Got Game? Tips for How to Get Better at Basketball

August 26, 2015

Want to get better at basketball? Basketball is a game that takes a lot of skills, and thereby a lot of work. It's a lot more than just picking up a basketball and shooting hoops in your driveway. Sure, your shot is important, but so is your footwork, dribbling, defense, passing and knowledge of the game. If you're serious about improving your game on the court, be prepared to invest the time in the gym. Here's a look at some ways at how to get better at basketball:

Youth Basketball Drills

You've heard the old adage "practice makes perfect." It's true for any sport or activity, basketball included. There are a variety of practice drills you can do at home or in the gym to work on different aspects of your game, including:

  • Dribbling: There are many simple drills to help youth players with the all-important aspect of dribbling. For instance, have players line up at the baseline and dribble running to half court with one hand and then from half court to the other baseline with the opposite hand. Coaches can even arrange cones on the court and have players dribble around them as if they were defenders.
  • Defensive drills: Defense is crucial in basketball, yet many don't take it seriously. One good drill to practice to maintain proper defensive posture and increase coordination around the court is to line up at the corner of the court, get into the defensive stance, and then shuffle feet from the corner to the foul line, then to the five-second line, then to half court, then to the opposite foul line, and so on.


Legendary Michigan State University college basketball coach Tom Izzo always preaches to his players that they must develop a love for the game. That's because playing basketball — at any level — is a big commitment, and if love and passion for the game aren’t present, it's unlikely that a particular player will ever reach his/her true potential. Yet attitude isn't just about embracing the game and striving to get better at it, it's also about being a great teammate. Watch what your teammates do. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? Learn from one another to help each team member play at his/her best. Team chemistry is very important in basketball and a poor attitude can potentially destroy a team. Hence, having a good, coachable attitude, loving the game and being a great teammate is important.

Summer Camps

Kids Playing basketball at camp

In order to excel at basketball, you have to play it — a lot. Never pass on an opportunity to get better — and much of the time, this can be accomplished through instructional summer camps where you can develop your game and improve your weaknesses. In basketball, it's said that the most important season, in terms of player development and honing skills, is the summer after the "real" basketball season ends.


In order to be the best, you need to compete against the best. While good youth basketball players will almost always star for their high school team, playing on an AAU team or on a travel team in the summer is a great opportunity as well, not only to advance your game, but to catch the eye of college recruits. While there is a basketball "season," those who are serious about the sport play and practice it all year.


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