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. Basketball games are often won by great defensive play.

Basketball has been watched and played for many years. Becoming a good basketball player requires lots of dedication and plenty of practice. Don’t stop reading just yet because the following article is going to provide you with a few important pieces of basketball advice.

TIP! Free throws are an excellent skill to practice in your spare time. This is something that seems simple, but in reality it can be hard.

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 how you win a basketball game. Offense gets more attention, but the team is going to lose without a strong defense.

TIP! Make sure you are looking forward and looking up as you’re dribbling. If you must look at the ball while dribbling, you haven’t practiced enough.

Look forward and hold your head up while you dribble the ball. If you must look at the ball while dribbling, you haven’t practiced enough. Take the basketball around off-court wherever you are. You can practice dribbling when you have to walk to the store. Always look ahead when you are dribbling the ball.

TIP! You should practice your crossovers a lot. This technique passes the ball back and forth from the right hand to the left hand.

Free throws are as mental as physical. It’s easy to physically train for a free throw, yet mental preparation is also needed. Relax and concentrate on your basket to increase your free throws.

TIP! Practice layups often. Since layups account for the majority of scoring in a game.

Make sure that your regular practice includes catching of passes. Make sure you get used to catching less than perfect passes smoothly. During a real game, many of the passes that come your way will be off-target and tougher to handle. By learning to catch errant passes, you will do your team a great favor.

TIP! A good way to get your basketball game up to speed is to start trying to see how the pros are playing. Go to a bunch of professional games in person, watch them on television, or just get online to search for basketball videos.

Try using hand signals to prevent passes in error. One things that’s frustrating in basketball is passing to a teammate while they try heading to the basket. Using signals helps communicate passes with your team. If you don’t receive a signal then realize your teammate is not able to get the pass.

TIP! If you post up, you need to use good footwork to get open and make sure you get a good shot. You must be certain to get the good spot ahead of your opponent.

If you’re injured when playing basketball, don’t push through the pain. You can easily tear a muscle or even break a finger while playing. By “playing through the pain” you take a huge risk that the injury will become much worse. In case of serious injury, it is time to see a doctor.

TIP! Ask fellow team members what they like about your skills on the court. What do you need to focus in on and practice more? Continue to develop the skills that play into your natural abilities.

Understand your opponent. Review videotapes and monitor scouting reports. For example, you might look to see which players favor their left side and which have dominant right hands. Once you understand the opposition, you will now how to mount your defense. A defender that is knowledgeable is an effective defender.

TIP! Keeping your fingers spread wide is important for holding onto the ball. This will help you keep a better grip on the ball.

If you’re shooting isn’t what you’d like it to be, make sure that your shoulders are in the correct position. When your shoulders are not properly positioned, then it is almost impossible to perform at your best. Be sure shoulders always remain squared towards your hoop. If your right hand is your dominant hand, your right shoulder must be aligned with the rim. For left-handedness, the opposite is true.

TIP! If you are being heavily guarded, a pass between your legs might help. To practice, simply bounce the basketball between your legs while stepping either forward or backwards.

Always be aware of where you have your feet and what you are going to do with them next. If you fall on a baseline, you will be out of bounds. If you take too many steps and don’t dribble, then you are walking. Also, moving either foot when trying to set a screen, pick or take a charge results in a foul call.

TIP! Launch your layup jumps from the foot that is opposite the hand you shoot with. Practice shooting using your right hand, then jump off your left foot.

If the opposing team is guarding you to much, you can try a pass between your legs. Practice this maneuver by bouncing the basketball between your legs while taking steps. Mastering this move can give you an advantage on the court.

TIP! To help improve your ball handling skills, start incorporating your weak hand into your dribbling. If you have two hands that can dribble the ball effortlessly then it becomes easier to get by your opponent.

Prevent the opposing team from stealing the ball by dribbling hard. This causes the ball to return to your hand more quickly, so the offense has less time to try to get it away from you. When closely guarding another player, cease dribbling and pass it to another play on your team that’s open.

TIP! Be sure your vision is unobstructed. This isn’t just so you can read the scoreboard and be able to make shots and catch passes.

Your game will be easier and more fun once you are equipped with the right information. Keep learning all you can for as long as you need to. The next time you are on the court, think back to what you’ve just read.