Everybody knows how to play basketball, but only a few can play it well. If you want to improve your basketball skills, here are 10 tips to help you become better at the said sport.
- Equip yourself with the right gear
If you want to play basketball seriously, you need to gear up. You should wear a good pair of basketball shoes. Since the sport involves a lot of jumping and running, you need to support your ankles and feet.
Good cushioning is also very vital. High-top shoes provide better support for your ankles but are a bit heavy when playing. Wear something lightweight. A mid-top pair of shoes is recommended. However, its ankle support is weak. Choose the shoes based on your position and the competition level you will be joining.
- Condition your body
Basketball is a game that requires strength and agility. If your body is not conditioned to play, you might not play the game up to the last quarter. The more you prepare your body, the greater your stamina. Not only that, you also become more alert and respond to every move faster.
Also, injuries are less likely to occur. Running will improve your cardiovascular fitness during the game, while yoga will improve your agility and flexibility.
- Practice, practice, practice
The best way to become a better basketball player is to practice. Work on your skills like shooting, passing, and dribbling. These are the essential skills you need to focus on and improve. For rookies, mastering the fundamentals of basketball is vital for the betterment and enjoyment of the game.
This tip applies not just to basketball but to all sports. You maybe have the right skills, but if you don’t practice, you will waste those talents you possess. You can practice alone or with your teammates.
- List down your strengths and weaknesses
If you think this is not necessary, read carefully and decide for yourself whether you need to do it or not. You can dedicate ten minutes of your time, assessing your present impact on the game.
Get a pen and paper and list what you think are your weaknesses and strengths. Review your previous games write down the things you do well while playing the game and the errors or mistakes you have committed.
So, what help you can get from listing them? One is that you can maximize your strengths and do your best to avoid committing the same mistakes as much as possible. It will help you in formulating effective workouts to improve your skills.
- Do not ignore the little things
What are these “little things”? These are the ones that can make a difference in your game. Some players ignore them without knowing that these “little things” matter. Some of them include your form and footwork. You must have a solid foundation. If not, these “little things” can hurt you.
If you are training with a coach, he must identify and clearly define what these “little things” are that you continue to give less attention to. When playing the game, you also need to give importance to the following actions:
- Learn to dive and save a loose ball
- Be alert and fast on returning to your defense
- You must know when to pass and when to take charge
- Master some skills
Basketball is not just dribbling and shooting the ball. There are things that you can do more that will help you become better in the sport. Mastering a few skills can boost your confidence. You can be a good shooter from a short-range, but you can do better than that. Gradually add distance to your shooting range until you become a better outside shooter.
At first, you master the basics instead of doing a slam dunk in your first few practice sessions. If you want to master your dribbling skills rather than speed, you can do it by practicing.
- Improve your passing skills
Remember, basketball is a team game, and you need to function as one. So it means you have to pass the ball to your teammates if needed. Sometimes, passing the ball can help your team win the game. But passing has given less attention, under drilled, and under-taught skills in basketball.
Most players think that passing is a way to find a teammate with an open shot. It may be right if you do not have a clear shot on the loop. The coach should teach his players not just the skill but the mentality of the action as well. Passing also shows being unselfish and reminds us that the game is designed to include other players.
You can practice your passing skills with the team, or you can do it alone. You only need a wall or anything that can capture the ball and bounce it back to you. You can either do it stationary or moving around the wall. You can also move forward and backward to manage the pass distance and speed of return.
- Get a coach
If you can afford to get a coach, find one to help you hone your basketball skills. A little help from an experienced coach can make a difference. Improving your own skills is possible, but it is still best if there is a coach that can guide you and help you develop your game.
So, what are the qualities of a good coach? Your coach should be someone who sees good in every player. He should be able to bring out the best in you. A good coach knows how to motivate his players. He can be your friend, father, and sometimes your enemy. He needs to understand that you are not perfect, and you also commit mistakes.
He allows you to observe how other players play. You can pick up something that can help you refine your skills like defensive, attacking tactics, and better movement. Your coach can advise who to observe and what mastery of that particular player makes him better at basketball.
- Stop complaining
Don’t get frustrated if your coach has given you less playing time. Perhaps he has a better plan for the team. Remember, basketball is a team game, so every player can contribute to winning the game. If you continue to complain, you can lose your focus and don’t play effectively, then you might lose more playing time.
These things can stress you, and such emotion can limit your determination. Thus you will have a hard time improving yourself. Get rid of these negative thoughts and feelings. Instead, give your best when given time to play.
- Know your role and give 100%
We have been mentioning that basketball is a team sport as sometimes players tend to become selfish during the game and affect the game’s outcome. You should know your role and give 100% when playing. If you want to prove yourself, not passing the ball is not the best thing to do. If you aim to become the leading scorer, you try to shoot even if you are heavily guarded.
If you have a hard time understanding your team’s role, it is best to discuss it with your coach. Knowing your role helps you to focus on the skills your team requires from you. Asking for the help of your teammates to get better at basketball is a good move. Remember, each player contributes to the success of the team.
Always give 100% even during training and practice. Excuses or complaints should not hamper your effort in playing the game. Accept criticism as it will help you become a better player. Getting better means learning from your mistakes and improving your weak spot. Try your best in every game you play.
- Bonus tips – accept failures
This is one thing that most players fear. If you are afraid to fail, it means you are scared to try. How do you become a better player if you do not try? Failure is part of our life. Rather than crying or feeling sad, find ways to improve yourself and avoid committing the same mistakes.
Ignore the negatives people might say. Do not worry about your reputation. Failure is not permanent. Learn from this experience and do your best to improve your craft.
David Nilsen is the former editor of Fourth & Sycamore. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can find more of his writing on his website at davidnilsenwriter.com and follow him on Twitter as @NilsenDavid.