time to take the next step and make use of them. As long as you’re learning, you’ll be improving your game.