TIP! While focusing on offense is fun, you must also make sure you focus on defense. Many times, defense actually wins the game.

Not even the best basketball player knows absolutely everything about the game. The sport is evolving, which means that even after you’ve become an expert, there’s more to learn. Want an edge on the competition? Continue reading to gain the edge that you need to succeed.

TIP! Learn the best way to make your free throws. There are usually a lot of distractions when you are shooting free throws so you need to concentrate.

Many people only direct their attention to the offensive part of the game without realizing that defense is the key to winning. Basketball games are often won by great defensive play. Even though everyone loves to watch offense, defense is what wins you most games.

TIP! It is important that you practice layups. 80% of all shots in a game are usually layups.

Figure out how to perfect your free throw. It seems easy to do but surely isn’t. Try using this technique in practicing. Hold the ball level to your face. Have your eyes on your goal and picture your ball going into it. Then throw the ball just as you had visualized.

TIP! Teach yourself to throw bounce passes correctly. Bounce passes need to be at waist level when received.

Dribble while your head is up and your eyes are forward. By focusing your sight on the ball, you cannot be fully aware of your surroundings. One of the best ways to improve your dribbling is to bring your ball along anytime you need to walk somewhere. Dribble on your way to school. Always look ahead when you are dribbling the ball.

TIP! Successful free throws require you to be mentally and physically strong. Your body can be trained to make free throws, but your mind has to be focused on success if you want to make the basket.

Learn what a crossover is and how to do it. A crossover is when you move the ball from one hand to the other. It should be done quickly. When you do it right, the crossover dribble helps you alter directions and go down the court faster.

TIP! Don’t spend all your time practicing how to confront a zone defense. Learn how to play a man-to-man defense and a zone defense to get the best understanding of how the game works.

If you want to excel, you have to play to your strengths. If you can rely on your strengths, you will become a better player. Realize your limitations, and roll with your talents.

TIP! If you want to take jump shots, don’t spend time pumping iron. It’s important to be strong, but not too strong.

A good way to get your basketball game up to speed is to start trying to see how the pros are playing. Go to actual games or watch on TV. By doing this, you will quickly find that players all have their unique subset of skills, allowing you the best chance to see what areas are the best fit for your personal game.

TIP! Never have your back to the ball so that you’re ready for anything in a basketball game. You must always be prepared to receive a pass and you need to know where players are on the court.

Don’t limit your practice to just playing against the zone defense. The majority of the game is in that area, but be careful about a team who changes things up. If your practice hasn’t included this type of scenario, you might lose control rapidly.

TIP! Play a good defense by knowing your opponent. Watch tapes and stay up on scouting reports.

Never turn away from the ball so that you can always be prepared for what’s coming. That will keep you aware, so you don’t get surprised by turnovers or quick passes. Be vigilant to detect openings or weaknesses that make it easier to take the shot.

TIP! Focus on your footwork and core strength when working out. With a stronger core, you’ll be able to balance better.

Concentrate on your shoulders if you have gotten into a shooting slump. No matter your skill level, you won’t make shots if your shoulders aren’t in the proper position. To help improve your shot, focus on squaring up on each of your shots. Also, allow your dominant shoulder to line up with the rim.

TIP! When playing a game of basketball, have a friend tape the game. This way, you can take a look at your game.

Always know where your feet are and what they are doing. You will be called out of bounds if even one toe is touching the baseline as you hold the ball. If you take several steps while holding the ball, you could be called for traveling. A foul will result if you try to take a charge or set a pick and your feet are moving.

TIP! Practice looking in the opposite direction when you make a pass. This is a simple thing that could easily confuse your opponents.

If the opposition is hot on your tail, 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.

Free Throw

TIP! You want to strive in practice to bring the ball all the way up the court in no more than five dribbles. You will need to learn how to push the basketball in front of you while making long strides.

Build a routine to improve your free throw game. Inconsistency does not make a better shot. The most effective method to achieve a great free throw is by practicing it repeatedly until you get it right. If you break your routine, you’ll start missing shots.

TIP! Can you see well? You will need it for more than checking the scoreboard or passing and shooting. You want to make sure that you see what is going on to the sides of you.

If you want to stay in a good defensive position, simply avoid breaking out of your defensive stance. You can shuffle your feet to either side, or push with your opposing foot, so you will be ready and in position. Don’t ever allow your feet to cross to become a hard player to pass.

TIP! One way to increase your three-point skill is to practice at the NBA range. All other three point lines are closer than what the NBA uses.

In order to confuse the offense, try changing your pace. When you’re going towards the net you should plant the foot in front and start straightening up. This will cause the guard to believe you are slowing, and it will also cause them to straighten up. Use this opportunity to sprint past your opponent.

TIP! You should keep the ball below the knees if you’re able to. This makes it difficult for the ball to be stolen.

To increase the strength of your weaker hand, utilize it for doing everything, including brushing your teeth and opening jars. Being more dexterous means you will have better control. This will have a positive impact on your basketball game, too.

TIP! Build a sense of teamwork both off and on the court. Basketball is one of those games that goes to another level when a team gels completely.

When you dribble, bend your knees. The ball is harder to control dribbling when you stand up straight. It also leaves you open to a steal from the opposing team. Bending your knees slightly will enable you to control the ball more efficiently.

TIP! To succeed in basketball you should learn how to change the path of your opponent. Whether you are playing offense or defense, it is important to control the moves of your opponent.

If you want to perform your best in basketball, you need to eat well. Carbs, fats and proteins all keep your energy levels at the right place. Great ideas to bring into your diet are wheat breads, peanut butter, chicken and nuts. Sugars and salt should be used sparingly.

TIP! Position yourself between the ball carrier and your opponent if they are bigger than you. That closes the lane for a pass as you won’t be able to block their shots.

These tips should give you some food for thought at your next game or practice. They have been designed to help you improve as a player. Keep learning and practicing every day. Bring your game up a notch or two and keep this advice close at hand.