How to Get Better at Basketball

Basketball is one of the most competitive sports, and most players want to improve their basketball skills whether it’s to make the local team or simply score more points in a casual game against friends.The game not only provides you with an opportunity to improve as an individual and become a better team player. There are many ways that basketball players can improve their skills from building strength and stamina through conditioning workouts to working on ball control, dribbling, and other basketball skills.

If you are passionate about the game and willing to work hard, you’ll be on the road to becoming a better basketball player.

1. Clemson
Become a better basketball player by being passionate and working hard. 2021 Clemson @ Miami Men’s Basketball / – Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Here’s how to improve your skills, get better at basketball, and become a respected basketball player.

Study the Game

To become a better basketball player, you need to know the game inside out and the best way to do this is to thoroughly study the game. If you are passionate about basketball, this shouldn’t be too difficult – watch tutorials, videos of talented basketball players, and top league games, read books and take online courses. Take in as much information about the game as you can and learn from watching games being played.

Understand the Rules

Knowing and understanding the rules of the game will make you a better basketball player and this is one of the first things you will have to do if you want to improve your game. In addition to watching tutorials and reading books about the game, ask an experienced referee or a local basketball official for some tips. Knowing the game inside out is what separates the great players from the average ones.

Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses will help you pinpoint what you need to work on to improve your game. Think about your game and write down the things you do well during a basketball game (strengths), and the things you aren’t that good at (weaknesses).

This exercise will help you to focus on maximizing your strengths during a game and work harder on the weaknesses. You or your coach can then design a program or incorporate drills into your existing program to work on your weaknesses.

2. Dunking
Identifying your strengths and weaknesses will help you improve your game. Jonathan Maier 13 (Nürnberg Falcons) vs. Rasheed Lee Moore 23 (wiha Panthers Schwenningen). 

Put in Extra Work

If you want to improve and get ahead of the rest, working on your skills during team practices isn’t enough. You need to put in some extra work and practice in your own time. Create a basketball workout to do at least three times per week in addition to your regular team practices.

You can create your workout by researching drills from the Internet, keeping in mind your list of weaknesses, and focusing on drills that will work on those. There is also a plethora of workouts online that you can use that incorporate a variety of basketball skills from dribbling and shooting to advanced tactics.

An important factor when adding extra workouts to your routine is scheduling a time that is dedicated to completing them. Set aside time during the day, put them into your calendar, and make it a priority to complete your workouts every week.

3. Jumpshot
To improve your skills, you need to put in extra work. 

Improve Your Dribbling Technique

​Dribbling is one of the fundamental basics in the game of basketball and mastering dribbling skills can vastly improve your game. Dribbling can be mastered by practicing basketball dribbling drills and transferring those skills to a game.

Using basketball dribbling drills to sharpen ball-handling skills and dribbling fundamentals is essential for improving your game, however, it is important to practice all types of dribbling from regular, low, and high dribbling to crossovers, between-the-legs, and behind-the-back dribbling.

Top tips for improving your basketball dribbling:

  •         Always dribble with your eyes up – don’t look at the ball.
  •         Use your finger pads to control the ball.
  •         Alternate and practice dribbling with both hands.
  •         Push yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and don’t be scared to make mistakes.

4. Mastering dribbling skills
Mastering dribbling skills can vastly improve your game.

Improve Your Shooting Technique

​Shooting is the most important skill in basketball and your shooting technique is one of the most important elements of basketball that you can perfect. Improving your shooting technique can be complex and there are many elements to a great shot, each of which can be perfected to comprehensively improve your overall shooting technique.

Top tips for improving your basketball shooting:

  •         Keep your eyes on the hoop.
  •         Pay attention to your balance and how you stand.
  •         Ensure your grip is accurate.
  •         Shoot smoothly.
  •         Use your up-force.
  •         Improve your follow-through.

5. Shooting
Shooting is the most important skill in basketball. 

Improve Your Scoring Abilities

Scoring more points is a great way of becoming a better basketball player and gaining the admiration and respect of your team members and coach. In addition to working on your shooting technique, learn to read the game and see where the main opportunities to score develop.

Opportunities to score can include:

  •         Setting up and using on-ball screens.
  •         Curling off an away-screen.
  •         Facing up and attacking.
  •         Basket and backdoor cuts.
  •         Outside shots off a cut.

6. Scoring more baskets
Scoring more points is a great way of becoming a better basketball player. 

Find Ways to Score Extra Points

Scoring extra points never hurts and there are many ways you can score a few extra points in every game if you’re willing to work hard.

Some of these include:

  •         Sprint down the floor on every change of possession.
  •         Set more screens for your teammates.
  •         Attack the hoop and battle for offensive rebounds.

7. Attack the hoop
Attack the hoop and battle for offensive rebounds. 

Find Ways to Increase Your Playing Time

There is no better way to improve your game than to play more. Spending more time on the court will allow you to gain valuable experience and learn from other players, prove your skills to your coach, and have a bigger impact on the game.

There are several ways you can get more game time:

  •         Improve your level of fitness – be able to run faster and longer than your teammates.
  •         Learn how to play both offense and defense. Being a great go-to defensive player when an opposing player needs to be shut down is a cert for more game time.
  •         Be willing to go the extra mile – dive on a loose ball, run down an opposing player, take a charge or fight hard for an offensive rebound.

8. Womens basketball
Be willing to go the extra mile.

Play 1-on-1 Against a Great Player

Playing against a better basketball player is the best way to improve your game and get better at basketball.

​Find someone slightly better at basketball than you and challenge them to a game of one-on-one. Playing against one person is fantastic for development because you have to make fast decisions and make all the plays.

Offensively, this is a great way to learn how to create a shot and score against an opponent using quick decisions, good footwork, great skills, and fakes. Defensively, you have to play smart on-ball defense, play tough, and guard your yard.

9. Two players
Playing against a better basketball player is the best way to improve your game. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a beginner basketball player or a pro, there is always room to learn and improve. You’re constantly learning new things about the game itself and about your own game every time you play and the best way to improve is to constantly look for ways to better your basketball.

Practice hard, play hard, and have fun!

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