10 Basketball Skills You Should Learn
By: Jason Richards
Learning how to play basketball is learning its fundamentals. Here are those:
1. Dribbling - is important to penetrate to the hoop, move the ball across the court, get away from
the defense, and find a good passing lane. There are different types of dribbles:
• crossover dribble,
• behind the back,
• pull back dribble,
• low dribble,
• basic dribble,
• between the legs dribble
2. Passing - A good offensive attack requires good passing from players.
This helps find an open man,
to find a good shooter or to get away from a defender.
There are several types of passes you need to learn:
• Overhead Pass
• Chest Pass
• Push Pass
• Baseball Pass
• Off-the-Dribble Pass
• Bounce Pass
3. Shooting - The object of the game is to win by scoring the most points.
Therefore, improving the team's shooting is important to win a game.
There are several ways to score in the game:
• Jump Shot
• Free throw
• Three-Point Shot
• Hook Shot
4. Rebounding - is essential to gain or regain possession after the shot. Usually, the team
who has the most number of rebounds after the game has more shot attempts
and chances to score.
5. Offense - is the only chance that the team has a shot at the basket and scoring.
Playing a good offense requires coordination among players and individual skill
to execute well plays.
6. Defense - To be able to get a chance to score and gain possession,
the team should play good defense
and try to stop their opponent from scoring. As said, "A good defense is a good offense."
7. Moves - There are different kinds of basketball moves that are important in executing
both a good offense and a good defense. Moves are helpful in finding an open man,
make a good shot or create an amazing play.
8. Violations - Knowing the kinds of basketball violations improves your game.
9. Assist - is given to a teammate to help him score easily.
Thus is it important to find an open man on the court
10. Foul - is often an accidental contact made by the defender to his opponent
or an aggressive move
by the ball-handler towards his defender. However, a foul is also used as a strategy
to stop the clock or to keep the shooting player from scoring easily.
Learning how to use your fouls well is important in the game.
These are some of the most important decisions to keep in mind:
1) The ball is pushed ahead by the fingertips, not the palm.
2) Keep your head up and see what is going on in front of you.
3) Dribble at a height that is comfortable - but not too high
(a general rule is to never dribble higher than the waistline) -
and close to your body to protect the ball from being slapped away or stolen.
4) After a fake, push the first bounce of the ball as far as possible
to get a step on your opponent.
5) Perfect the dribble with either hand so you can give body fakes
without changing stride or fool an opponent
with a change of pace. A one-handed dribbler is easy to defend!
6) Stop and start occasionally on the dribble to throw an opponent off balance.
7) Dribble with the hand farthest from the defender to protect the ball.
If you are dribbling with the right hand,
do not drive left unless you can switch the ball away from the defender into your other hand.
Always keep your body between the defender and the ball.
8) Be prepared to pass quickly off the dribble. Generally speaking,
the dribble is used to move the defense
and set up a pass to a teammate.
9) To escape pressure from the defense, the dribble should be below the knees
(this allows you to change direction more quickly).
Dribble with a purpose, not for show.
The less you dribble, the fewer steals or turnovers.
Don’t get fancy, the secret of a good dribbler is to have complete control of the ball.
A dribble is valuable,
so don’t waste it; look for the pass first.
- Remember to concentrate on what you are doing. Throw crisp, quick passes.
- See the pass into the receiver’s hands.
- Pass the ball away from the receiver’s defender. Pass to a target on the receiver.
- Follow through and don’t hesitate.
*Ball Fake: Fake before passing is frequently a good idea, especially when inbounding the ball.
1) Feet spread shoulder width apart
2) Either foot slightly forward of the other
3) Knees bent
4) Waist bent slightly forward
5) Back straight
6) Weight balanced on balls of feet
7) Head up looking forward
8) Hands on side of ball slightly behind, fingers spread, thumbs up
9) Ball held firmly by pads of fingertips
1) Elbows are out a little from the body and bent
2) Step towards the direction of the pass
3) Fully extend elbows, quickly snap the wrists and finish the pass with thumbs down palms out
4) If the ball has backspin that indicates good wrist flexion and hence a quick, crisp pass
5) The pass leaves your chest and ends at the receiver’s chest
Used to avoid interceptions and when a receiver is running to the basket
and will likely make a layup. Surprise makes the bounce pass effective.
