TIP! Practice your defense more than your offense. Victory requires the ability to play defense.

Basketball is a very loved sport, and people of all ages have passion for the game. However, just because people love the sport doesn’t mean they play well. No matter your skill level, this article will provide you with some helpful tips.

TIP! If you typically handle the ball a lot, it pays to learn the crossover. A crossover is when you move the ball from one hand to the other.

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. Practice frequently using these techniques. Hold the ball level with your face. Focus on the basket and picture the ball slipping into the net. Bend your knees to control the arc of the ball.

TIP! It is important to keep your balance when you shoot. Even though a professional can hit all sorts of crazy off-balance shots, it is not the ideal method of shooting that you want to learn.

Make sure to practice your layups whenever possible. In a typical game, up to four-fifths of all shots are layups. Run as fast as possible, while jumping and performing a smooth shot. Like everything, practicing at game speed will only improve your skill and have you ready to play at the fastest pace.

TIP! To improve your game, concentrate on your strong points. Your talents might not make you a star, but when you make the most of your strengths, you might better contribute to your team.

Connecting on your free throws is as much mental as it is physical. You can teach your body to make a free throw properly, but unless you are properly prepared mentally, you may not succeed. Relax and focus on the net, and you’ll be able to make more.

TIP! Work on catching passes frequently. Be sure to be able to catch off-target throws on top of good ones.

Work on pass catches. While you are practicing, you should be sure to drill yourself on catching errant throws, as well as catching those perfect passes. When the game is going on, every pass isn’t going to make it to its target. So you should do the team a favor by knowing how to take in any kind of a pass that comes from someone.

TIP! Don’t spend all your time practicing how to confront a zone defense. The majority of game play might take place in the zone, but that doesn’t mean that the opposing team will not try to catch you off guard.

Basketball players need to build strong core muscles. That means their hips, lower back and abs. The core links the upper and lower extremities and without a strong one, their athletic performance will be limited. The stronger your core, the higher you will jump.

TIP! When it is not basketball season, keep in practice by shooting baskets and practicing your skills. Basketball is sport played in teams, but there are times when no one is around to play with you.

Being able to anticipate your opponent is a key skill. Follow the scouting reports and watch tapes of their games. Keep track of which players are right hand dominant and which are left hand dominant. Knowing your opponent well helps you be much more effective. Knowledge can make you a strong defender.

TIP! When injuries occur on the court, it is unwise to keep on playing. Basketball is physically demanding, and injuries are relatively common.

Have a friend or family member tape your games so you can view how you appear on the court. Did you spot something that could be improved? Do not waste time criticizing yourself. Just make an honest assessment. Sometimes, it helps a lot to see yourself as you really are and not as just you imagine yourself to be.

TIP! Being able to anticipate your opponent is a key skill. You can read scouting reports and watch tapes to evaluate your opponents game.

Passing between your legs can be helpful when the other team is riding you hard. Go forwards and backwards with the ball to practice bouncing it. Mastering this skill will provide you with a major advantage on the court.

TIP! Watch your shoulders if you obtain a shooting slump. When the shoulders are wrongly positioned, your shot is unlikely to succeed.

You need to work on your forearms and your hands to handle the ball more efficiently. An exercise to help develop your basketball skills is to perform wrist curls. One thing that is important to remember is that it is difficult to be static and be a scorer. Strength and flexibility in your hands will allow you to move the ball more gracefully and swiftly.

TIP! If the opposing team is guarding you to much, you can try a pass between your legs. Take a step back or forward and bounce the ball hard through your legs.

Good footwork will help you get rebounds off your teammates’ foul shots. Try to anticipate the move of the defender between yourself and the basket so that you can maneuver around him and to the hoop. In this way you can get the rebound without a foul.

TIP! A consistent pre-shot routine when at the line will increase your chance at success. If you stay inconsistent, you miss a shot.

You need to take charge when the opportunity presents itself. The charge lets you build a defensive stop and get control of the ball. This can devastate a competitor psychologically as well as being a powerful play on the court.

TIP! Being a good defensive player means disrupting the game of your opponent. You should work to make your opponent feel uncomfortable.

A good way to stay defensive is to have a defensive stance. Use your opposite foot to push with or slide your feet around. Keep in mind that your feet shouldn’t cross and this should make you good at defense.

Strength Training

TIP! To better your outdoor shooting skills, take about a hundred shots every day from various places on the court. Taking quick shots during practice will help you during the game when the pressure is on.

If you play basketball, you should incorporate strength training into your workout routine. In addition to strength, stamina is key in basketball. Even kids can benefit by getting stronger through exercise. As they grow and become teenagers, weight-lifting can be beneficial. As an adult, a player must continue strength training for optimum performance.

TIP! It is important to eat well if you want to be in tip-top basketball shape. When you play on a regular basis, you have to load up on carbs to get energy, and you also need proteins and fat.

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). This is when they should trap him. Your forwards should sprint to cover the other players on the outside. The point guard should throw up a pass that your forwards can easily steal.

TIP! 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 they are right handed, step towards them with your left foot so they have to switch sides.

To make your three-point shot better, practice it from the minimum NBA approved distance. Remember that high school, college and international standard lines are all shorter than the NBA distance. By learning to shoot from NBA distances, you improve your range tremendously.

TIP! Stand between the person with the ball and the one you are supposed to be guarding. This prevents them from getting easy passes, and hopefully prevents them from catching the ball and shooting it over your head.

Don’t just practice while static; try to move around while shifting your weight to learn how to best control the ball. Dribbling during game play requires you to adopt a variety of dribbling skills. The court might be wide open, but you could just as easily be swarmed by many opponents. You must dribble while you make your body lean in various directions. In this way, you can escape all kinds of difficult situations.

Basketball is enjoyed by people from all different backgrounds. Knowledge is what makes or breaks a player. Use these tips to become an even better basketball player.