TIP! Practice your layup shot often. Layups account for up to 80 percent of the shots taken during a game.

You don’t need a gymnasium or a competition stadium to play basketball. You can play at the park or right in your driveway. If you love basketball, read the following tips to help you become a better ball player.

TIP! Get educated on the way to properly pass the ball on a bounce. It is best when the ball hits the receiving player near the waist.

Make it a point to concentrate on both your defensive and offensive skills. Focusing only on offense does not make you a well-rounded player. Defense is what keep the other team from scoring. While offensive players sometimes seem like the stars of the show, it is the efforts of defensive players that allow them to shine.

TIP! Free throws require as much mental focus as physical skill. You are able to train your hands and legs to free throw well, but if you think you will fail, you will.

Always work on your layups. Layup shots make up nearly 80% of a game’s shots. Run as fast as possible, while jumping and performing a smooth shot. Practicing your running and jumping as a single motion will improve your technique faster than practicing them separately.

TIP! Frequently practice passing and catching the passes of others. You need to be able to retrieve perfect passes and not so perfect passes.

Successful free throws require you to be mentally and physically strong. You may know how to make a free throw but if your focus is off, then you will miss. Relax as you focus on making the shot, and soon you’ll be making more free throws.

TIP! Basketball players of all ages benefit from exercises that strengthen their core. This is the hip area, the lower back, and the abs.

A great way you can prepare for what happens on the basketball court is to avoid having your back to the ball. This can help you to avoid surprises by fast passes, help you keep an eye on the rest of the court, and allow you to spot potential turnovers. When your eyes are constantly assessing the game, you will be better able to make easy shots.

TIP! During your workouts, concentrate on improving your footwork as well as your core strength. By developing strong core muscles, you will be able to recover quickly and keep your balance.

If you find yourself unable to shoot well, consider your shoulders. If your shoulders aren’t correct, you may not be able to make the shots. To help improve your shot, focus on squaring up on each of your shots. The shoulder that’s dominant needs to be lined up with the rim perfectly.

TIP! Quickness is a blessing in basketball. Try playing faster than the opponents for a better advantage.

The key to great defense is being a nuisance to the player you are guarding. Force opposing players into an unfamiliar or unexpected position. Make assertive moves, keeping your opponent unsure of your next move. Which plays are made shouldn’t be up to them. If you let them, they’ll totally take the control from you. Try to interrupt their game plan by taking charge and controlling the tempo.

TIP! The best free throws come as a result of routine. You could dribble twice, touch your forehead, bend your knees, or some other kinds of movements.

To turn a normal 2-3 zone into a trapping machine, have your top two defenders (your guards) wait until the point guard has come about ten feet past the time line (midcourt). At that point, both guards should move in for the trap. As your guards are doing this, send your forwards out to the outside opponents. The point guard will then probably throw an easily interceptable pass.

TIP! Work on passing in a direction you are not looking. This will make your actions very confusing to the other team.

To increase the strength of your weaker hand, utilize it for doing everything, including brushing your teeth and opening jars. If you can train yourself to be ambidextrous, you will gain complete control of that hand. That can make your game better.

TIP! Build a routine to improve your free throw game. Inconsistent shooting will lead to inconsistent results.

When dribbling, bend your knees. If you don’t bend your knees, you are more susceptible to having the ball stolen by the other team. You only need to bend your knees slightly to improve your control of the basketball.

TIP! When you are defending, keep your stance low. This allows you to jump faster and increases your reaction time should the person you’re covering do something.

Always set your three-point shooting practice goal at the official NBA distance. The international line is much closer. If you make your shots from where the NBA players shoot, you will improve your skills and increase your range.

TIP! You should always bend your knees while dribbling. You will have a hard time controlling the ball if you always stand straight and opponents will be able to steal the ball.

To make your shooting skills better, shoot from all around the court. 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. You can improve your accuracy to help you when the game is live.

TIP! Do not stop dribbling unless you’re going to shoot or pass. The moment you cease dribbling, you have given yourself very few options.

Make sure the ball doesn’t bounce above your knees when you dribble. This makes it difficult for the ball to be stolen. Practice moving quickly while dribbling below knee level.

TIP! Stay low and dribble the ball below the level of your knees. This is going to make things harder for your opponents if they want to steal the ball.

It is important to take your diet seriously if you want to be the best player you can be. Playing basketball uses a lot of energy, so it is important that you eat a lot of carbs, lean meats and protein. You want to make sure that your body has enough energy to keep going; think about eating chicken, nuts and whole grain bread. Salt and sugars should only been eaten rarely.

TIP! Keep the lines of communication with other players open. Basketball is nothing if not a team sport.

If a shot is taken from the corner and missed, the ball typically ends up across the court from the player. Figure out where it will land to grab the rebound.

TIP! Serious basketball players take their diets seriously too. Playing basketball uses a lot of energy, so it is important that you eat a lot of carbs, lean meats and protein.

As you come down from catching a rebound, land with your legs spread wider than the span of your shoulders to increase your balance. Hold the ball with two hands tightly against your chest. Keep your elbows under control so you don’t cause a foul by hitting someone.

TIP! As you come down from catching a rebound, land with your legs spread wider than the span of your shoulders to increase your balance. Place your hands on both sides of the basketball while holding it close against your chest.

If you’ve studied the opposing team and found one player isn’t as good with one hand as with the other, try to make that player use his off 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 be ready to take away the ball.

TIP! If you find yourself guarding against a large opponent, just stay in between the ball and them. This will limit their ability to pass the ball.

You need to control your nerves when shooting the ball. You have to focus directly on the basket. Focus your stare on the back part of the rim as you are shooting. But if you want to do a layup, just pay attention to where you need to bounce the ball on the back board.

TIP! Try to always know the location of the ball once it leaves someone’s hands. Rebounding will help you win the game.

In order to beat a zone defense you must be able to get ball penetration into the lane. Breaking through your opponents defenses and getting into the paint will cause your opponent to change what they’re doing. Attempt the shot once you are within proximity. If you see a teammate that’s open, pass the ball out to them to make the easy shot.

TIP! When dribbling, you need to work on bouncing the ball quite hard. The ball will move fast, so a defender won’t have as much opportunity to snag it.

No matter what kind of basketball game you are playing, be it one-on-one, H.O.R.S.E. or something else, learning about how to become better will make you better. Now that you’ve read this, you can start using it. The more you learn, the more you can enjoy playing and watching basketball.