Repeat steps 1-9 for body position and 1-3 from chest pass.
1) Bounce the ball close to the defender’s feet in order to make them
reach the maximum distance if they try to intercept the pass
2) The pass should bounce about 2/3 of the way between the passer and receiver
*A pass bounced too close to the receiver comes up fast and low making it hard to catch
*A pass bounced too far from the receiver loses speed and floats making it easy to intercept
Overhead Pass (used primarily to get the ball into the pivot or for an outlet):
1) Hold ball overhead
2) Arms are almost fully extended
3) Hands are on the sides of the ball slightly towards the back
4) Fingers spread pointing upwards, thumbs behind the ball
5) Release the ball with a quick snap of the wrists and fingers.
Follow through towards the target with arms fully extended and step.
6) Do not pull the ball back overhead before release of the ball
because you will telegraph the pass to the defender.
Moving without the ball
In a 40-minute game, a team will have about 20 minutes on offense.
If each player handles the ball equally,
then it leaves 16 minutes in which you could be on offense without the ball.
1) Move with a purpose- this places maximum pressure on the defense.
2) When you pass the ball, you must make one of three moves:
i) move toward the ball (to pick or receive pass) “pick and roll”
ii) move to the basket for a return pass “give and go”
iii) move away from the ball to pick or to clear one side out
3) Do not clog the middle. Clear out and keep it open for scoring opportunities
unless you are setting a screen
for a teammate.
4) Keep Moving! Do not stand around and allow the defense to capitalize
and jam up your teammates.
If you have nothing to do at least move and make your man move with you (clear out).
5) Never run in a straight line. Make it tough for an opponent to “read” you.
Use speed changes, fakes etc.
(confuse the defensive player).
6) If your teammate sets a pick, be prepared to run your check into it.
Brush your teammate as you pass them by.
7) Set up your check before running them into a pick. Eg. Jab step, look away, spin off.
Reasons for moving without the ball:
1) To clear an area
2) To avoid double teaming
3) To set a pick
4) To increase chances of offensive rebounds
“A player should always be thinking of what he can do to make himself useful to the team”
SET SHOT, JUMP SHOT
1. Body position:
- facing basket
- feet are shoulder width apart, right foot is slightly ahead of left
(opposite for left-handed) knees are slightly flexed
2. Arm and wrist position:
- upper arm and forearm angle = 90º
- elbow must be kept in, forearm vertical; elbow under or below the ball
- wrist flexed until you can see a wrinkle
3. Hand and ball position:
- the ball must be balanced on the shooting hand so that it doesn’t touch the palm
- the fingers are comfortably spread (not stretched)
- the ball makes contact with the entire length of all fingers (not with the tips)
- the left hand does not grip the ball, it only supports the ball on the shooting hand
4. The shot:
- the shot begins by straightening the knees
- when the knees are straightened, the elbow lifts the ball at the same time
- the wrist then flicks under the ball to give it a backspin (very important)
5. Follow through:
- the shooter should be looking at the basket, not the ball,
shooting hand fingers pointing down as if taking a cookie out of the jar
- the wrist is pointing at the rim
GENERAL SHOOTING TECHNIQUE:
1. Once the shot starts, the ball should move smoothly and continuously until it is released.
2. From the set position the ball should move up and towards the basket (never back).
If the ball moves back the shooting action becomes a throwing action.
3. In the jump shot, the body must get into the shooting position quickly.
The quicker you do this the quicker the ball will be released
and the less chance the defender will have to
stop the shot.
4. To get into shooting position quickly:
i) “slam” dribble to get the ball up closer to the head
ii) get both feet on the floor quickly after ending the dribble and pointed towards the basket.
1. Body position is the most important aspect of defense (between your man and the basket
in a proper defensive stance: feet shoulder width apart,
head up, eyes at the numbers on the balls of your feet, hands at the ready
for a possible steal or block).
2. Never sacrifice your defensive body position for a steal except on coach’s orders.
(Not behind the back steals)
3. When attempting to steal, you must be balanced, so that if it is unsuccessful,
you can recover defensively
and not give up a lay-up (only steal in the direction of the dribble).
If a defensive man beats you,
turn and quickly reestablish a new defensive body position.
4. Overplay an obviously right or left-handed player.
If he beats you with his wrong hand, you must then play
him honest. (Remember this for offense as well)
5. Never cross your feet, a good ballplayer will be making the lay-up
before you recover your body position.
