TIP! While focusing on offense is fun, you must also make sure you focus on defense. Many times, defense actually wins the game.

The number of people that have enjoyed watching and playing basketball can’t be overstated. Regardless of your understanding of basketball, there is always room to gain more knowledge of the sport. Keep reading for some awesome advice that most any basketball player or fan can use.

TIP! Try learning how to hit free throw shots. This looks easy, but it is actually very hard to do.

It is important to focus on both offense and defense when learning to play basketball. Defense can make or break a basketball game. While everyone focuses on shots made, a good defense can kill the chances of even an amazing shot taker.

TIP! When dribbling, focus on what’s in front of you by keeping your head up. Looking directly at the ball means you aren’t good at the game yet.

When dribbling, your head must be up, and you need to look forward. If you’ve got your eye on the ball while you’re dribbling, you haven’t mastered it yet. Always have a basketball handy. Walking to your mailbox? Dribble the ball. If you’re trying to look at the ball then you’re not concentrating on what’s going on down the court.

TIP! Learn how to block out movement, noise and other distractions when taking a free throw. Without a strong mindset, your body simply goes through the motions to take the shot.

Improving your balance means improving your shots. Even though a professional can hit all sorts of crazy off-balance shots, it is not the ideal method of shooting that you want to learn. These players are using creative improvisation. If you have correct balance when you are making a shot, you will make more consistent baskets over time.

TIP! Work on catching passes frequently. Practice catching errant throws along with perfect passes.

Perfect your bounce pass. Bounce passes need to be at waist level when received. If it helps to measure it out, consider aiming for a mark on the floor about three-fourths of the way between you and your teammate. Of course, there are also other factors involved.

TIP! You should practice against a variety of defense types, not just zone. A lot of the game is sure to be played in the zone, but your opponent could change to man-to-man coverage.

Practice the skill of pass catching. Don’t just work on waist-level, perfect passes, though, work on receiving tougher passes as well. During a real game, many of the passes that come your way will be off-target and tougher to handle. By learning to catch errant passes, you will do your team a great favor.

TIP! Make better passes through the use of coordinated hand signals. Often in basketball, a player makes a pass at the exact same time the receiving player heads to another part of the court.

Would you like to fool the opposing team? Try doing a back pass! Use the dominant hand to hold onto the basketball when trying this pass. Then, bring the ball back behind you. Quickly flick with your wrist in the direction you want to pass the ball. It can be a dangerous maneuver that catches the other team off guard.

TIP! Don’t play when you are injured! This sport is physically demanding and you can become injured. Playing through an injury can prolong it which is always bad.

Play games against yourself in and out of season. Even though basketball is usually played with teams, it is sometimes the case that there just isn’t anyone around to play with. It’s okay! You can still practice when playing alone. Work on your free throws or your pivot moves. You can always find things to work on.

TIP! If you aren’t shooting the ball well, you need to concentrate on your shoulders. Regardless of your skill level, if you don’t have your shoulders positioned correctly, you will miss.

One of the best ways to play a strong defensive game is to know your opponent. Make sure that you’ve watched tapes that show the other player. You can also check out scouting reports. One simple thing to know before the game is if your opponent shoots with their right or left hand. The more you understand what you are up against, the more likely you are to develop an effective strategy during games. Smart defenders are good defenders.

TIP! Get someone to analyze how you play on tape. This way, you have the opportunity to go through your play at a later time and see your mistakes.

When you’re working out, concentrate on core strength building and your footwork. Your body will naturally balance well if you have strong core muscles. Your muscles in your buttocks, hips, abdomen, and back should be worked. Jump rope can be used to speed up your feet.

TIP! When you want consistently good free throws, repeat your routine. This could mean dribbling twice, shaking out your head to loosen your neck or whatever else makes you comfortable.

You need to be quick to play good basketball. Try to outplay your opponents by being fast to win the game. Steady drilling is the key to playing fast. Do not play beyond you capabilities, however. When you play too fast, you can lose control and that means turnovers.

TIP! Being a successful defensive player means upsetting and disrupting your opponent’s play. Focus on getting them out of the comfort zone.

Be slick with your feet so you can get a rebound from a teammate. Guards will be attempting to stop you, so get around them. By doing this, you can increase your chance to get the rebound despite starting in a disadvantageous position.

TIP! Improve your ball-handling by strengthening your hands and your forearms. Wrist curls are great for working wrist muscles and improving your dribbling.

A good basketball drill to perform is to see if you can get the ball down the entire court in 5 or less dribbles. You will need to learn how to push the basketball in front of you while making long strides. That translates to smooth layups during fast breaks.

TIP! Be sure your vision is unobstructed. This is not just to make reading the scoreboard easier, but also to facilitate the making of shots and catching of passes.

Maintain a lower position as you play defense. This will let you get to the jump quicker and let you react to your opponent easier. Stay in a defensive stance. If you must break your stance to block someone’s shot, return to formation as quickly as you can.

When you dribble, bend your knees. Standing straight makes it hard to control the ball. Merely bending your knees a bit can provide you with much better ball control.

TIP! 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. At that point, both guards should move in for the trap.

Use exercises that are adapted to your level and needs. For example, building up your stamina will help you play your hardest throughout the game. Lifting weights and doing resistance training is going to help you to build muscle to take shots. The confidence and adrenaline that builds don’t hurt either.

TIP! Don’t cease dribbling until you get ready to shoot or pass. Standing there without dribbling takes away most of your options on offense.

Stay in communication with your teammates. In order to win games, you have to work together as a team. Playing with the same teammates often helps you understand what they are thinking. You have to help each other. Talk to your teammates when you need help, so that you’re all on the same page.

TIP! For exercise, do a workout regimen that will enhance your skills and presence on the court. Running, both sprints and long distance, can help your game.

The game of basketball is one that offers great exercise to play and lots of enjoyment to watch. But, if you really want to make the most of the game, then it helps to know something about the game. This article is a great resource for accomplishing that.