TIP! It is important to focus on both offense and defense when learning to play basketball. Basketball games are often won by the defense.

A great thing about basketball is the simplicity of being able to pick up the basics. It doesn’t take long to learn the basics. There’s much more to learn to become better at basketball, and using the advice below will help.

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

If you wish to do better with basketball, you have to focus on what you’re good at. You can contribute to the team by consolidating your best skills, even if these skills do not make you one of the star players. Know what you are good at, then practice it until you’re absolutely perfect at it!

TIP! Would you like to pull one over on your opponents? The back pass is perfect for this. Use the dominant hand whenever trying a behind the back pass.

It is important that you practice layups. Almost 80% of shots will be layups. It’s critical to practice running towards the basket at full speed and following up with a good jump and smooth shot. Running and jumping well in practice means better jump shooting in actual games.

TIP! Before, during and after the season, play out games by yourself. These skills all help with muscle memory so you know just what to do when you’re playing in a game.

Free throws require as much mental focus as physical skill. With everyone watching, it can be easy to allow the pressure to interfere with your game. Relax, take your time and be focused.

Core Muscles

TIP! Ask your teammates what they like about how you play. What areas are your strong points? It could be your speed, or it could be your back-up abilities.

If you have a high school level basketball player for a kid, be sure their core muscles are properly trained. This will involve their lower back, hips, and abs. The core muscles link lower and upper extremities. Without a strong core, they won’t have strong athletic performances. The stronger your core, the higher you will jump.

TIP! Keeping your fingers spread wide is important for holding onto the ball. That makes it less likely that you lose control of the ball.

Make better passes through the use of coordinated hand signals. You can become easily frustrated when a teammate does a poor job of anticipating your next passing move. A simple hand gesture can let your teammate know you’re ready for the pass. No signal, no pass.

TIP! Understanding the opponent is key in beating a tough defense. Watch tapes and stay up on scouting reports.

Don’t let the ball go behind your back. You must always be prepared to receive a pass and you need to know where players are on the court. Always scout the court for areas that will open up and allow you to make a clear shot.

TIP! Quickness is a blessing in basketball. Gaining agility and speed will give you the upper hand when playing a game of basketball.

To generate consistency with layups, leap from the opposite foot from the hand you use to shoot. Thus, if you tend to shoot with the right hand, make sure to jump off with the left. This keeps your body balanced and moving toward the basket and keeps your body between yourself and your defender.

TIP! Passing the ball through your legs is a useful maneuver if the opposing team is right on top of you. Practice this by bouncing the ball hard between your legs as you take a step forward or back.

Stay on top of your footwork when attempting a rebound. As you see the defender moving in, quickly slip around to grab the ball. You’ll be able to grab the rebound without fouling your opponent.

TIP! Develop and use a consistent routine for shooting free throws. If you’re consistent, your shots will be too.

Dribble very hard to prevent the opposing team players from stealing the ball. The harder you dribble, the faster the ball will return to the cup of you hand. When someone is right on top of you, pass the ball instead of dribbling.

TIP! To help improve your ball handling skills, start incorporating your weak hand into your dribbling. Utilizing both hands to dribble the basketball and switching effortlessly is key to advantage over an opponent.

Be sure that your site is good. This will help you to secure the ball during the game. Working to improve you peripheral vision will help you become a more successful player. Being aware of the entire court will help you to better anticipate who will move where.

TIP! Changing pace can help you keep the offense guessing. As you run towards the net, plant your front foot and begin to straighten up.

Alternating your pace is critical to keeping the defense guessing. When running towards the net, step on your front foot, and start to straighten up your body. Your opponent will see you as stopping, then will also stop themselves. When they do this, push yourself forward and take the chance to run by them.

TIP! Practice dribbling while switching the momentum of your body from side to side. Expect to encounter many different situations in a game.

Building strength improves your basketball game. Those who do very well at this sport have a combination of stamina and strength. Even the youngest kids that play will benefit from the game. As the teenage years approach, weights can be used for even greater impact. Playing as an adult, it is important that you focus on your stamina for optimal performance.

TIP! Avoid double dribbling. Double dribbling occurs after a pause in dribbling.

As the point guard approaches within 10 feet of the middle of the court, your guards should take action and create a 2-3 trap. Then they need to get to the guard on point to trap him. While this is happening, your forwards must sprint toward players in the wings. This will cause the point guard to throw a pass that will allow your forwards to steal.

TIP! Grabbing and keeping a rebound depends on how well you’re positioned before and after the ball comes off the rim. Use both feet when jumping; this improves both height and control.

Always bend the knees while dribbling. Standing straight will make you see that it’s harder to handle and easier for the opposing players to take. Some minor bending of the knees makes a big difference in your ability to control the ball.

TIP! If you’re guarding a taller person, try to keep your body between that opponent and the person with the ball. In this way, you will prevent the larger player from being able to receive a pass.

Diet is essential when it comes to playing ball. If you’re playing regularly, you need energy-loaded carbs as well as some fat and protein. Peanut butter and nuts are great choices. Sugars and salt should be used sparingly.

TIP! It’s difficult to be an effective player if you are unable to pivot. It is important to practice how you move your feet, so you can pivot by instinct, without stopping to think about where to put your feet.

You should be have ways to alter the path your opponent is planning on taking. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing defense of offense. Controlling where someone else is going can be very important. This lets you figure out where you’re needing to go while not letting them set your path for you.

TIP! Practice your dribble by bouncing as hard as you can. A hard bounce means the ball’s speed is fast and it helps keep the ball away from the defender.

When the person you are tasked with guarding is bigger than you, remain in front of them. This prevents them from getting the pass, which helps them not have the chance to shoot over you.

TIP! For players with advanced skills, the act of dribbling is a mental and physical ability. You will be able to control how hard it’s hitting, where it’s going to land near your feet, and how it’s spinning.

Watch where the ball goes whenever someone releases it. Rebounds are very important in the game. It makes no difference if you defend well when the other team misses a shot if you are unable to retrieve the ball.

TIP! Communication is important in a game of basketball. You develop this skill on the practice court.

Maybe you’ve only recently learned basketball. Or, maybe you have been playing ball since you were little. No matter what, the tips you’ve just read can help you increase your skills. Make use of this advice the next time you step onto the court.