When you’re trying to start to improve at basketball, then you’re going to have to start practicing. You shouldn’t be practicing things you do wrong, though. Check out the pointers below to make sure you are on track to make your game all it can be.

It is tempting to concentrate just on offense when just staring out, but defensive practice is absolutely vital. Basketball games are won because of good defense. Offensive skills are usually the most impressive ones but defense is something every team should work on.

TIP! The way to properly dribble is to keep your head up while looking ahead of you. If you’ve got your eye on the ball while you’re dribbling, you haven’t mastered it yet.

Practice shooting free throws. This kind of shot seems easy, but it really is not. Practice constantly using this tip. Hold the ball level with your head. Keep looking towards the goal and think about the ball getting into that goal. You should then shoot and try following the trajectory you visualized.

Free Throws

There is a lot of pressure when shooting free throws. Making the right physical motions is easier than having the right mind set. You are more likely to make more successful free throws if you relax and focus on the basket.

TIP! If you want to improve your basketball game, you must identify and intensify your strengths. Your talent might not make you a star; however, learning your strengths will help you become a better team player.

Never play through an injury when playing basketball. Basketball is very physical and there’s always a risk of injury. Trying to play through the pain could just cause more damage. If you have a very serious injury, talk to a doctor.

To properly handle the ball, you have to spread your fingers out. You will have better luck holding onto the ball as well. Avoid putting your palm on the ball, too. You should only use your fingers to touch the ball when passing or shooting.

If you’re looking to be the best defensive player that you can be, you’ll want to know your opponent. Review tapes and keep up with scouting reports. Know which players are left and right handed. When you know your opponent, you will be better able to play an effective defensive game. When you are prepared, you play better defense.

TIP! It is important to know the right way to throw a bounce pass. A good bounce pass should hit the player on the receiving end at waist level.

Pay attention closely to the shoulders if you’re starting to slump when you shoot. When you’re in a shooting slump it usually means that your shoulders are not square to the hoop. Your shoulders should always be square towards the basket. If your right hand is your dominant hand, your right shoulder must be aligned with the rim. For left-handedness, the opposite is true.

To improve ball handling, consider focusing workouts on your forearms and hands. One important exercise is wrist curls, which help you with your dribbling. One thing that is important to remember is that it is difficult to be static and be a scorer. Motion is key to being successful on the court.

Dribble harder if you want to avoid the ball being stolen. A good hard dribble brings the ball back to you much faster, leaving less time for the opponent to steal it from you. If you are being closely guarded, then halt your dribbling and quickly pass the ball to a teammate who is open.

TIP! Quickness is a blessing in basketball. Make an effort to do all things on the court more speedily than the opposing team.

A great way to stay in a correct defensive stance is to always stay in position no matter what. You need to learn how to slide your feet instead of crossing one foot in front of the other. Remember not to let yourself get crossed up with your feet, which will throw off your balance, making it easier to get around you.

Take any opportunity to strengthen your weaker hand and build your skill by using it to brush your teeth or open jars. If you can train yourself to be ambidextrous, you will gain complete control of that hand. This will make you a force to be reckoned with on the court.

Keep dribbling until you’re ready to either pass or shoot. When you stop dribbling, then you limit your options. If you don’t shoot or pass, you will have just stand there pivoting. Putting yourself in this position makes you more vulnerable to having the ball stolen by the opposing team.

TIP! You want to always be aware of foot placement and what you’re doing. Out of bounds will happen with even one toe over the baseline of the lined play area on the court.

You should spend some time shooting from various places on the court. Start out by practicing grip and balance. Even though it is less accurate, it is possible to score with off-balanced shooting. There is valve located on the basketball which you can use as guide for your grip. Spread the fingers on your writing hand, and cover the valve with your palm.

Make a strong team both off and on the basketball court. Basketball is one of those games that goes to another level when a team gels completely. If you know your team members intimately and everyone trusts each other, your game will be seriously enhanced.

Follow the path of the ball once it has left the hands of your teammate or the opposing player. Rebounds are essential to the game. Gaining possession on a turnover is always going to be a positive for your team.

TIP! Good footwork will help you get rebounds off your teammates’ foul shots. Guards will be attempting to stop you, so get around them.

Being a good passer is key to being a good basketball player. Passing causes confusion among your opponents. It also demonstrates your understanding of teamwork, which fellow teammates will appreciate. There will be time in the game for you to show your individual abilities. Have patience until your time comes and assist teammates.

When you practice dribbling, bounce the basketball as hard as you are able to. The reason is that by bouncing it hard, you get the ball moving faster, and your opponents have less of a chance to grab it from you. Therefore, dribble the ball as firmly as you can all the time.

Whether you play basketball all the time or just once and awhile, the above tips will be of help. Take it one step at a time to help you improve your game. Once you have practiced enough, each and every shot will make a positive impact for the team. This is what separates the professionals from the rookies.