An Interactive Sports Experience

5 Simple Yet Effective Basketball Tips

If you watch and play basketball, chances are you try to implement a lot of things the pros do into your own game. Sometimes all it takes to learn these new tricks is practice; however a lot of the time a deeper understanding of the situation is necessary. These 5 tips should help you improve your game drastically.

1. Crossovers only work on good opponents

This one may sound weird but it’s true. If you’re playing against a terrible basketball player who barely anticipates anything defensively, you’re simply wasting your time with the crossover. Though you won’t be able to immediately identify the good and bad players, as the game progresses you’ll pick up on it.

The reason the crossover works on good players is because when you feign a direction, your defender will prepare to defend in that direction, giving you the opportunity to cross to the other side and drive by them. If your defender is a bad player, when you feign a direction, they may not anticipate and prepare to defend in that direction, and therefore your cross won’t give you any extra space.

So how do you exploit a bad player if the crossover isn’t effective against them? Because of the fact they don’t move to the left or right when you begin your drive, you should simply drive by them. So essentially, imagine yourself at the pinnacle moment before actually crossing over – leaning and driving in one direction – and now just continue going in that direction as your defender isn’t reacting to it.

This concept applies to pump fakes as well. If your defender isn’t going for a pump fake, don’t do it, just shoot the ball because they’re not defending it.

2. Give yourself shooting space with a jab step

If you’re being guarded on the perimeter and you want space to shoot, jab step toward the hoop either to the left or right of your defender. When he or she backs up to prepare for you to drive, step back into a squared up stance and shoot.

If your defender doesn’t give you space to shoot when you jab step, explode into the direction of your jab – you’ll go right by your opponent.

3. The ‘ribs’ of the ball matter

Your shot has a higher chance of going in if the ribs of the ball are lined up properly. The ribs of the ball are typically black, and they’re the small visible lines that wrap around the ball. 9 of the ribs converge on the sides of the ball. In order to shoot the ball properly, place your non-shooting hand gently on the side (where the ribs are converging). When the converged ribs stay on the side, the chances of the shot going in are greater, as the ball will backspin properly. Though it’s not always possible to line this up in-game, there’s no excuse when taking free throws.

4. Keep the ball high

Practice keeping the ball around your chest level. This way if you need to shoot the ball, you don’t have to move it as far, and you don’t have to bring it through the zone of the defender’s hands.

5. Know your weaknesses

Identify what you’re not good at and correct it. If you can’t dribble that well with your left hand, practice left-hand dribbling for weeks or even months until you improve. Don’t hide from your weaknesses – the greatest players don’t have them because they faced them head on.

Bonus Tip: Getting destroyed is good.

If you’re not quite good enough to play with a certain group of guys, play anyway. If they dominate you, great – keep playing with them! They’re doing you a huge favor. Your game will adapt to playing better players, and you’ll get better simply by playing with them.

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