Sports are a long-time tradition in the world and basketball is a favorite of many. You boys and girls enjoy playing the game and perfecting their skills on the court. One great way to improve your game is to learn all you can about how the game is played and how to play like the pros.

It is important to focus on both offense and defense when learning to play basketball. In the end, it’s defense that consistently wins you games. Offense is often what gets the glory, but most winning basketball teams play great defense.

Practice shooting free throws. This is one of those shots that seem easy but in real life are difficult. Put this technique into practice as often as you can. Put your weaker hand in front of the ball and center your stronger hand over the air valve in the basketball. There may be a number of distractions so you need to focus on your goal. You should then shoot and try following the trajectory you visualized.

Always protect the ball when you are in possession of it. Keep your dribble off to the side of your body to make it more difficult for another player to steal the ball. While you generally want to avoid dribbling in front of you, you can do so if there are no other players in your immediate vicinity.

Jump naturally when shooting the ball. Do not overjump or else you will throw the ball’s trajectory off course. Learn this technique by performing it in slow motion during your practice sessions. Jump vertically and do not release the ball until you are at the peak of your jump.

Practice lay ups over and over. The lay up is one of the most basic basketball shots out there. And you should never let this easy opportunity to score pass you by. While simple, it still takes practice in game-like scenarios to make sure you aren’t laying the ball up too hard or at a bad angle. Get the rhythm down and practice it repeatedly.

Free throws require both mental and physical abilities. You must be mentally strong to be a consistent free throw shooter. Relax volleyball shorts and concentrate on your shot.

Practice as many different shots as you can. You never know when you will need one during a game. If you only practice bank shots, then you will feel less comfortable making a 3-point shot or a lay-up. Practice them all and you will see improvements in all of your shots.

Picking the right basketball shoe can be very important to your game. If you need support for your ankles, choose a high top sneaker. Make sure that the sole of the shoe has enough traction to prevent slipping. Always buy a shoe that is the correct size by having your feet measured at a sporting goods store.

Take your ball with you wherever you go and dribble as often as possible. This allows you to practice handling the ball on all sorts of surfaces. For example, it will react differently on grass than it will on a wooden court. If you can master moving the ball on any surface, you will become a better ball handler.

To become a better ball handler, there are two key things you should focus on. Staying low while you dribble will make it harder for opponents to guard you and to steal the ball. Changing speeds is also important. By changing speeds while you move you’ll become more unpredictable to your opponent.

Good rebounding is a key aspect of a success basketball player, so practice rebounds and jumping. Many easy baskets come from the second, third or even fourth shot taken. Practice getting your own rebounds. It is very common for a ball to hit off the rim and head right back towards you.

To stay hydrated while playing basketball outside on a hot day, make sure you drink plenty of water or sports drink before you head outside, and take a bottle with you. When you sweat, you not only lose water, but you lose electrolytes and sodium. Sports drinks like Powerade help you replace those and keep your edge on the basketball court.

As you can see, there is more to basketball than just getting the ball through the net. Take what you have learned from this article and others, to make an impact on the level of your game. Strive to be the best and put what you know to the test.