For decades, people have adored basketball. That said, few understand the game enough to play well. The tips in this article will help you improve your game whether you are a complete beginner or have been playing for years.

When learning the game of basketball, it’s easy to get caught up in offensive play. But you should also give plenty of attention to defense. Basketball games are won because of good defense. Even though everyone loves to watch offense, defense is what wins you most games.

TIP! Be sure to dribble correctly every time. You’ll want to use your fingertips to dribble instead of using your palm.

Make sure to practice your layups whenever possible. 80% of all shots in a game are usually layups. Don’t just walk through a layup drill. It is key to go at game tempo to practice the timing needed to maintain accuracy. This method will teach you to improve your jumps and shots throughout the game.

Practice playing a man-to-man defense and zone defense. The majority of game play might take place in the zone, but that doesn’t mean that the opposing team will not try to catch you off guard. You may lose control of the game if you aren’t prepared.

Play basketball against yourself even during the off-season. You may not always be able to find someone to play with you. That’s fine. There is much that can be accomplished when playing on your own. Practice free throws and layups. Additionally, you can practice vertical jumping and dribbling.

TIP! Make sure to practice your layups whenever possible. This is the most popular shot in basketball.

Quick and solid footwork is what it takes to make the shot when your posting up. You always want to beat your opponent to the open spot. Having found a good spot, you must secure it. Footwork is the key to either of these.

Whenever you work out, practice footwork and work on your core strength. This allows your body to be in balance and be more explosive on the court. Focus on your hip, abdomen, and back muscles. As with boxing, you can increase footwork speed and dexterity by jumping rope.

If your opponent is pressing hard, you can give yourself some room to work by dribbling the ball between your legs. This will make it very hard for your defender to get it. Mastering this technique can give you a significant advantage.

TIP! Free throws are mental as well as physical. With everyone watching, it can be easy to allow the pressure to interfere with your game.

You must be able to box out other players when attempting to rebound free throws. The defender may be coming toward you, so its important to slip away from him and get the ball. This technique will help you rebound the ball without getting a foul called on you.

A great way to stay in a correct defensive stance is to always stay in position no matter what. Slide your feet to the sides or push off using the opposite foot to always be in position. Avoid getting your feet cross as this makes it much more difficult for the opponent to get by you.

When on defense, try to keep yourself low whenever you can. This helps you jump fast and react quickly. Keep yourself in proper defensive stance at all times. When rebounding or blocking, you break the stance, but then you must get back in the stance quickly.

TIP! One of the keys to becoming a great basketball player is developing core muscles. The core muscles include the lower back, hips and abdonimals.

You can make the 2-3 zone a lot more dangerous by having two defenders stay in this zone until a point guard is beyond the time line. Once your opponent is trapped, he will have no option but to make a pass. Concurrently, have forwards go to the wings. A pass should be thrown by the point guard for forwards to steal.

Control the ball at a level that is below your knees. This makes it more difficult for your opponents to steal the ball. It will take flexibility, balance and bending but just keep moving toward the goal.

Be sure you do the sort of off-court exercises that help you during games. Sprints helps with individual plays, and long-distance running gives you stamina. You can build muscle to support your shots and ability to hustle by lifting weights and engaging in resistance training. This will also help you build confidence, a key aspect of performing well in any sport.

TIP! If you’re on the offense, you footwork needs to be excellent to stay open for passes and shots. Although physical presence under the basket is important, getting to a good spot before your opponent does is even more important.

If you are aware that the player with the ball has a weak hand, force the use of that hand. If your opponent favors their right side, step to them using your left foot. When successful, they will have to switch the side they are using. Keep your head parallel to their chest, and you will stay low and primed to snatch the ball.

Basketball has been around for a very long time and has been a favorite of all sorts of people. Learning the game will not only help you enjoy watching the sport, it will also help you play better. Keep the ideas from this article in your mind, and your appreciation of basketball will rise.