TIP! It’s easy to focus on offense when learning to play, but your practice time would be better spent on defense. Defense is what wins basketball games.

Basketball is a widely popular sport with many fans. If a basketball team wants to have happy fans, the team members must play well. Since everyone on the team contributes, it’s important to improve your skills. Use these tips to make yourself a more valuable asset to your team.

TIP! Always dribble with your head up and looking forward. You need more practice if you feel that you cannot dribble without focusing on the ball.

Your mind plays as big a part in making a free throw as your actual body does. You can teach your body to make a free throw properly, but unless you are properly prepared mentally, you may not succeed. Be relaxed and concentrate on the basket and you will help you make more free throws.

TIP! Proper balance is essential when shooting. You’ve seen the pros fall out-of-bounds and shoot a basket up to 300 feet away, however, this isn’t proper technique.

Work on catching passes frequently. When you practice, drill yourself to pay attention to errant throws and passes that are picture perfect. When playing in the game, it’s rare that every pass will hit a bulls-eye. So do your teammates a favor by learning how to consistently haul in their less than perfect passes.

TIP! To learn how to pass well, drill without dribbling. It is a challenge not to dribble while playing, but it will ensure the accuracy of your team’s passes.

Build hand signals so passes are more successful. Often in basketball, a player makes a pass at the exact same time the receiving player heads to another part of the court. You can get around that when you use hand signals, if a player can receive a pass. If the person doesn’t make a signal the person shouldn’t get passed to.

TIP! If you’re going to be a jump shooter, don’t lift too many weights. Muscle strength can be great for basketball players, but it is actually possible to have excessive amounts for playing on the perimeter.

Talk to your teammates and find out what they like about your game. Are you skilled at something? They may say you’re fast or that you share well. Find out what others perceive as your natural gifts and build upon those more completely.

TIP! Play basketball games with yourself during the season and before it. Basketball is a multiple player sport, but other people won’t always be around.

When exercising, concentrate on building up core strength and improving your footwork. Your body will be more stable and easier to move when you have strength in your core muscles. Work the muscles in your abdomen, back, buttocks and hips. Just like boxers, you can improve your footwork and speed by jumping rope.

TIP! If you become injured when playing basketball, stop immediately. Basketball is physically demanding, and it is easy to get hurt.

Video tape your games, and then review your technique later. Looking at tapes can help you identify strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself, but avoid being too critical. Sometimes, it helps a lot to see yourself as you really are and not as just you imagine yourself to be.

Free Throws

TIP! Stay conscious of your foot motion and placement. You want to make sure you don’t step over the bounds by even a teeny bit.

For more consistency in making those free throws, stick with the same sequence of motions before you take each shot. This might mean that you dribble the ball twice, bend your knees, touch your forehead, or any other movement. This routine will help you make your free throws, but make the routine a quick one.

TIP! To become a reliable free throw shooter, always go through the same routine before each shot. This can be any combination of movements that makes you feel comfortable and prepare for the shot.

If your opponent is pressing hard, you can give yourself some room to work by dribbling the ball between your legs. Try practicing this by bouncing your ball hard in between your legs while stepping forward or backward. Mastering this move can help give you an advantage on the court.

TIP! To increase the efficiency of your layups, begin your takeoff on the foot opposite from the hand you’re shooting with. If you normally shoot using your right hand, jump with your left.

Launch your layup jumps from the foot that is opposite the hand you shoot with. So, your left foot should be the one you take off from if you use your right hand to shoot. Also, this will improve your balance as you approach the basket.

TIP! A consistent pre-shot routine when at the line will increase your chance at success. Inconsistency will ruin your shots.

To dribble the ball better, it is important that you practice dribbling with the hand that’s weaker. It will be much easier to blow past your opponent if you can dribble with both hands. Exercise your non-dominant hand by securing your dominant hand at your side or behind your back. Very soon, you will develop dribbling skills with the hand you considered weak.

TIP! If you wish to dribble the ball better, you have to start using your hand that’s considered the weak one. If you’re using both hands to dribble the ball well then you can get by an opponent easily.

Good footwork can really help you to get those rebounds. Use your feet to slip around the opposing player below you, then get into position for a rebound off the rim. Doing this lets you get a rebound freely and not commit a foul in the process.

TIP! A good way to stay defensive is to have a defensive stance. Slide your feet from side to side or push off with your opposing foot so that you are always in position.

Dribbling hard helps you protect the ball. A hard dribble returns the ball back to you faster, leaving less chance of it being snatched by the other team. Stop dribbling when people guard you too closely.

TIP! Building strength improves your basketball game. In order to play well, you will need to work on both your strength and stamina.

Drills should be done where you attempt to get your basketball up the court within five dribbles or even less than that. It isn’t impossible, it just takes practice. This drill can help you to have success with lay-ups during a fast break.

TIP! Use the hand that doesn’t have the ball as a block. Don’t push your opponent because that is a foul; however, you can use your arm as separator between your opponent and the ball.

You can use a variety of methods to become a better basketball player. Better players make better teams. Every single participant plays a role, from those on the court to those sitting in the stands. Players have to work hard to better their game. Use these tips to improve your skills and become a valuable teammate.