The Fundamental Skills of Basketball

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To get better skills in basketball players need to first understand and master the basics of the game.

In basketball, there are 6 different fundamental skill areas that players should concentrate on in training.


Dribbling the basketball is done to move the ball around only when a passing isn’t a better option and a lane isn’t available. Both new and experienced players make the mistake of dribbling the ball when it isn’t needed. Ask any collage or professional basketball coach – they will all tell you the same thing. Dribbling should be done when the player (you) have some purpose to forfill. Dribbling while looking for an offensive option is a good way to lose the ball. When you are looking for that option, take the ball in a firm grip and put your body between you and the defender. Regardless of how good you are at dribbling, the defense will always have a greater chance for a steal if you are dribbling the ball instead of gripping it in both hands.


Passing is the number 1 option for moving the ball around the court on offense. Passing is quicker than dribbling and so it is a deadly offensive tool for reaching that open man so they can have the shot. Good passes are the hallmark of good teams because most offensive plays are set up by good passes.


Shooting is probably the most practiced skill for new and experienced players. Yet so many people still practice it wrong. In practice all drills should be done at game speed and done as you would under pressure. Players are usually too lazy to do this and instead of practicing the sweet jump shot that they are constantly doing in the game they lazy-it-down to a hop-shot. Instead of jumping to give power they use their arms for the power and the legs give the rest. Practicing the wrong way to shoot is something that players do all the time yet they do not understand why they miss all their jump shots during the game…


Rebounding can come in two forms – offensive and defensive. Lots of newer player look at rebounding and immediately think that it is a big mans area. Yet this is not so. Rebounding is more than just being big. It even surpasses just jumping ability. To be good at rebounding you need skill and dedication. Skill is mainly the ability to position yourself and read the shots – something that comes quickly with practice. Dedication is probably the most important factor in rebounding. The person who gets the ball is the one with the most hunger for the ball and who is willing to do whatever it takes to get it.


Offense is a fundamental which encompasses all aspects of the offensive court. Shooting has already been covered (and is covered more in the basketball website listed below). Yet moving off the ball to give offensive options to the player with the ball is another thing that is essential for good offense. Supporting your team mates with screens and being able to locate the best offensive option and get the ball to them are also essential things on offense. These skills are often overlooked.


The best defensive teams in the NBA are often the ones that make it into the playoffs. This is seen year after year so a simple conclusion can be made here – defense is key to victory. Defense is not only about getting the steal or block but also about intimidation of the opponents.

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