TIP! Learn the mechanics of a free throw. These shots may seem easy, but they can be quite difficult.

Basketball holds universal appeal. The sport is easy to love, but mastering it is not quite so simple. Basketball can be enjoyed by everyone. Continue to read and learn more about basketball.

TIP! Always dribble with your head up and looking forward. You haven’t practiced enough if you keep looking at the basketball while you’re dribbling.

It’s natural to focus on offensive abilities when practicing the sport of basketball, but your practice time needs to focus on defense. Basketball games are won more often by defense than offense. Even though everyone loves to watch offense, defense is what wins you most games.

TIP! If you want to improve your basketball game, you must identify and intensify your strengths. Your strengths might not make you a star player, but you’ll be contributing a lot to your team.

Learn proper dribbling. Don’t use your palm, use your fingers. This will give you better control of the basketball. Keeping the ball to your side will help it from getting in the way. You should always look upwards instead of at the ground.

Free Throw

TIP! Do not only practice zone defense plays. The majority of the game is in that area, but be careful about a team who changes things up.

Free throw practice is vitally important. The free throw shot might seem simple, but it can actually be pretty difficult. Put this technique into practice as often as you can. Start by holding your ball before your face. Use visualization to imagine the goal occurring. Then throw the ball just as you had visualized.

TIP! Try playing basketball games alone before and during the season. You may not always be able to find someone to play with you.

When dribbling, your head must be up, and you need to look forward. You need more practice if you feel that you cannot dribble without focusing on the ball. Bring your ball along when you go out. Dribble the ball while you’re walking around. Always look ahead when you are dribbling the ball.

TIP! If you want to correctly handle the ball, you need to know where to place your fingers. That makes it less likely that you lose control of the ball.

You should often work on your layups. Eighty percent of the shots taken in a game are layups. When you practice, run full speed ahead at the basket, jump, and shoot. This will assist you in perfecting your ability to jump and then shoot.

TIP! A good basketball player is really quick on his feet. Gaining agility and speed will give you the upper hand when playing a game of basketball.

Free throws require both mental and physical abilities. You can train your body to complete the motions of making a free throw, but if you are mentally prepared to fail, you will. Take a deep breathe, relax and block out all outside distractions before taking the shot.

TIP! Ask someone to take a video of you playing and watch it. Can you see where you can improve your form? Are there things you might have done differently? Be honest when assessing, but avoid being overly critical.

Observing what the professionals do can be a great way to improve your game. Try to go to games, watch televised games, or check out videos of the pros playing. This is a great way to learn new techniques to try out on the court.

TIP! If the opposing team is breathing down your neck, it’s a good idea to pass the ball between your legs. To practice this skill, bounce the ball between your legs so that it passes through as you step back and forth.

Practice catching passes as often as you can. Try to catch all of the passes that are thrown to you. When playing in the game, it’s rare that every pass will hit a bulls-eye. You can do the rest of your team a favor by practicing how you can best complete imperfect passes.

TIP! Develop and use a consistent routine for shooting free throws. If you aren’t able to be consistent then you’ll be off when you shoot.

Do not practice solely against zone defense. While a good chunk of the game will most likely be played in zone, your opponent might flip the switch to man-to-man coverage just to change things up and surprise you. If you have not practiced against this, you may lose your grip of the game for the remainder of it.

Core Muscles

TIP! If you want to do well in basketball, you need to build your strength. Stamina and strength are two things you need to do well in this sport.

If you have a kid wanting to play basketball in high school, be certain that they are properly training their core muscles. This will involve their lower back, hips, and abs. Stronger core muscles will help them be more resistant and allow them to develop many different athletic abilities. A strong and solid core allows force that is generated via the legs to be used for helpful movements during the game like higher jumps and faster running.

TIP! Try practicing your dribbling while switching the momentum of your body from side to side. In the middle of a game, lots of dribbling situations will arise.

Always have an awareness of the location and movement of your feet. Stepping even over a baseline when you’re in possession of the ball will have you called out of bounds. The ball will be turned over on a walking call if too many steps are taken with no dribble action. In addition, moving one foot while working on setting a screen or pick will produce a foul.

Free Throws

TIP! Learn about your opponents so you can force them to play your game, not theirs. Step toward their strong side with your foot to force them to react by switching sides.

To get better at shooting free throws, make sure to keep a consistent pre-shot routine. Whatever you do, from bending your knees to dribbling three times, do every time. As long as you make it quick, if you have a consistent routine, your body will remember how to make those free throws after you go through your ritual.

TIP! If you are in possession of the ball, learn when you should shoot and when you should pass. It is far better to contribute to the winning shot than be the only person involved in the shot that lost the game.

Is it your time to shine out there on the court? You probably should practice before you do. Get motivated, get energized and get excited; then, show your stuff on the basketball court. The skills you work on will improve in no time.