The exciting pace of basketball is a key reason it is so loved. However, to excel in your game, there are things that you should know. This article has some tips you can use to get better at the game.

It’s natural to be drawn towards offense as a novice, but the pros know defense is where the game is won or lost. Defense can make or break a basketball game. Even though everyone loves to watch offense, defense is what wins you most games.

TIP! Look forward and hold your head up while you dribble the ball. If you’ve got your eye on the ball while you’re dribbling, you haven’t mastered it yet.

Make sure that you practice your layups frequently. Up to eighty percent of the baskets attempted in a game are layups. When practicing this technique, run toward the goal and shoot. Drill the jumping technique regularly so you can do layups very smoothly and always stay in control of where the ball is going.

Lifting weights too much can actually take away from your jump shot. Muscle is good, but you can have too much. Some shooting guards worked on their arms so much that they started lowering their percentage of field goals.

When it is not basketball season, keep in practice by shooting baskets and practicing your skills. There are times you may not find anyone to play with you. That is not a problem. In solo games, you can accomplish quite a bit. You can work on pivots and free throws. Many things can be practiced.

TIP! Interested in tricking your opponents? Back passes are a great way to confuse other players. Use the dominant hand to hold onto the basketball when trying this pass.

Seek advice from your teammates about how you play the game. Can they tell you what you’re really good at? Perhaps you have good dribbling skills or maybe your footwork is enviable. Find out what others think your natural abilities are, and be certain to keep developing those skills.

Understanding your opponent is a good way to shut him down on defense. Make sure that you’ve watched tapes that show the other player. You can also check out scouting reports. See if you can determine each players strong and weak sides. The more you understand what you are up against, the more likely you are to develop an effective strategy during games. A knowledgeable defender is a strong defender.

In order to be more reliable shooting free throws, practice your routine. For example, you might tug your ear, dribble three times, or flex your wrists. By developing a quick ritual, you can help train your body to make free throws.

TIP! Good footwork is important when you’re posting up in the paint. You always want to beat your opponent to the open spot.

Bend your knees when dribbling the basketball. When you are rigid, the ball is not only hard to control, it is also an easier target for a rival to steal. Just bending a little bit at your knees can really help you to control the ball better.

You have to learn to get your opponent to alter their path. No matter what position you play, the ability to control other players is essential. Doing so makes it easier for you to navigate the court without interference from the other player.

Double dribbling is a major rule, and something that must always be avoided. A double dribble is when you stop dribbling, then start again. When you stop, you have to shoot or pass. It is against the rules to recommence dribbling. That’s called a turnover, which will result in you having to hand over the ball to your opponent.

TIP! Make sure your fingers are apart from one another when dribbling. This can help you to remain in control of the ball at all times.

Whether you keep possession of the ball or not is based in your position just before and right after a rebound. For better power and balance, jump using both feet and take the basketball with both of your hands. After rebounding the ball, land with your feet wider than your shoulders for better balance and keep the ball close to your chest.

When guarding a player who exceeds you in size, attempt to stay in between that player and the one with the ball. That closes the lane for a pass as you won’t be able to block their shots.

Once you have possession of the basketball, know when to pass and when to take a shot. Instead of hogging the ball and losing the game when you fail to make the shot, be a team player and pass it off to the player who has the better chance to make the winning shot.

TIP! If you’re quick on the basketball court, you have a built in advantage. Try to outplay your opponents by being fast to win the game.

Follow the path of the ball once it has left the hands of your teammate or the opposing player. One of the biggest key plays in the game is the rebound. No matter how hard you work to perfect your defensive technique, if you can’t retrieve the ball then you can’t score.

In order to be as good as you can be, you should be able to pivot while playing basketball. Practicing pivoting will be able to help prevent you from tangling your feet or getting disoriented. Determine the correct stance for pivoting, then use that position as you work to improve your reaction time.

Be aware of your shortcomings as a player. Make an honest assessment. If you commonly miss free throws, work on these more than you do on three point shots. If you play weakly inside the paint, work on your short shots, and train to play more physically. Practice those weaker parts to your game in order to become a better overall player.

TIP! Passing between your legs can be helpful when the other team is riding you hard. Go forwards and backwards with the ball to practice bouncing it.

As you have learned from this article, basketball is a fun sport that people play all over the world. This article has given you some of the knowledge you need to truly excel. Apply these tips to your next game to become an even better player.