“There are many steps that an aspiring basketball player can take to hone their skills,” says Wardell Stephen Curry II, an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors. Ideally, everyone wants to be the best player on the court and help their team win. However, you don’t become Lebron James overnight. You need to practice, put in huge chunks of time, train and have the perfect mindset to achieve your goals. Even the most competitive players in the NBA (National Basketball Association) train their hardest every day. You’re not an exception! For many players, it’s always fun and exciting learning ways to improve their game. Here are some tips that will give you that extra edge and see you through victory if followed correctly.
Get in Shape
Basketball is a physically demanding sport, so you need to be in good shape. Having a good body frame helps to increase your stamina and your response time. “As a player, you need good endurance to run the court for a full game. Even if you understand core basketball skills, they’ll be of little use if you’re struggling to keep up after ten minutes of play,” explains Curry. A shock program combined with physical training is ideal. “If you want to build endurance, you’ll need to go on light runs, hit the gym to gain some muscle, and perform wind sprints exercises every day,” adds Curry.
Learn to Dribble
The benefits of learning how to dribble cannot be overstated. Do as many dribbles as you can when starting. You will need to feel how the ball moves and responds to the pressure you put on it. As a beginner, it’s recommended to exercise with each hand to get comfortable switching from left to right positions. Try and alternate bouncing the ball quite hard and quite softly. An excellent dribbling exercise is to dribble 25 times with your right hand, switch, and then dribble the same count with your left hand. Do four to five sets of each before and after your basketball routine.
Be Mentally Tough
An excellent way to improve your mental toughness is to put yourself in a situation where you are uncomfortable and competing at a high level. As a beginner, this makes things much easier when you’re going against your peers. Consider surrounding yourself with expert players who understand the game. This helps you gain insights on movement, spacing, defense, and other aspects of the game that are more of a feel and are challenging to teach. Get out of the comfort zone and play at your local park, where the competition is high. Naturally, you’ll be shocked at how much you can learn from other players out there.
Have the Right Gear
Overall, there’s very little you need to get started. However, it’s in your best interests to get a good pair of basketball shoes as the wrong type could leave you with an injury. Basketball involves a lot of jumping and running. This means good support and cushioning are extremely important. You can get high-top shoes that provide more support for your ankles. However, you might feel them a little heavier when playing.
On the other hand, mid-top shoes are a lighter choice, but ankle support is poor. Shop around and pick the best pair to suit your needs. Additionally, your choice of shoes also depends on your position and the level of competition you’ll be playing at.
Practice and Train at Game Speed
“Any player can use good form when training solo or during shooting sessions. However, it becomes a challenge to maintain the same form during a game when the pressure is on,” explains Curry. If you are great during practice sessions but take poor shots or dribble badly in a real game, it means you are not practicing at game speed. “Try and mimic a real game when you’re practicing alone. Imagine that defenders are guarding you to mimic the pace of a game,” adds Curry.
Many players underrate the power of warming up before a game. However, warming up has its advantages. It reduces your chances of getting injuries efficiently. This increases your ability to perform during the game. Generally, basketball is a fast-paced sport, so a sufficient warm-up to prepare for the game is essential.
Remember: master some basketball skills before moving on to others. Your confidence grows by mastering a few skills before moving to other complicated moves. It’s also in your best interests to get good gear and a good coach or mentor. You can join a club where professional coaches can point you in the right direction and help you develop your skills. Finally, watch your favorite players and learn from them.