The Best ways to Prepare Your Body for a Basketball Game

Basketball is one of the most demanding sports that a person could play. This is because of the constant movement and changes one will have to perform in the course of the game. All that jumping, running, stopping, will take a toll on the body especially those that are not in tip-top shape. To best prepare your body so that you can endure a full game without having to gasp for air afterwards, we will take a look at a number of things that you could do to increase your stamina and strength.

 

Core workouts

Working out your core is not only important for basketball, for any activity. In basketball, you will need to have superior balance because of the constant movement and change in direction. This is one secret of the best defensive players in the game such as Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard. If you watch them play, they have the ability to stay in front of their men even if these players are very fast. This is because they have great condition and balance in their bodies and the way to achieve this is working your core.

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Lower body workouts

Another important part of your body used in basketball is your lower body. These are your legs, which you need to run around the court. This is especially true if you play fast, as the constant running up and down the court requires a lot of leg strength to maintain. Also if you tend to jump around a lot, lower body strength is imperative as it takes a lot of effort for your legs to jump around. Lower body workouts are also a great way to prevent cramps and injuries in-game, as strong legs have the strength to withstand constant punishment.

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Upper body workouts

While not as important as the first two, working your upper body still has benefits for basketball. This is especially true if you are a big who likes to mix it up inside the paint. Strong upper bodies would have an easier time playing inside the paint as a lot of contact will involve the shoulders and arms. It’s also important if you like to penetrate as the additional strength gives you the ability to finish strong around the hoop even if you are hacked.

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Mental preparation

Not to be forgotten and sometimes the most important factor of all, is mental preparation. Basketball not only tests your body, but your mental fortitude as well. Concentration and focus is imperative if you want to win consistently. Take a moment before each game and just relax. Focus on what you need to do and how you will do it. If you need to focus on your opponent and find anything that you need to be motivated, then do so. This is how some players, like Michael Jordan and Kevin Garnett, motivate themselves, by getting themselves angry at their would be opponents.

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These are just some tips in order to be able to play basketball without having to catch your breath every time you run down the court. Of course these are just some of the essentials you need to do as there are a lot of factors to consider when maintaining your body in tip top shape. It also helps if you are mentally prepared for your preparations and the game itself as discussed above because if you watch a lot of basketball, there are many players who are not really gifted physically but because of their mental fortitude and smarts, can hang with the best of them.

Why Employ a Slow Paced Offense

Just by hearing the words “slow paced offense”, it can already put some people to sleep. Most people watch basketball to be entertained, which means fast breaks and highlights. However it does not always translate to wins, especially if the players on a team are not athletic enough.

 

Sometimes, you have to deliberately slow down the pace of the game. This will mean every possession will count more, resulting in a higher concentration and focus requirement. In this article, we will discuss the numerous positive effects of having a slow paced offense.

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Can read the defense

One of the most important reasons for using a deliberately paced offense is to see what the defense will give you. This is especially effective against teams that are not known for their defense. This is because once you slow down the pace and see what your opponents’ strategy when defending you, you can therefore execute the play that would give you the best chance of scoring or drawing fouls against the opposing team’s top player.

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Will have a better chance of winning against athletic teams

When playing against young and super athletic teams and you have a hard time keeping up with them, your best bet is to actually slow down the tempo whenever you have possession of the ball. This way, you will have more time to set up your offense and see what their defensive strategy is, not to mention that it will be easier to your team’s stamina as the up and down running would stop momentarily. Another thing this does is that it stops the momentum of the other team, who is used to running up and down the court all the time.

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Will test the patience and concentration of the opposing team

Another advantage of slow offenses is that because they are so slow, the opposing team will have a hard time concentrating on what you are doing. Their focus will be lost a lot of the times as it is human nature to be impatient on anything. This creates opportunities for easy baskets as the defense will collapse due to lack of concentration. Of course your team should be always alert for these opportunities and do not let them go.

 

The fact is fast paced offenses are really the most fun to play and this is especially true for really athletic players. But not everybody is athletic and slow paced offenses kind of even out the competition as this will give anybody a good chance to win games. Of course even athletic teams can employ deliberate offensive sets, this will be a welcome change and will also get players to think about every move they make, strengthening their mental game.

