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In life, you might not always get what you wish for, and the same case applies to basketball. If you want to become an elite basketball player, then you need to work tirelessly to enhance your skills, strength, conditioning, agility, basketball IQ, agility and power. And it takes time, dedication and the right approach to become a great basketball player. In short, there is no shortcut to success. Here are some tips that will help you to become a better basketball player.
Shooting is one of the most important skills in basketball. If you are a great shooter, then you will score many points for your team and win more games. Apart from that, great shooting skills will also earn you more game time. Also, exceptional shooting skills can kick-start your basketball career. However, learning how to shoot effectively is a progressive process, which requires a combination of proper ball release and the right mindset. Fortunately, any basketball player can improve their shooting skills. And you don’t have an excuse for not doing so. When shooting, always focus on the target instead of paying too much attention to the flight of the ball. Focusing on the target will help you to build muscle memory, making it easy to pot more balls in the future.
Apart from focusing on the target, make sure that you get your footwork right. Your feet form the foundation of your shot. Solid footwork will provide you with alignment, stability, as well as rhythm to take a shot. When your feet are properly positioned, the rest of the body will also be aligned, making it easier to land an accurate shot. If you have the financial capacity, then you should hire a personal coach to help you with your shooting. With regular practice, you will grab the basics and mechanics of shooting, leading to higher accuracy. And if you are one of the best shooters in your time, then you will become almost indispensable.
Most players tend to overlook defense when learning the basics of basketball. They tend to focus over 90% of their training on dribbling, shooting, and passing. However, a solid defense is key to every basketball match. Apart from preventing your opponents from scoring, solid defense will also create opportunities for your team’s offense, thus increasing chances of scoring. As someone who wants to improve their basketball skills, it’s important to focus on all areas, including defense. To improve your defensive game, you should focus on 3 main principles.
First, you should try as much as possible to push the opponent away from your basket. Pushing the opponent sidelines and corners of the court might force them to make a mistake, thus denying them easy points. You will also reduce pressure on your time. And if the offensive player makes a mistake, you can turn the ball over to one of your teammates. To achieve this, make sure you as aggressive on the ball as possible while making sure you avoid errors that might grant the opponent a free throw.
Second, train yourself to move on the pass always. Pay attention to where the pass is headed and then start following the ball immediately the handler releases it. If you can manage to cut out the passes, then the opposing team will struggle to get the ball to their best players. Third, collect the rebounds and recycle possession. If you allow the opponents too many attempts to sink the basket, then they will eventually score. Once a shot goes up, move into position immediately and collect the rebound. When you collect the rebound, you will deny the opponents a chance to score, while setting up your team for an offensive possession.
Dribbling and Handling
Every basketball player, regardless of position or height, should develop great ball-handling skills. Great ball-handling skills will help you to create space for your teammates or go past defenders. As much as proper ball handling will not happen overnight, there are some techniques that you can use to improve your skills fast. First, get used to dribbling the ball with your finger pads. Dribbling the ball with the finger pads instead of the palm will give you better ball control. Also, make sure that you dribble the ball with enough force. Dribbling the ball with force will reduce the amount of time it’s out of your hands, thus giving you more control. You also need to focus on your footwork, since you will be changing directions and speeds regularly.
Enhance Your Fitness Levels
Basketball players are constantly in motion. They are always sprinting, jumping, changing direction, and shuffling. Therefore, if you want to take your game to the next level, then you need to be physically fit, well balanced, extremely athletic and strong. Apart from learning how to shoot and dribble, you also need to spend some time in the gym doing some strength and conditioning workouts. Strength and conditioning training offers numerous benefits such as:
- Fewer Injuries: Basketball is a physically demanding sport, which means that chances of getting an injury are high. And whenever you are injured, you will be forced to spend some weeks or even months without playing basketball, so that your body can heal and recover completely. While you might not avoid injuries completely, proper strength and conditioning training will strengthen your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints, thus minimizing the risk of injuries. Fewer injuries mean more time spent on the court, practicing and improving your b-ball game.
- Enhanced Performance: If you want to become an elite basketball player, then you must be explosive, fast and powerful. Your coordination should also be top-notch. A strength and conditioning program during the off-season will improve your speed as well as how far you can jump.
- Maintain Intensity: While strength training helps you to build stronger muscles, conditioning, on the other hand, enhances your ability to perform at high intensities for long durations. For instance, if your body is well conditioned, you can make a fast break forward during an attack, and then recover fast to defend.
While you might be an exceptional shooter or dribbler, you will struggle to keep up and perform at peak levels consistently, if you are not mentally and physically fit. Therefore, make sure your basketball training routine includes a program for strength and conditioning.
Train with the Right Ball
If you want to improve your basketball game, then you should be training with the right equipment. And the ball you will be using can affect your dribbling, passing, and shooting. Basketballs are available in 3 distinct sizes. The ball you will use will depend on age and gender. Most men’s leagues across the globe use a size 7 basketball, with a circumference of 29.5 inches. Youth and women’s leagues use an intermediate size 6 ball, which is slightly smaller than the men’s ball. The size 6 ball has a circumference of 28.5 inches. Children below the age of 9 use a size 5 ball, which comes with a circumference of 27.5 inches.
If you are an adult who is still trying to master the basics of basketball, then you can opt for the intermediate size 6 ball. Your ball selection will also depend on your playing surface. Basketballs are made of leather, synthetic leather, and rubber. Leather balls are best suited for indoor conditions, synthetic basketballs can be used indoors and outdoors while rubber balls should only be used on outdoor surfaces. Rubber basketballs are usually designed for recreational play and beginners. And if you are trying to learn a specific skill, then you can use training balls. Training balls are equipped with special features such as markers for hand placement, which are designed to help you develop and enhance your shooting technique and accuracy. Some training balls are even fitted with smart technologies, which can sync with your smartphone and monitor your progress.
Invest in a Hoop
Just like other sports, you need to train regularly and consistently, if you want to improve your b-ball game. However, it might not always be possible to visit your team’s basketball court to train, due to various reasons. And that’s why you need to invest in a hoop. With your own hoop, you can practice as much as you want, without worrying about time or weather conditions. There are 3 main types of hoops – in-ground, portable and mounted.
An in-ground hoop is more of a permanent structure. It’s fastened on the floor using concrete. In-ground hoops are available in adjustable height settings so that they can accommodate players of different skill levels and sizes. On the other hand, portable hoops can be moved from one place to the other. They come with bases of different capacities and sizes, usually in the range of 27 to 42 gallons. Portable hoops are also adjustable. Portable hoops and in-ground hoops require adequate playing space. If you are facing space limitations, then you should opt for a mounted hoop, attach it on a structure like a wall, and continue working on your basketball skills.
If you want to take your basketball game to the next level, then you must be ready to practice consistently and develop your skills. It doesn’t matter how many times you will fail along the way. The most important thing is to rise up and keep pressing on. Eventually, you will reach the peak of your game and become one of the most sought-after basketball players.