With over 450 million participants, basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world.
Though you may love shooting hoops, you’ll never be Michael Jordan from the first time you lace up your sneakers to hit the court. If you want to know how to get better at basketball, you may not like the answer.
It takes time, effort, sweat, and dedication to become the player you want to be. While some have natural talent, they still need to work to refine their skills before playing at the next level.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to improve your game, hone your skills, and increase your court awareness and IQ. Keep reading to learn what you need to do to achieve your dreams.
Find Your “Why?”
Before you can hit the court, you’ll need to ask yourself one essential question. Why?
Knowing why you want to get better at basketball can help you find the motivation you need to succeed. This will also help you push yourself, and you’ll have a goal in sight to help keep you focused and motivated.
Your goal may be as meaningful as getting drafted into the NBA or playing for a college. However, you may want to start small and focus on making your high school varsity team. Or, you may want a fun way to hang out with friends and stay in shape.
No matter your goal, taking the game seriously and doing what you can to improve will help you become a better player. Knowing why you want to enhance your skills is a necessary step in the process.
Learn the Basics
Once you have the motivational aspect of your journey covered, you’ll need to sit down and learn the basics of the game. You can have the best mechanics and techniques in the world, but if you don’t know the files and flow of the game, you won’t be able to play.
Sitting down to read the rules is a great place to start. You don’t have to memorize manuals, but familiarizing yourself with the timing, positions, and point system of the game is crucial.
You’ll also want to understand how fouls work, how offence and defence operate, and the boundary lines painted on the courts. These are all rules you’ll need to commit to memory, as you won’t have time to reference a rulebook when playing.
Once you begin understanding the game’s rules, you’re one step closer to getting on the court and seeing what moves you’ve got.
If you’re used to throwing on whatever sneakers are closest to you before playing a pickup game with friends, you may want to consider what equipment you use to play.
The most important piece of basketball gear is, of course, a basketball. Ensuring your’s is regulation size and weighted correctly is essential to handling the ball better. You don’t want to get used to practising with the wrong ball, as it can throw off your skills when you get a regular one.
As previously mentioned, basketball sneakers are a significant part of the game. Finding the perfect pair for your needs is crucial, as they can improve your game.
Though there aren’t any magical pairs of shoes that will help you play like the highest-paid NBA players, they can help improve your traction, making it easy to navigate the court. Similarly, many sneakers offer built-in ankle support.
However, if you opt for a pair of low or mid-top sneakers, like the Nike AJ shoes, you may want to invest in ankle braces. As much of basketball revolves around quick movements and split steps, keeping your ankles safe is essential to continue your career.
The best basketball players are students of the game. This means they’ll study themselves, their opponents, and other players to improve their own skills.
Watching film from your games is a great way to practice self-critique and accountability, as you can see what you need to improve on when playing.
Watching other players, both amateur, collegiate, and professional will help you see how they play. This is a great way to think about the elements of the game that you want to improve on, as watching another person is a helpful learning technique.
Plus, if you love basketball, this is a fun way to pass time while honing in on the different mechanics and techniques players use.
Next, you’ll want to get into great shape. Basketball is a fast-paced game, so you’ll need to keep up with your opponents on the court.
Conditioning to improve your overall stamina and athletic abilities is crucial to improving your performance on the court. One of the benefits of basketball is that it’s a great way to stay healthy, but to get to that point, you’ll need to whip yourself into shape.
One of the best drills to improve your footwork, balance, and speed are ladders. Setting up cones or a ladder on the ground and moving in and out as fast as you can help you make better moves on the court.
Similarly, you can hit the gym to improve your strength and skills. You’ll want to strengthen your muscles to reduce the risk of injury. This includes squatting, deadlifting, and bench pressing weights.
Remember, any time you use free weights, use the proper form and have a spotter to help reduce the likelihood of accidentally hurting yourself.
Drill Down the Fundamentals
Though it can be monotonous to continually practice the fundamental skills of basketball, it’s crucial to help you excel on the court.
Ensuring that your ball-handling skills are as clean as they can be is a great place to start. Get used to keeping your eyes off the ball as you dribble, as this will guarantee you can handle the ball while staying aware of the game.
Another great skill to get repetitions of it is taking free throws and shooting from different locations on the court.
Finally, you’ll want to practice rebounding the ball off the backboard and passing it to a partner. Though these skills may seem simple enough, they can enhance your abilities and help you excel.
Practice Makes Perfect
One of the many reasons many play the game is to experience playing against an opponent. There’s nothing better than putting all the hard work you’ve done to the test and facing another team.
However, to ensure you can hang with your contenders, you’ll need to put the work in during practice sessions and your free time. You can’t get better if you’re sitting on the couch!
When you attend practices, paying attention and giving it your all will help improve your skills. After all, it’s a waste of time for you, your teammates, and your coaches if you don’t actively try your hardest to get better.
Also, taking the initiative and practising on your own is a great way to supplement the skills you’ve been working on in practice. Plus, your coach will notice the improvements you make, and you’ll spend more time playing basketball in practice instead of working on skills.
Listen to Your Coach
Many feel as though coaches are the ultimate enemy. After all, they’ll yell, use you as a negative example, and run you ragged, even if you’re doing well in practice.
Though a relationship with a coach may not seem great, you have to trust that your leader knows what they’re doing. Coaches need to be tough to push you out of your comfort zone and learn new skills and concepts.
Taking the feedback they offer in earnest and actively applying it during practices, games, and whenever you can practice on your own is a great way to improve. Your coach won’t give you incorrect advice, as they want you to succeed!
Plus, if you do what your coach tells you to do, you become a more coachable player. If your goal is to continue competing at a higher level, many collegiate programs want coachable players. If you listen, your coach will put it in good words when speaking with recruiters.
How to Get Better at Basketball: Your Guide to Play Like the Pros
No matter what level you play at, knowing how to get better at basketball is essential to helping you succeed and have fun. Remember to hydrate and eat well to keep your body going!
Keeping these basketball tips in mind can help you achieve your goals and play at a higher level. However, you’ll want to check out the rest of our website for more sports content to help you make the most of your time on the court.