Advantages of A Fast Paced Offense

If you have watched NBA games from the old days, and compare them to today’s game, you will notice a dramatic change in the pace of the game. This is even more evident when you take a look at the scores. There is a huge difference. This is because of the offense being employed by most teams.

 

Starting from the high scoring Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns from the 2000s, and with this era’s Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors, the offensive game in the NBA has evolved from the slow-paced, defense oriented game of the 90s to this. Let’s take a look at the advantages of employing a high-scoring, high-paced offense.

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Will leave slow teams in the dust

If you use a fast-paced offense and you have the personnel to do it successfully, you will definitely leave slow teams in the dust, with you having a very easy path to the basket. Using this to your advantage will result in a lot of points in a hurry and will leave very little time for your opponents to come up with adjustments, especially if they are not athletic and conditioned enough to keep up with your offense.

 

Not that complicated compared to half court sets

When using half-court sets, there are a lot more factors to keep n mind, as the whole team usually has to have total control of the possession. With a fast-paced offense, it’s not a deal-breaker to not deliberately set an offense as there will always be the option to go for a high percentage shot should there be an available one. This is the reason why players have more fun being in a high speed offense as there is not a lot of thinking involved.

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Most players will have fun playing

As mentioned above, players will almost, always prefer a high speed offense, especially the young and athletic ones. This is because it is more fun to move around more rather than thinking about you and your opponent’s next move, which requires a greater amount of concentration. Employing a high speed offense will result in happier players which will also be evident in their overall chemistry with each other.

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Deciding on a fast paced offense is not as simple as it sounds though. Sure, it may look like a simple task to speed everything up in your offense, but you also have to take into account the personnel of your team. If a lot of your players are in tip top conditions, then there would be minimal problems. But if some players have a hard time running up and down the floor consistently, it won’t be as effective as the opponent will surely have an easier time keeping up with your team.

Proper Ball Handling Technique

Everyone who plays basketball for the first time will basically dribble first before shooting. if you play basketball with other people, no doubt you know that dribbling is an essential skill to learn. It’s basically required before you can play with others. Otherwise, you are a walking travelling violation.

 

Learning to dribble a basketball is actually easy. But learning to master it is very difficult. Not all professional players can even handle the ball masterfully. Below we will discuss some tips and techniques in order for you to improve your dribbling skills.

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Keep Your Head Up

One mistake that almost all newbies, and sometimes even veterans, commit, is facing down when dribbling. This is a critical mistake that has a big chance of resulting in losing the ball. When you are penetrating the lane and you are not keeping your head up, you won’t see what your opponents are doing. If you keep your head up, you can see where they might go for a steal or even take a charge. This also makes it easy to make a pass as you can see where your teammates are. When you are facing down, you cannot see them so your only option is to go straight to the hoop, making your move very predictable to the opponent.

 

Bend Your Knees

Another thing to take note of is proper form when dribbling. Aside from keeping the near the ground the entire time, bending your knees will give you a more stable hold of the ball. This happens because your core holds your balance, and when you bend your knees, it’s easier to balance your whole body, making your ball controlling easier.

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Keep Your Dribbles Low

One of the most important factors to keep in mind is to always keep your dribbles low. Keeping your dribble low will give you the ultimate control of the ball, which is essential especially if you are deciding which way to go. Another benefit is that this will make swiping the ball from your hands very difficult. There are countless times that dribbling high will result in a turnover because it makes it easy for the opponent to steal the ball.

 

Practice

Probably the least sexiest, but the most important of all, is practice. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and ball handling is no exception. How do you think players such as Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving can dribble the ball like its sticking in their hands? That’s right, practice. They practiced until they perfected, or came close to perfecting, their ball handling skills. Practice will always improve your skills, regardless of what Allen Iverson says :).

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Ball handling is skills are very important if you want to be a real ball player, but also keep in mind that dribbling is not everything. As your dribbling skills improve, you might not notice that you are holding the ball far too long because you tend to showcase your skills. This would be detrimental to team ball, as first and foremost basketball is a team game. Not also that, you might become a ball hog that nobody would like to play with. So keep in mind to not only practice your ball handling, but also other aspects of the game.

How To Win A 1 on 1 Basketball Game

Basketball is a team sport. Without team work, it won’t be enjoyable to play even if you love the game. However there are times when playing one on one is the best way to showcase your talents. While it is important to be a very team oriented player, your actual talents will actually show on one on one situations. It is not as complex as team basketball, but it is still somewhat still difficult to beat anyone in a game of one on one, especially athletic players. Here are some tips so that the next time you play, you can actually have a chance.

