TIP! It’s easy to focus on offense when learning to play, but your practice time would be better spent on defense. Basketball games are often won by the defense.

Basketball has been a sport that’s been around for many years, and has provided a lot of enjoyment for those who have played it and play it today. If you’re looking to turn into a skilled basketball player, practice and be serious. Keep reading to find out what you need to know.

TIP! Make sure you learn how to shoot free throws. These shots may seem easy, but they can be quite difficult.

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 won with a good defense. While everyone focuses on shots made, a good defense can kill the chances of even an amazing shot taker.

Free Throw

TIP! Learn to crossover if you get the ball often. In a crossover, you transfer the basketball from hand to hand.

Learn the mechanics of a free throw. This is one of those shots that seem easy but in real life are difficult. When practicing your free throw, concentrate on where you want the ball to go when it leaves your hands. To start off, hold the ball in front of you. Your eyes should be on the goal. You should be thinking about the ball going in the hoop. Shoot the ball how you imagine it going in.

TIP! Work on catching passes frequently. When you’re practicing, you should drill in being able to catch random throws in addition to passes that are perfect.

Make sure to practice your layups whenever possible. You should expect layups to represent about 80% of all the shots you take in a game. It’s critical to practice running towards the basket at full speed and following up with a good jump and smooth shot. This technique helps improve your on-court layup skills.

TIP! Don’t spend all your time practicing how to confront a zone defense. While a great portion of a game will be concentrated in the zone, your rivals could opt to go to man-to-man covering to keep you guessing.

Passing the ball is an important part of playing basketball so practice making and receiving passes. When you practice, drill yourself to pay attention to errant throws and passes that are picture perfect. This will help you catch those bad passes during a game. You can do the rest of your team a favor by practicing how you can best complete imperfect passes.

TIP! If you want to take jump shots, don’t spend time pumping iron. Even though having strong muscles is great for the inside game, being on the outside it can harm you when shooting the ball.

If you’re a jump shooter, don’t lift weights too often. While muscle mass is good for any basketball position, perimeter play requires less than other positions. Some professional shooting guards made their arms so big that it started decreasing their field goal percentage.

TIP! Spreading out your fingers is key to handling the ball correctly. This can help you to remain in control of the ball at all times.

Play basketball against yourself even during the off-season. Even though basketball is usually played with teams, it is sometimes the case that there just isn’t anyone around to play with. That is okay. You are able to do a lot with solo games. Work on your free throws or your pivot moves. This will help improve the hard parts of your game.

TIP! It is important to be aware of the location of your feet and just what they are up to. Stepping ever so slightly out of bounds while you have the ball can cause an overturn.

In order to get a good shot, you must use good footwork. You always want to beat your opponent to the open spot. Once you’re in position, you also need to secure your spot. Footwork is the key to either of these.

TIP! A consistent routine will help you to achieve great free throws. If you aren’t consistent, you won’t make the basket.

Remember to spread your fingers when handling the ball. This gives you better control of the ball. Do not allow the palm of your hand to make contact with the ball. When shooting or passing the ball, only your fingers should contact the ball.

TIP! To help improve your ball handling skills, start incorporating your weak hand into your dribbling. Opponents are a lot easier to blow by when you can dribble with ease using both hands.

High percentage free throw shooters typically have the same free throw routine prior to each and every shot. This can include the number of times you dribble, how you position your feet, or anything else. Just make your routine quick, so that it can be consistent, and your body is going to remember just how to nail free throws following your ritual.

TIP! Being a good defensive player involves disrupting your opponent’s concentration. Force them into an uncomfortable zone.

The game is much more enjoyable if you are able to understand and master some of the fundamental tips mentioned above. Continue reading articles like this one to learn more and build your skills. Take in as much as you can in order for you to improve your game.