6. Switch only when you can’t fight through a pick.
The man being picked off must drop back quickly
to prevent the pick and roll.
7. The closer your check comes to the basket,
the smaller the distance between you and your check.
8. When your check shoots, jump up with your arm extended straight up
(shooting over an outstretched arm is very difficult).
9. Never leave your feet until the shooter has left his feet.
10. If your check does not have the ball, maintain a defensive position,
so that you can see your check and the ball at the same time (peripheral vision).
11. Never be lazy and watch the ball because your check will sneak up behind you for a return pass.
12. Sliding through (fighting through).
a) defensive men must help each other by calling out the picks “pick left”, “pick right”;
b) the man picked must fight behind the pick if there is no room in front of the pick;
c) help your teammate through the pick (there is no foul for pushing your own man).
13. On ball: Your man has the ball. You are between them and the basket.
One Pass away: Inside hand and foot forward. Hand in passing lane.
Two Pass away: Inside the key. Point so that you see your man and the ball.
1. Body position:
- feet slightly wider than shoulder width
- back straight
- eyes looking at the rim
- knees bent - hips down
- elbows out
2. Time your jump so you reach the ball at the maximum height of your jump.
Extend your arms as high as possible.
3. Grab the ball with two hands and tuck it under your chin.
4. Do not wave the ball in front of you or over your head.
5. Stay high and look for the outlet pass.
1. Anticipate the shot and try to get into rebounding position before your check does.
2. Place your body in the ready position for rebounding between your check
and the basket if possible. Don’t allow yourself to be blocked out.
3. If blocked out, don’t jump into the defender to get the rebound, try to jump straight up
and tap the ball back to yourself or go around him.
“If there is a brick wall in front of you, it is better to go around than through.” -Red Holtzman
4. Don’t give up on a loose ball. The team with the most determination will usually come up with the ball.
GENERAL REMARKS ON REBOUNDING
Take as much room as possible when rebounding.
“Position is the most important consideration.
Boxing out is the secret.” - Red Holtzman
Basketball - Basic Offence
A) STAGES IN PLAYING OFFENCE
1. Gain possession of the ball
i.e. rebound, steal OR inbound the ball
2. Bring the ball into the offensive zone
- may develop into a scoring attempt (fast break)
3. Enter into offensive choices
- how do I get the ball?
- what do I do when I get the ball? (4 choices)
B) ORGANIZING OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT
- offensive players will always see the ball, and attempt to make eye contact
with the player holding the ball
- players holding the ball will face the basket in a triple threat position
- players will attempt to catch the ball within their shooting range (a threat to the defence)
1. How do I get the ball?
a) cut to the ball
b) cut to the basket
c) combination cuts
i.e.: backdoor cut
2. What do I do when I get the ball?
Exercise basic choices in priority order:
IMMEDIATELY face the basket
1st Choice: pass the ball to a teammate who is under the basket
2nd Choice: take the ball to the basket (drop step or drive by)
3rd Choice: shoot the ball
4th Choice: pass and MOVE.
3. How do I help a ball handler in trouble?
- make myself visible by moving into an open space toward the ball.
These basic skills should be taught as a foundation for team offence.
1. Protecting the ball
2. Pivots, front and reverse
- change of direction
- change of pace and direction (V cut)
4. Catching the ball with a: 2 foot stop, 1-2 stop.
5. Drop Step
6. Triple threat position
7. Triple threat and drive by
8. Basic shooting
- strong hand lay up
- set shot
9. 3 ways to get open and receive a pass on the wing.
Basketball - Team Offence
BASIC AWARENESS TO DEVELOP IN PLAYERS
1. Teach players why they are doing things, not just what to do.
2. Emphasize court balance, movement and eye contact.
3. Teach players to be in control.
4. Instill judgement in players - i.e., was the cutter really open?
5. Develop in each player an overview of the total offence.
6. In attacking a defence:
a) teach players what to look for in applying individual moves and how to recognize that it has worked.
b) react to definite stimuli, i.e., why did you throw the pass?
c) attack specific weaknesses - have definite purpose.
NOTE: In evaluating specific plays, ask players to identify what they were reacting to, looking for, etc...
PLAYERS - TRAIN YOUR ADULT!