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Protect The Ball At All Costs

Taking care of the ball is very important in a 5 on 5, more so in a 1 on 1 because once you lose the ball, the opponent has a bigger chance of retrieving it against you recovering it. No teammates to help out in this case. You got to learn proper ball handling techniques or if you do not have the will to do it, protect it by always dribbling the ball with your back against your opponent, sort of like posting up, this way the opponent cannot slap away the ball easily.

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Keep Your Eye On Your Opponent

If you have played organized ball, chances are you were taught to keep your eyes on the ball and always be aware of what is going on in the play. In 1 on 1, it is actually better to keep your eye on the opponent at all times. Since he is your only opposition, he won’t pass it to anybody so you do not have to worry about any cuts or incoming screens that may rattle your defense.

 

Go To Your Strengths Offensively

If you ever find yourself at an advantage against your opponent, just go to it every possession. You are against only one person and it would take time, if ever, for your opponent to adjust against you. Whether it’s outside shots, penetration, or post play, just milk it until your opponent figures out a way to stop you. Defensively, if you are having a hard time defending in one area, do your best to push the action to the other side. If you cannot stop your opponent inside, dare him to take outside shots. If he’s a great shooter, stick on him to prevent open shots.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 30: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers battles for position against Tracy McGrady #1 of the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on March 30, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

You could see that a game of 1 on 1 is really not that complicated, especially compared to 5 on 5 or even 3 on 3. If you are not that gifted athletically, which is the reason that some people are hard to beat, you still have a chance if you take note of the points that we have discussed above. Just remember to work hard and never let your opponent get the upper hand on you.

Free Throw Shooting Tips

The free throw is sort of some forgotten skill by basketball players. Almost everyone wants to shoot 3s now but not free throws. Look at the NBA, lots of players are shooting all time low percentages at the free throw line. This does not only happen with big men, but with wings as well. Some guards are the target of “Hack-A-Shaq” tactics. This is quite embarrassing as guards should be able to hit their free throws.

 

In this article we will look at some tips which you could use to improve your free throw shooting. With all the rage for 3 pointers and highlight reels, sometimes you have to go back to the basics in order to improve the fundamental skills required to be a great ball player.

April 22, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) shoots a free throw basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half in game two of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

 

Use Your Hips and Knees

This tip is not only for free throws but for every shot, use your knees and hips for power. Using just your wrist to take a shot is not ideal as it will be stressed due to using too much strength .The wrist is used to guide the ball, not to launch it. Bending your knees and harnessing that power together with your hips will create a force that is enough to propel the ball, with your wrist just in there to guide the ball, making it more accurate.

 

Use Only Your Shooting Hand

When it comes to releasing the shot, try your best to do it by just using your shooting hand, with your offhand just there to guide it. The moment you use two hands to shoot the ball, this becomes unreliable as it is very difficult to use both hands in unison, as hand coordination is very hard to do. Unless you are a professional shooter that has done this for years (think Reggie Miller, who uses both hands), using only your shooting hand to release the ball is the most reliable way to shoot.

 

Clear Your Mind

It’s true that when shooting free throws, especially in big crowds, will be mostly mental. There are players who are abysmal free throw shooter during games, but can drill most of their shots in practice. If you are this type of free throw shooter, the best advice for you is to concentrate on the shot, nothing else. It is easier said than done, but maybe you could look up some quick exercises that can help relax you. There are some exercises than can be done in seconds and might help when you are at the stripe and you cannot calm your nerves.

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As you can see, everything is pretty basic, but almost everyone is not following them anymore. In this age of YouTube video highlights, pretty much all anybody wants to do are the fancy stuff, fundamental skills such are free throw shooting are being left out. Young players tend to practice the nice looking moves first and the basic skills last. But by following the simple steps we outlined and discussed, you would actually have an advantage over your competition especially if they are more concerned with their image rather than who would win.

Passing The Ball Properly

Basketball is a team sport so giving the ball to your teammate would happen quite a lot. As such, its a very important skill to learn. Since it is a very basic skill, it is often taken for granted especially young players who only want to do spectacular plays. If you want to win, you need to learn how to properly pass the rock.

