No matter if you plan to hit the court or lead the cheers from the stands, some basic basketball knowledge is key. Do you know how to tell the score? Don’t be sad! Basketball can be pretty easy to learn the basics. These tips will give you a good start in becoming a skilled player.

Practice your defense more than your offense. Basketball games are often won by the defense. While offense seems to get the praise, defense must be stellar in order to win.

TIP! 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 is what wins basketball games.

Practice your free throw shot. These shots may seem easy, but they can be quite difficult. This technique should be practiced often if possible. 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. Shoot on the same path you saw in your mind’s eye.

Successful free throwing requires as much mental skill as it does physical skill. You can practice for hours on how to make the shot, but if you over think things or get distracted you will miss every time. Relax yourself and focus on the hoop.

Practice your pass catching often. When you practice, drill yourself to pay attention to errant throws and passes that are picture perfect. This will help to improve your game when it gets intense. Help your teammates by learning what you need to haul in those imperfect passes.

Zone Defense

Don’t just practice playing against a zone defense. Learn how to play a man-to-man defense and a zone defense to get the best understanding of how the game works. If you haven’t trained yourself to counter this, you could lose any control you have over the game.

If you want to take jump shots, don’t build your arms up too large. Muscle strength is great for any position in basketball, you can have too much when it comes to perimeter play. Some guards increase their upper body to the point of harming their field goals.

TIP! Always dribble with your head up and looking forward. If you must look at the ball while dribbling, you haven’t practiced enough.

Never play through an injury on the court. The sport of basketball is very physical, which makes one susceptible to injury. Trying to play through the pain could just cause more damage. See a physician if you think your injury is serious.

One way to get a good understanding of your game is to ask your fellow players about your ability. Find out what they perceive as your best skill. You could potentially be excellent in one area while you are busy focusing on another, unaware. Develop your strengths even further and look for ways to improve your weaknesses.

If the opposing team is guarding you to much, you can try a pass between your legs. This will make it very hard for your defender to get it. When you’ve mastered this step, you will be at a great advantage.

TIP! Free throws require as much mental focus as physical skill. You may know how to make a free throw but if your focus is off, then you will miss.

To be a good dribbler, and a more versatile player, you have to develop not only your dominant hand but your weaker side as well. Opponents are a lot easier to blow by when you can dribble with ease using both hands. Force yourself to not use your stronger hand. You will quickly strengthen your non-dominant hand for dribbling.

You need to work on your forearms and your hands to handle the ball more efficiently. Wrist curls are especially effective at making you better able to handle a basketball like you could dribble sleepwalking. Basketball requires its players to move quickly, shoot accurately and pass well. You need to be able to move the basketball to make things happen.

Altering your own pace is a good way to disrupt the opposition. When you’re moving towards the net, act like you’re going to straighten up. Your defender will likely think you are taking a shot or passing, and straighten up as well. When they do this, run ahead and push yourself forward.

TIP! If you have a kid that wants to play basketball in high school, be sure they’re working on their core muscles. These core muscles for basketball include your lower back, hips and abs.

You have to practice hard every day if you desire to step up your outside shooting game. Try dribbling a little and pull up for your shot. Try to keep from looking at the rim until you are getting ready to release the ball. All these techniques give you the feel of actual game play, and this will help you become more accurate.

Was that as difficult as you thought it would be? Since reading this information, you know how exciting basketball can be. Use what you’ve just learned to enhance your game or to be a better fan.