Ask the following questions in this order:
1. Did you have fun?
2. Did you learn something?
3. Did you play your best?
4. Did the team play well
20 Basketball Tips for Dribbling
1) Working on the basic dribbling technique
The basic basketball tip for dribbling is done by cupping the fingers spread comfortably
with the dribble being a push-pull motion of the arm, wrist, and fingers.
Start the dribble with an elbow extension and flex of the fingers and wrist.
As the ball bounces back up,
meet it with your fingers.
Your wrist will absorb the force. Control of the ball comes from the fingers and pads of the hands,
below the fingers. Palms are not used to dribbling a basketball in most circumstances.
Practice dribbling with your hand the following areas of the ball: directly on top, in front,
behind, right side and left side.
2) Controlling the low dribble
This basketball tip for dribbling is when the player is closely guarded.
The body is kept between the body
and the ball and the defender. This dribble is done at knee level or lower,
and slightly away from the body,
so the defender has more difficulty attacking the ball.
Advance the ball with a step and slide movement.
Advanced players will be able to raise their non-dribbling arm
and keep their dribbling arm close to their body.
Dribbling with the head up and not looking at the ball will enable the dribbler to spot open teammates
or openings to advance the ball.
3) Creating speed through the high dribble
High dribbling is an advancement strategy to move the ball up the court quickly, drive to the basket,
or follow a steal in the open court. The body is kept almost fully erect, and by leaning over slightly,
the dribbling arm is extended fully, pushing the ball out in front.
The ball in this basketball tip for dribbling is near waist level or even higher to maintain speed.
As we’ve mentioned previously, keeping the head up and looking forward rather than
down at the ball will increase confidence in this technique and others.
4) Crossing over into the crossover dribble
Players confronted with a defensive situation of an attacking player can use this dribble
to change direction quickly. The dribbler pushes away from their dribbling side
towards the opposite foot and bounces the ball across the body while flicking the wrist and fingers.
Optimal performance in this technique included flicking the ball with the dribbling hand
by pushing from slightly outside the ball. This is a low bounce dribble maneuver for speed and elusiveness.
The step with the foot on the receiving side of the receiving hand will allow the ball to go on a short hop.
Quickness is important with this basketball dribbling fundamental. Players should watch for ball exposure
to the defending player if this basketball tip for dribbling is not done correctly.
5) Change direction with the reverse dribble
Another change of direction technique is the reverse dribble.
If the aforementioned crossover dribble cannot be used because of defensive positioning,
this dribble can be used to spin away while keeping the body between the defender and the ball.
Advanced players can perform this dribble without losing sight of teammates and the basket.
This dribble comprises moving right to ultimately go left.
The left foot pivots as the player spins in the opposite direction with their back to the defender.
Obviously, this dribble can go in the opposite direction.
6) Change your pace with the change-of-pace dribble
Adjusting speeds while dribbling is another smart way to avoid defensive challenges,
especially in an open space on the court.
The deception here is the key as the defender believes the dribbler is slowing down,
but the speed is increased quickly. As the player slows down, the body is straightened slightly,
and the left foot is planted.
Creating the illusion that the player will stop is the key to this basketball tip for dribbling.
Speeding up quickly with a low dribble as mentioned before will enable the player
to proceed past the defender.
Good dribblers will practice this by adjusting speed in their dribble many times.
7) Dribbling backward with the behind-the-back
There are other change-of-direction moves to consider.
Dribbling with the right hand, the player slides their hand to the outside the ball and puts their weight
on their right foot. It starts with flicking the ball behind the back above the back of the knee
and across the back of the thigh as the left foot moves forward.
Catching the ball with the opposite hand and continuing dribbling are the final elements
of this deceptive maneuver.
The left leg should be forward enough, so the ball has room to go under the legs
and back into the hand for a smooth transition.
8) Slowing it down with the pull-back dribble
Unfortunately, in basketball, the player will ultimately find that there are no more dribbles
to effective outmaneuver the defensive. Often the dribbler will encounter two or more players in front.
Essentially, this is another change-of-pace move to stop
and take two steps backward away from the defense.
An effective dribble after going backward would be the step-slide movement
by pushing off the front foot
and sliding back with the rear.
10) No surrender with the retreat dribble
Also known as the push-pull dribble, the ball is dribbled at a moderate height forward
and back in a rocking movement.
