Slam Dunk: Beginner Basketball 101

Every sport has basics for every beginner to work on and basketball is no exception. The fundamentals are important to any sport and need to be cultivated for athletes to excel. There are a few things that will help you get started on your basketball journey and spending some time practicing each one of these individual skills will make you a better player over time.

1. Perfect the Basics

To learn basketball effectively, you have to cement the basic movements into your muscle memory. Understanding the basics as well as you possibly can is the best thing a basketball player can do as a beginner as it improves your gameplay, exponentially. Try to avoid falling into the mistake most beginners make by developing muscle memory around incorrect movement. That can do more harm than good as rewiring your brain to stop doing something is much more difficult than getting it to do the right thing from the start.

2. Ball Handling

Getting used to having the ball in your hands is a struggle players often have as the feeling changes significantly between practice and in-game environments. In a game setting, every small move counts, and having a great handle on the ball at that time you have is very important to your overall gameplay. Dribbling drills and the position of the ball in your hands when driving to the board are two things that every beginner should practice often to perfect the art of controlling the ball at all times.

3. Form Shooting

The form you have when going for a shot can define how successful your shots are going to be. Practice the same form throughout your shots and settle for one that makes you the most comfortable. However, make sure you’re using this form as many positions from the board as possible as practicing from the free-throw lines differs considerably from regular, mid-range shots. Move all around the court and experiment until you are confident from all positions.

4. Get Yourself a Hoop at Home

The urge to shoot some hoops can strike at any given moment and when you feel it coming your way, but it’s too late at night to pay a visit to your court, you’ll have to set that urge aside. Unless you have access to a hoop at home. One of the best ways to practice casually is to get a hoop at home, regardless of the amount of space you have as these can be mounted on walls if space is scarce. This can be great for regular shooting practices as they allow you to have constant access to the hoop from the comfort of your home, office, or wherever you choose to install it.

5. Footwork

Muscle memory is always brought up when working on footwork. The moment you establish a strong grasp on the basics, you’ll be halfway unstoppable when it comes to footwork. Footwork is directly related to your shooting, dribbling, and even layups as it stems to all the main factors of your style of play.

6. Exercise Regularly

Basketball revolves as much work on your strength and conditioning as it does on your skills, as your physique is crucial to your gameplay. You’ll be spending a lot of time running up and down the court rather than actually having the ball in hand, so in order to get better at basketball, you’ll need to keep your body in good shape.

7. Team Play

Working on your dribbling or shooting won’t improve your personal skills. Whereas, working on your team play will make you an overall better basketball player. As cliche as that might sound, basketball is a team sport and there’s very little a single player can accomplish alone. The greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan, said that he would be nothing without Scottie Pippen and the team by his side.

Getting a good grasp of where your current skills are and what you should be working on more will help you divide your time during your practice sessions, to focus on your weaker skills so that they can catch up to your stronger skills on the court. Being a really good dribbler without the ability to score a bucket can hold you back from your full potential until you practice shooting and capitalize on both skills harmoniously. Be sure to train all aspects of the game and not just the areas in which you excel. A well-rounded game is key to success in this sport. And as important as all that is be sure to fuel your body with the right foods to maximize your potential.