People all over the world love basketball. Anyone at any age will love this game. When you’re playing, you have to cooperate with others and you have to be a good sport no matter what happens. Read on to learn some great tips about the popular game of basketball.

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. Defense can make or break a basketball game. While offensive players sometimes seem like the stars of the show, it is the efforts of defensive players that allow them to shine.

TIP! It is tempting to concentrate just on offense when just staring out, but defensive practice is absolutely vital. Defense can make or break a basketball game.

Always keep your head up when dribbling instead of focusing on the ball. Lack of practice will manifest itself in looking down towards the ball when dribbling. You can practice dribbling almost anywhere. Dribble the ball while you’re walking around. If you look at the ball, you’re unable to see what’s going on down the court before you.

Ask your teammates what they like about how you play. They will probably notice the things you do best. They may say that you are a great team defender or are always playing with excellent speed. You can learn a lot about your skills by knowing how others see you on the court.

Understanding the opponent is key in beating a tough defense. Watch games if you can and look at their tendencies. For example, you should know which of the players are left-handed and which are right-handed. When you know some of the other player’s moves, you’ll have a leg up during a game as you’ll be able to predict what he is going to do. A defender that has knowledge will be a strong one.

TIP! Practice your free throw shot. There are usually a lot of distractions when you are shooting free throws so you need to concentrate.

Focus on your footwork and your core strength in your workouts. You will stay balanced if your core is strong. You should get a good workout in your hips, buttocks, back and abs. Practicing with a jump rope is a great way to increase your foot speed.

In order to be successful with layups, the foot that is opposite from shooting hand is the one you should take off from. Use your left foot when shooting with the right hand. This helps to maintain balance throughout your body and allows you to use yourself as a barrier between the defender and yourself.

If you don’t want someone to steal the ball, dribble hard. The ball returns more quickly to your hand when you do this, giving the opponents fewer opportunities to steal it from you. If someone is guarding you closely, stop dribbling and pass to someone else who is open on your team.

TIP! You should ask your teammates about your strengths and weaknesses. Can you get better at something? They may say you’re fast or that you share well.

Take charges whenever you have the opportunity. By taking a charge, your team will get the ball. This can hurt the other team’s players psychologically and can also be powerful when you’re creating plays.

Work on dribbling the ball while switching the momentum of the body from side to side. During the game, you will dribble in various situations. There may be times when you are covered by multiple opponents; however, there may be times when you have the whole court in front of you. You must know how to dribble the ball no matter what your body is doing. This can help you out of jams.

Use your non-dribbling hand as a barrier between your opponent and the ball. Don’t push your opponent because that is a foul; however, you may use your free arm to create a barrier that keeps your opponent away from the ball. Just keep it up slightly while dribbling with the other hand.

TIP! To properly handle the ball, you have to spread your fingers out. This will help you to be sure that it won’t escape your grasp when trying to hold it.

Use workouts to better your game. Running, both sprints and long distance, can help your game. Lifting weights can build the muscle you need for shots and the hustle of the game. The confidence this gives you will help you with your shooting.

Why is basketball very popular? For one thing, it’s lots of fun. For another, it’s easy to play. When you love basketball, you should learn as much as you can about it. Follow this advice to enhance your skills and your enjoyment of the game.