Using the right hand, the player makes a stance with their left foot in front while the right foot is
to the rear and the knees bent. To dribble the ball back and front, place the hand on top
and towards the front of the ball, and then push the ball to the back.
11) Figure out the figure 8 pattern dribble
Basketball tips for dribbling can be fun and creative too. This dribble forms a figure 8 pattern through legs.
Standing with feet apart, the player begins dribbling the ball using the right hand in front
and then through the legs, switching with the left hand and then from the back,
around the left side to the front and then back through the legs.
The right hand is behind the body and around the right side.
This dribble is best done with a low stance and quick ball maneuvering without losing control.
Quicken the speed when you become better in this dribble drill.
12) Crossover to the killer cross
The killer crossover is done by combining one between the legs dribble with one crossover.
Start the move while moving forward toward a defender.
Attempting a between-the-legs dribble with a right foot plant should make the defender lean/lunge
to the right expecting the player to go right.
Staying on the planted right foot, complete a right to left crossover, pushing off that
right foot to explode left.
13) Double trouble with the double inside out
This move combines two inside-out dribbles to confuse the defense.
The first inside-out dribble should go one way and as soon as the ball comes up to reach
across with the left hand and pull it back to the left.
This can also be done going the other direction.
The deception here is key and advanced dribblers can incorporate
change-of-pace or other tricky moves to “sell” the move to the defender.
14) Jump around with the jump stop dribble
This dribble takes advantage of the two-step before shooting rule in basketball.
Use either foot to pivot with the alternate foot and take a step/jab-step.
A jump-stop can be done by picking up your dribble at the end
of the drive and in the same motion hopping laterally
toward another spot on the floor before shooting the ball.
This helps the player quickly transport themselves into a better scoring position
and hopefully loses a defender at the same time.
The player must start the jump stop immediately
after they’ve discontinued the dribble to avoid a traveling penalty.
15) Going up and under
Basketball tips for dribbling include ways to keep opponents from blocking shot
after dribbling to a complete stop. Once stopped and a shot-blocker has emerged,
launch into the air and extend the ball as if attempting a lay-in.
As the defensive player reaches up for the block, bring the ball back down,
ducking the body under their arm to glide toward the basket.
Bring the ball back up in a scooping motion and try to spin the ball into the basket.
16) Double it up with two-ball dribbling
Dribbling two balls at one time helps players develop ball control.
They can also become stronger at dribbling with their non-dominant hand.
Players have more flexibility in a game when they can comfortably dribble with either hand.
The drill starts by dribbling both balls in unison, then switching,
so the balls are hitting the ground at opposite times. Repeat the drill with the player moving down the court.
17) Move around with the zigzags drill
Dribbling in a zigzag pattern gives players a chance to practice changing directions as they dribble.
In a game situation, this skill proves useful to avoid players on the opposite team.
The players start at one corner of the gym with a basketball. They dribble diagonally across the gym.
When they reach the opposite side, they change directions, moving diagonally toward the other side of the gym
to create a giant zigzag. Continue the zigzag pattern down the length of the gym.
Another option is to have the zigzag on one side of the gym,
using an invisible line down the middle of the gym as the other boundary.
18) Count to the figure 8 dribbling drill
This is a drill to practice ball handling. Dribble the ball as quickly as possible in figure 8 through
and around the legs. Switch from the right to the left and back to the right.
Example: start with the right hand dribblingthe ball in front and then dribble through the legs
with the right-hand, then switch to the left hand
and dribble from the back, around the left side to the front and back through the legs.
19) V-Dribble in front
Start with the right hand and dribble once on the right side. Then dribble the ball in front
as if to cross over to the left side. Roll the right hand over the top of the ball and bring it back to the right.
This drill is important to get the feel of rolling the hand over the top of the ball and can help with the
“in-and-out” dribble move.
20) Leg Circles
Players start with their feet shoulder-width apart. They dribble with their right hand
around their right leg and then with their left hand around their left leg.
Players will then put their feet together and use both hands to dribble around their legs.
They will then go down on their knees and use both hands to dribble around their body.
Players will then bring one knee up and keep one knee down.
They dribble the ball around their body and under their leg and then switch leg positions and repeat.
As you can see, there are a plethora of basketball tips for dribbling. By mastering the many types of dribbles, and practicing them with the appropriate drill will make a better all-around player.