Even the basketball greats don’t know all there is to know about this wonderful game. It is especially tough when you consider that the game of basketball is constantly evolving. Do you want an advantage over other players? Read on to find out how to get the edge on the competition.

It’s easy to focus on offense when learning to play, but your practice time would be better spent on defense. Basketball games are won more often by defense than offense. Offense gets all the praise and attention, but without a good defense, any basketball team is destined to lose.

TIP! Work on being able to receive a pass. You want to practice catching perfect passes and bad passes.

When dribbling, make sure that you look forward and keep your head up. Looking at your ball when you dribble indicates that you haven’t practiced enough. Make the basketball an extension of your body, taking it wherever you are. Walking to your mailbox? Dribble the ball. If you’re trying to look at the ball then you’re not concentrating on what’s going on down the court.

Crossovers are very important if you’re a ball handler. Crossover dribble is switching hands while you’re dribbling. That action has to be done fast to be successful. When done properly, crossover dribbling is a great way to quickly switch direction or move around the court in an efficient manner.

Successful free throwing requires as much mental skill as it does physical skill. You are able to train your hands and legs to free throw well, but if you think you will fail, you will. Take a deep breathe, relax and block out all outside distractions before taking the shot.

TIP! Passing quickly without dribbling is a great way to practice. It is hard to play a game when you don’t dribble, but it will help you to be sure that everyone is passing accurately.

You should practice pass catching regularly. Be sure to be able to catch off-target throws on top of good ones. When the game is being played, passes may not be as perfect as we’d like. Therefore, learn how to catch any type of pass so that you can help lead your team to victory.

A good tip about passing is try doing it without dribbling the ball. This is very hard to accomplish, but it forces you and your fellow players to work on accurate passing skills. Don’t get upset if it seems hard, this will improve your team’s passes over time.

Play solo basketball in the months leading up to the season, as well as during the season itself. Even though you play on a team, practicing alone can be helpful. This is just fine. You can still get a lot accomplished with solo games. Practice pivoting or doing free throws. You can always work on something.

TIP! Play games against yourself in and out of season. While it’s a team sport, you may not be able to find others that will play.

Don’t play while injured or else your injury will worsen. It’s a challenging sport that’s very physical, and you have the ability to get injured. Trying to play through the pain could just cause more damage. Be sure to talk to a doctor if you feel that the injury isn’t going away.

You should ask your teammates about your strengths and weaknesses. Can they tell you what you’re really good at? It may be that you are quick on your feet or that you are always there to back them up. Determine what others like about your game and fine tune those skills.

Make it your goal to never turn away from the ball on the court. This will make you more aware of the court and you won’t be surprised when turnover potentials come up or quick passes. Always watch for areas opening up where you can go for a quick basket.

TIP! Basketball players of all ages benefit from exercises that strengthen their core. The core muscles include the lower back, hips and abdonimals.

Spreading out your fingers is key to handling the ball correctly. The ball will not get away if you always keep your fingers spread when handling the ball. However, remember to keep your palm away from the ball. Only use your fingers to dribble, pass or shoot.

Now you have the knowledge about how to improve those court skills. These tips were written to better your game. Never give up on the learning process and stay committed to regular practice. Keep these tips in mind to become a better player.