TIP! Dribble the ball the right way. When dribbling the basketball, use your fingertips rather than the palm of your hand.

One of the most popular games on earth is basketball. Many people enjoy watching the NBA on television, playing on their own teams, or just shooting some hoops at the park. Naturally, if you play, you want to excel at the game. The following tips will help you improve your skills so you can win.

TIP! You should often work on your layups. You should expect layups to represent about 80% of all the shots you take in a game.

Watch your form while you dribble the ball. When you dribble, use the fingertips, not the palm. Doing so will allow you a greater degree of ball control. Dribble along the side of the body, not immediately in front of it, and keep the bounce to the waist level or below. Never look at the ball; instead, look forward.

TIP! Free throws are as much mental as they are physical. Of course, you can show your body how to make free throws.

Free throws are an excellent skill to practice in your spare time. These shots look easy on television, but are actually hard when you are doing the shooting. The following technique should be practiced often. Start out by holding the basketball right in front of you. Use visualization to imagine the goal occurring. Once you’ve visualized this, take your shot as you just saw it in your head.

TIP! A great way to bolster your basketball ability is to observe those who are considered to be the best in the sport. Go to as many pro games as possible, watch them on TV, or watch videos of them playing.

Free throws are as much mental as they are physical. Training your body is important, but you also have to be mentally ready for the shot. Stay focused and vigilant to improve your ability to make free throws.

TIP! Would you like to learn how to fool your opponent? How about the behind the back pass? To properly perform this pass you will need to have the ball in your dominant hand. Keep control of the ball while it is behind your back.

A great way to bolster your basketball ability is to observe those who are considered to be the best in the sport. Go to as many pro games as possible, watch them on TV, or watch videos of them playing. Every player has skills that make them good, and you can work on the skills they use.

TIP! If you get injured while playing basketball, do not try to play through the pain. Basketball is physically demanding, and injuries are relatively common.

You want to be prepared for any type of defense the other team plays. You can count on quite a bit of the game being played in zone; however, you should not be surprised if it becomes one-on-one coverage just for the sake of confusion. This can cause your team to lose momentum to the other side if this isn’t something you’ve practiced.

Core Muscles

TIP! When your shooting isn’t accurate, check out your shoulder position. When your shoulders are positioned improperly, you will never make the basket regardless of how good your abilities are.

One of the keys to becoming a great basketball player is developing core muscles. These core muscles for basketball include your lower back, hips and abs. These muscles form a bridge across the lower and upper parts of your body. When the core is weak, it is difficult to coordinate the movements of both halves. A core that’s solid and strong will allow you to use force that comes from your legs so you can jump higher and run faster.

TIP! Practice passing while looking another way. Doing this is a great way to confuse your opponents.

Find out what your teammates like most about how you play? You may have a certain skill that you have perfected. Maybe you are quick like lightening or maybe you are a strong defender. Improve the skills where you tend to be a bit weaker while maintaining your stronger skills.

TIP! To dribble the ball better, it is important that you practice dribbling with the hand that’s weaker. You will be able to get past your opponent more easily if you can use either hand to dribble the ball.

You must know your opponent in order to be tough on defense. Make sure that you’ve watched tapes that show the other player. You can also check out scouting reports. Figure out which people are right or left handed. Knowing an opponent’s dribbling, passing and shooting styles gives you a definite edge on defense. A person that knows about defending makes a strong defender.

TIP! Be sly on your soles to catch rebounds from free-throws your own team members are making. You’ll have a defender coming at you and this means you have to figure out what can be done to get around them.

When exercise, concentrate on perfecting footwork and strengthening your core muscles. Your body will be able to move quicker and be more balanced when you have srong core muscles. Work out your hips, back and abdomen. You will improve your speed and footwork if you jump rope like boxers do.

TIP! Dribble harder if you want to avoid the ball being stolen. 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.

Practice passing while not looking in the direction of the pass. This will easily confuse your opponents. You give your teammate a better chance to make the shot because the opposing player is moving the wrong direction when you pass the ball. This play can be very powerful.

TIP! Ensure that you have good court awareness. This isn’t just for reading the score, but for catching passes and making shots.

Using a weaker hand helps improve overall dribbling skills. Using both hands to dribble makes you a more effective player, especially when you’re trying to get past your opponent. Practice with your weak hand by tying your dominant hand behind your back. Soon enough you will develop those weak hand dribbling skills.

TIP! Keep the activity below the knees if possible. The other team’s players will have a difficult time stealing the basketball from you.

Strengthen your hands and forearms for better ball handling. Consider wrist curls and and exercise machine that focuses on strengthening each finger individually. One thing that is important to remember is that it is difficult to be static and be a scorer. Good dribbling skills will help you always stay in movement.

TIP! Mix up different shots from all over the court when you practice shooting. The first thing to do is work on balance and grip.

Dribble with force to prevent the ball from being stolen. When you dribble hard, the ball bounces back to your hand faster. That means there is less time for the other side to grab it. If you have somebody guarding you very closely, pass the ball to an open teammate.

TIP! What you eat can affect how you play. When you play regularly, you need plenty of carbs for more energy, along with protein and fats.

Once you are in your defensive stance, remember to hold your ground. Shuffle your feet in a side to side motion, then use your opposite foot to push off and give you good leverage. If you never allow your feet to cross one another you will invariably be a very hard player to get passed.

TIP! A zone defense can be beat by using a penetrating dribble. Passing a defensive player and moving into the lane is sure to prompt a defensive shift or even a collapse.

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). Then, they ought to trap the point guard. Then, have the forwards on blocks run to the wing players. Their point guard will probably hurl a pass that is easy for your own forwards to steal.

TIP! Practice dribbling the ball on both sides and in front of you. The ball will move fast, so a defender won’t have as much opportunity to snag it.

As you can see, there are many things you can do to improve your skills. You can improve your game by learning new techniques and practicing them often. Practice is really the secret to becoming a master of anything, so be sure you have a hoop, ball and free time available regularly. Whether you practice with a team, with friends or with younger people, it’s all about loving the game and making your skills better.