Basketball Skills - Tips and Tricks

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Basketball (Basketball Facts and information), like many other things, can be self-taught. Michael Jordan's phenomenal success is partly attributed to his great coaches and trainers, but the person who deserves most credit for his accomplishment is Mr. Jordan himself. Despite having his blessed talent, Jordan never slacked off his practice or overlooked its importance. Consistent practicing is by far the most crucial key to becoming an excellent basketball player.

Featured in this article are some cool tips and clean tricks on ballhandling, passing, shooting and rebounding that you need to know in order to enhance your basketball skills. Some complicated tricks in this article are demonstrated by famous NBA players such as Michael Jordan, Yao Ming and Dwyane Wade, which makes it even more fun and easier to learn.


First, you need to learn how to handle the ball effectively or in other words, how to dribble well. Dribbling a basketball may seem easy, but to dribble smartly and give your defender a hard time, you've got to learn some special tricks and practice diligently.

Basic Tips: Dribbling Dos and Don'ts

Use your fingertips, NOT your palm

At the end of practice, check your hand. If your palm is clean and your fingers are dirty, it means you're dribbling correctly.

Do not overdribble

Do not keep dribbling until you are no longer guarded. You should pass the ball as soon as you see a teammate become open. If you keep dribbling, your teammates will stop trying to get open after a while, as they know they won't get the ball from you.

Dribble by feel

Learn to dribble by feel so that you can always keep your head up to spot defenders and open teammates.

Push the ball hard and keep your hand low

Quick defenders have plenty of time to steal the ball, from the moment you push the ball to the floor until it bounces back to your fingertips. Hard dribbles shorten the time that you have no control over the ball and accordingly, minimize the risk of losing the ball to your defender.

Trick #1

The Sweep

Imagine you are in triple threat position on the wing, and the defender has his left foot forward, which takes away your right-hand dribble. Now what would you do?

Here is where the sweep comes in. Quickly shift your weight from right to left. Sweep the ball across your belly, then move your right foot outside of the defender's right foot, blocking him off. Then do a hard left-hand dribble or two, and you're on your way to the hoop!

But be careful not to hold the ball too far away from your body, for it will likely be poked away by the defender. When you become more proficient on this move, try throwing in a head fake to the right so that the defender may go off-balance and you can get even more room.

Trick #2

The Spin

When you are in the open court and the defender has your path to the basket cut off, a spin dribble could be a smart solution. To execute a spin move (presuming you are right-handed), dribble hard with your right hand toward the defender, then stop with your left foot forward and planted. Make a swift 180-degree pivot off your left foot. Switch hands half-way through the rotation and dribble with your left hand instead. As soon as your back faces the defender, do another 180-degree pivot off your right foot and you will be facing the hoop again.

The downsides of this move: 1.) While spinning, you momentarily can't see the basket or cutting teammates. 2.) Other defenders may be able to read your spin and double team you in your blind spot. 3.) Doing a spin move too fast can throw you off-balance quite easily.

Trick #3

Change-Of-Pace Dribble

When you see a double-team coming, slow down, plant your front foot, straighten up slightly and keep your head up. The purpose of this move is to fool the defenders into believing that you are slowing down. As you straighten up, they will instinctively straighten up too. And that's when you've got them! Accelerate by pushing off your lead foot, race past your defenders and head to the hoop.

Trick #4

Behind-the-Back Dribble

It is a high-risk move, so use it only in one-on-one situations. Never do it when you are doubleteamed. And don't do it just to impress your fans. This technique works best when your path is blocked; there is not enough room for you to do the spin, and you don't want to cross the ball over in front of the defense. Simply step your left foot forward and throw the ball from your right hand to the area where your left foot was. However, try not to wrap the ball around your body too much because it will give your dribble topspin.

Trick #5

Ambidextrous Dribble

Whether you are right-handed or left-handed, you can always strengthen your weak hand and become a doubly effective ballhandler. Being able to dribble with both hands equally well makes you an unpredictable player, which means the defender will have to work twice as hard to figure out which way you are going.

Here are some tips on how to strengthen your weak hand:

  • Dribble 100 times with your weak hand before practice and work your way around imaginary defenders.
  • Play a one-on-one game against someone who is much younger or smaller than you. But to make it a fair game, tell your puny opponent that you will dribble and make all baskets only with your weak hand.
  • Try to develop dexterity by using your weak hand even when you are not on the basketball court. Use it when you brush your teeth, eat, vacuum the floor, etc.

Trick #6

Crossover Dribble

It's basically just a weight shift that allows you to use your momentum toward the basket to your advantage. Unlike the spin, when you do crossover dribble, you are not forced into a blind spot, which means it is easier to dump the ball off when you get doubleteamed.

Presuming you are being overplayed to the right, push off hard toward your left foot and move the ball across your body on a diagonal path. Receive the ball with your left hand. Then make a long crossover step with your right foot, and you're on your way to the hoop.

Cautions: 1.) Don't use this move when you are guarded too closely; it is very easy for the defender to tip the ball away. 2.) Don't reach across for the ball with your left hand. Just let it bounce to your left side. Reaching over exposes the ball to the defender and often makes you dribble the ball off your foot.

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