The game of basketball is both fun and exciting.  It is a game that is not only a great pastime, but one that gives you great exercise as well.  However, due to the competitive spirit innate in each every one of us, we all strive to get better in the game not only to match or better those who are better than us, but also in order to win more games.  One of the great things about the game of basketball is that every player has the ability to become better.  With good focus, hard work, dedication, skills, and a profound understanding of the game, a person can definitely become better.

One of the first things you need to understand when playing is that you need to have fun.  This is because if you are not having fun, then playing only becomes somewhat of a duty, which, inadvertently, slows down the learning curve.  While it is true that practicing can be hard and there usually is nothing fun about something that you are having a hard time with.  Nevertheless, it is something that you should try to enjoy.  The truth is, when you enjoy something, time flies by so quickly that you hardly notice it.

In order to become better in playing the game, you need to focus on certain key areas.  This will not only help make you a good ball player, but also a complete player.  The list below shows some simple tips on how to elevate your game as a basketball player.

Basketball Fundamentals – working on basics is very important as it helps build a solid foundation in a player. This would involve stance, positioning, basic dribbling and ball handling, catching, and passing. Knowing the fundamentals and continually practicing them helps greatly in improving your skill level.

Stance – with a good stance your body will have better balance while still being able to move quickly.  To have a good stance, your feet should be at shoulder-width apart most of the time and that your head is centered from your shoulders, chest, and back.  Arms and legs are slightly bent so they can move quickly.  With this position, you are able to catch, pass, shoot, and make offensive moves very quickly.  This position will even enable you to pivot very quickly.  When dribbling, your knees bent and body lowered.  This not only lowers your center of gravity, but it also helps you dribble and defend the ball better.

Positioning – there are five members in a team playing at the same time which means that during offense, you cannot have the ball at all times.  Positioning plays a good role during these times because if you move effectively, not only are you capable of helping your team, you may even get a good scoring position.  Listed below are some of the moves you can do when you do not have the ball.

  • V-cuts – this is a basic move that allows you to get open so you can receive a pass.
  • Front and Rear Cuts – these moves are used when a player passes the ball to a teammate and then quickly move to the basket for a return pass.
  • Setting Screens – using a screen will help your teammate get open for a pass or shot.  To set a screen, a player must have a wide base, body upright and both arms together below the navel.  This will prevent from incurring a foul when contact happens between you and the defender.

Dribbling – dribbling basically is the bouncing of the ball on the floor using one hand to get from one location to the other without incurring any violations.  The importance of practicing the fundamentals of dribbling is that it allows you to better control the ball given different situations.  In dribbling, you need to use your finger pads to dribble and control the ball.  This makes it necessary that you are comfortable when dribbling the ball. Otherwise, you will look sloppy, making it easier for the defenders to steal the ball away from you.

When dribbling, it is necessary that you practice a low position so you not only have a better center of gravity, but you also can move quickly and defend the ball at the same time.  While maintaining a low body position, you must keep your head up while dribbling so you have an entire view of the court.  Also, make sure you are as adept dribbling with your non-dominant hand as with your dominant hand.  This will make you harder to defend as you are able move both ways.  Even if you are not ambidextrous, practice will enable you to skillfully dribble with both hands.

Passing – passes would include chest pass, bounce pass, overhead pass, push pass, baseball pass, and lob pass.  Knowing the fundamentals of passing will allow you to pass effectively while using the correct type of pass to a teammate.  When passing, it is important that you make your pass quickly so as not to give your defender enough time to react during the pass.  It is also equally important that you pass the ball just as your teammate becomes open.  Before passing, often times, using a fake or looking at a different direction will confuse the defenders on the direction of your pass.  This will provide you enough time to make a good pass to an open teammate.

Catching – catching is as important as any other basketball fundamental.  Although catching does not involve much technique, it is not something that should be disregarded during practice.  This is because if you are not able to properly catch the ball, then there is no point passing the ball to you.  The only way you can receive the ball in basketball and potentially score is through passing.  Without catching, there will be no need to pass.  In fact, even during inbounds, the ball needs to be passed to a teammate on the court.

When receiving the ball, it is important that you are in a good basic stance and ready to receive the ball with both hands.  While some passes require a one-handed receive so as to protect the ball or get into quick motion, most passes require you to receive the ball with both hands.  When you are to receive a pass, make sure to give your teammate a good target particularly on where to pass. Once you receive the pass, be sure to defend the ball when defenders are nearby to snatch the ball from you.