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.

Have you imagined yourself as Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. Don’t just aspire to be great; learn the things that will make you great. This article will tell you how to master the game of basketball.

TIP! Dribble the ball correctly. Don’t use your palm, use your fingers.

Know how to dribble the ball in the correct way. Avoid using your palm while dribbling. Instead, use your fingertips. Dribbling this way improves your ball control dramatically. Bounce only at the level of your waist at the side and not in front. Look up and never down at the ground.

TIP! If you wish to do better with basketball, you have to focus on what you’re good at. If you can rely on your strengths, you will become a better player.

When dribbling, focus on what’s in front of you by keeping your head up. If you’ve got your eye on the ball while you’re dribbling, you haven’t mastered it yet. You can practice dribbling almost anywhere. Walking to your mailbox? Dribble the ball. Staring at the ball doesn’t allow you to watch the other players.

TIP! Always work on your layups. Eighty percent of the shots taken in a game are layups.

If you handle the ball often, you need to learn how to do a crossover. When you do a crossover, you move the basketball very fast from one hand over to the other hand. If order for the maneuver to be a success, it has to be performed with speed. When done correctly, a good crossover dribble assists you in being efficient and helping you change direction when you need to.

TIP! Shake things up rather than focusing solely on a zone defense. While much of the game is played in zone, the opponent can flip to man-to-man coverage, changing everything and surprising you.

You should learn the best way to throw a great bounce pass. Bounce passes should not go above or below the receiving players waist. One good rule is for you to bounce the basketball most of the way toward the other player. It does depend on a variety of other factors, however.

TIP! If you are good at shooting the ball then the last thing you want to do is lift weights. Muscle is good, but you can have too much.

Hitting free throws is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. Training your body is important, but you also have to be mentally ready for the shot. Take a deep breathe, relax and block out all outside distractions before taking the shot.

TIP! Seek advice from your teammates about how you play the game. They will probably notice the things you do best.

Quick and solid footwork is what it takes to make the shot when your posting up. Being physical under the rim is crucial, but having good positioning on the court is even better. Having found a good spot, you must secure it. Each of these skills is reliant on good footwork.

TIP! Keeping your fingers spread wide is important for holding onto the ball. This will help prevent the ball from getting away from you while dribbling.

Don’t let the ball go behind your back. You will enjoy greater court awareness and avoid feeling surprised by rapid changes in game play. Also, you need to stay aware of areas which might open up and give you an easy basket.

TIP! Videotape your games to see what you do right and wrong. Are you able to see what you’ve missed or things that you could improve on? When looking at the tape, don’t be too critical, but be honest.

To maximize your layups, take off with the foot that opposes your shooting hand. When shooting right-handed, take off using the left foot. Your body will develop good coordination and you keep your defender at a distance.

TIP! To improve your dribbling skills, practice dribbling with your weaker hand. Utilizing both hands to dribble the basketball and switching effortlessly is key to advantage over an opponent.

To rebound off your fellow player’s free throws, use sly feet. The more quickly you get under the basket, the better you chance of grabbing the rebound. You won’t foul as you catch the rebound this way.

TIP! To get the rebound from the free throw your teammate is making, you need to do some fancy footwork. Slip around the defender moving your way and get the ball.

Try to get the basketball from one side of the court to the other in about five dribbles. This may seem like an impossible challenge, but it will increase your stride length and your speed. It will allow you to execute easy layups.

TIP! Strength training can be a major help in basketball. It is impossible to succeed if you lack endurance and strength.

Improve your basketball skills by incorporating strength training into your fitness regimen. In addition, stamina is important to the game, too. Even youngsters can strengthen their arms and legs to improve game play. As they grow and gain skills, they will be even better players. Then they will be ready to really learn the skills that really make an excellent player.

TIP! Your defenders need to wait for the point guard to make it 10′ ahead of the time line. Once he passes mid court the guards should rush up on him.

After having read this article, you now have a few things that you can go practice. Go into each practice ready to work, and know that with consistency you will improve your game. Don’t hesitate to put your skills to the test, and don’t be afraid to change your strategy up every now and then.