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At first thought you may think that it is very easy to do. Once you go through some pointers though, you will know that passing is not just some basic skill that can be learned in a few hours. There are actually a lot of things you need to understand in order to get some awesome passing skills.

 

Use two hands

While it is not essential for veterans, passing the ball with two hands is very helpful, especially for new players. Controlling the ball with one hand can be a bit hard especially if you have small hands. Passing using both hands will help tremendously in controlling precisely where the ball would land, which is your teammate’s hands.

 

Pass to the hands of your team mate

A common mistake by many, especially new players, is passing the ball just to the vicinity where your team mate is. This is very dangerous. When you pass it, throw it to his hands, this is very important especially when he raises his hands, as this is the indication where he wants to catch the ball. When you throw a pass to his lower body, he would have to make an effort to put his hands there in order to catch the ball. This may result in an unforced turnover or even a steal if the opponent has very quick hands.

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Always make the easier pass

Once you have a feel for the game already, you might notice that you could make some fancy plays, especially fancy passes. While it is really tempting to show your skills and impress the crowd, there is always the chance that it could backfire. Opting for the easier pass instead of the fancy one will minimize the risks of a turnover. Fancy passes also do not result in points at the scoreboard so it is unnecessary. Good to look at but not really needed.

 

Make sure your teammate is aware of your pass

Court awareness is every player’s responsibility. If you do not pay attention to what’s happening, it will be your fault if something happens. However, if you are going to pass to a team mate, then it does not hurt if you see first if he knows the pass is coming. If he is not aware, then do not pass and then proceed to tell him what his fault was. This is better than having a turnover happen.

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All of the above points are very important. Not only is it important to know them, they won’t be of any use if you don’t apply them to your game. It may be easy to know them all but once you play the game, there will be times when you forget these things. The only way to know them by heart is to practice them every chance you get. Practice will make your subconscious remember them automatically, which is what makes the best players in the world great.

The Best Way To Play A Team Game

Even in the influx of great one on one players over the last few years, basketball has remained a team game. This will be the case in the foreseeable future as one on one games aren’t really marketable worldwide. This is the reason why it is still important to learn the game as a team sport.

 

You might be a great 1 on 1 player but if you have no idea how to play with other people, you will not go very far, especially if you are looking at a career that may be related to basketball. We will take a look at some key pointers that are very important to keep in mind so that your 5 on 5 game will always be on point.

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 02:  Klay Thompson #11 passes the ball to Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors while Eric Bledsoe #2 and Archie Goodwin #20 of the Phoenix Suns play defense at ORACLE Arena on April 2, 2015 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Know your teammates

One of the characteristics of great teams is that they have great chemistry on the court. This is the result of knowing your team mates very well. I’m not saying go have dinner with them and know their personal details, but knowing their strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies on the court. This will help in your decision making while playing as you will know where to pass the ball, demand the ball, and how to stop the opponents using team defense.

 

 

Know your strengths

If you know what your strengths are, this will greatly benefit not only you, but your team mates also. If you are a great penetrator, you should show this to your teammates so they will know where to give you the ball. If you are a great passer, this will give your teammates ideas on how to get to certain places where they know they will get the ball from you.

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Know your weaknesses

The opposite of knowing your strengths, is knowing your weaknesses. If you know your limitations, then you will not force the action and cause chemistry issues within the team. If you have great awareness with what you are capable of doing, you will pick your spots and this will also give your teammates the knowledge of how to play with you properly. By knowing your weaknesses, you will not do things that you simply cannot do, which causes lots of errors and disharmony on the court.

 

Be unselfish

The best way to win a basketball game is no doubt to unselfish. We all know that Michael Jordan is the best basketball player ever and he is far from being unselfish, but he is more of an exception rather than the rule. The truth is that to win a lot of games and always have a fighting chance, it is important to be unselfish. The benefits are very obvious as the team chemistry will flow naturally and there will be almost no conflicts between team mates due to ball hogging. Being unselfish will also help you develop your off-ball game, which is sorely lacking in today’s game.

 

The points that we discussed are not everything when it comes to winning a team game, but they are the essentials that every basketball player should know. One on one moves are very attractive, especially to young players, but any team that has all 5 players moving harmoniously will almost, always beat a more athletic team that only has showing off on their minds and especially teams that have a lot of very selfish players.