Are you just joining a basketball team, or getting back into the game? Starting on a new team can be intimidating, and joining seasoned basketball players can make you question your skills. If you are thinking of getting into basketball, here are some great tips and tricks to help you look less like a newbie and more like a pro.
Practice Makes Perfect
You can’t make those 3 point shots? Your dribbling skills would fit in on an elementary school court? No worries. Everyone started off at the bottom, and only practice refines your skills and takes you to the next level. Nothing can substitute for practice, and practice needs time. Mastering the fundamentals of basketball will give you the base you need to tackle the harder moves, and will set you up for success. No one likes to be bad at something, but if you start at the bottom, where do you have to go but up? Even one week of dedicated practice on a particular skill can give you tangible results and provoke you to practice more. Even basketball legends need to practice, so never underestimate the power of honing your skills.
Aside from practicing basketball-specific skills, overall physical training is good as well. Basketball is a fast-paced, physically demanding sport, and being in peak condition will up your game. The more in shape you are, the better endurance you will have, and the quicker your response time. You will also have readied your body for the rigors of a game, and you are less likely to get injured while playing. Running, biking, or swimming can be great for cardiovascular fitness, and yoga or martial arts can help your flexibility, focus, and response. Don’t settle for just learning new basketball basics. Train to get your whole body in peak physical condition and you will reap the rewards on the court.
Don’t be the person who runs out on the court the first day emulating Michael Jordan only to pull a hamstring trying to slam dunk. Every time you practice, and every game you play in, you need to be conscious of having enough warm-up time to get your body ready. Stretching and getting your body moving before you start a full practice or game gets your muscles ready and will help you avoid injury. A good warm up will include stretching and cardiovascular activity that gets your heart pumping.
While your body needs to be in shape to play a good basketball game, your mind needs to be ready as well. Are you ready to put in hard work on the court, and break through discouragement and feelings of inadequacy? Are you ready to be a team player who can successfully work both on and off the court with a myriad of different personalities? Especially if you are trying to further your basketball career, a coach will look at your motivation and attitude as part of the overall value you bring to a team. If you are low energy, complain about your position, or easily give up the ball and don’t know how to fight for it, you will be perceived as a weaker player than someone who is more motivated. Mentally prepare yourself to embrace endurance, losing games, and days you don’t feeling like bringing your A-game, and when those things do occur you will be ready to mentally face them.
Dribble, Dribble, Dribble
This goes along with practicing, but dribbling is an extremely important skill that can’t be practiced enough. Dribbling with your non-dominant hand will feel incredibly awkward at first, but will pay off in the long run. You want both of your hands to be equally skilled in ball handling, and the only way that will happen is when you force yourself to dribble on your weaker side. When players are just starting out, the tendency is to dribble too hard, and bounce the ball as forcefully as they can. Dribbling should be done with your knees bent, your head up, and your back straight, and you should always remain in control of the ball. Dribbling is central to basketball, so make sure that you have a solid base in this skill.
Look at Your Teammates
Is there someone on your team you really admire and always seems to excel in games? Study their moves, their techniques, and how they are practicing. Watching your teammates, or professional players on TV, can help you identify how you can up your game and become a better player. Watch how they move on the court, when they are defensive, and how they go in for the attack. Utilize your teammates as learning tools to make your game better, and instead of being discouraged that others are so good, use them to further your game.
Get the Right Gear
Basketball doesn’t require much gear, as opposed to other sports, but having the essentials can make you a better player. A good pair of shoes will lend support and traction, and protect your feet while running up and down the court. Having a team uniform solidifies your players, and gives you a more official presence. If you need the best custom team uniforms, you need to check out Moneyball Sportswear! We can customize your basketball uniforms, or any other sport you may be interested in. Before you are an NBA pro, you can at least dress like one, and Moneyball Sportswear can help!