24 Proven Basketball Tips for Beginners that You Can Adopt Today

basketball tips for beginners

Written by Sirikit Elebaran

January 11, 2021


There are many reasons why a person may become interested in how to get good at basketball. Some may want to join a team, play a casual game with friends, or even envision joining the pros. No matter what the primary objective is in choosing basketball, everyone starts as a beginner. Even the pros in the NBA, like Lebron James, had to start out somewhere! 

Starting as a beginner, you first learn the basketball basics and the in-and-out of the sport to get better each day. With unwavering persistence and consistent practice, your game will surely improve. The question now is, how do you get better?

Below, we will discuss some of the key tips for basketball beginners to help you elevate your plays and get closer to where you want to be, in game and life. 

Basketball Tips for Beginners Who Don’t Know Exactly Where to Start

1. Evaluate Your Strengths and Weaknesses

To start this list, you will need a pen, paper, and complete honesty with yourself. The only way to get better in anything is by being aware of what you need to improve. Sit down and take time to write your strength and weakness for the purpose of discovering two things:

  • What are the areas of the game I need to work on? (Weaknesses)
  • What should I focus on executing during games? (Strengths)

Understanding why you need to be self-aware is vital, especially when you are putting together basketball drills for beginners to improve your game. You must be able to look at your plays from an outsider’s perspective and be objectively critical of yourself when needed.

2. Set Clear Basketball Goals

If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.

The simple habit of writing down your goals before starting any work gives you the motivation and the encouragement to do the necessary steps in order to achieve them. These goals can range from small to big goals and can change every time you hit a milestone in your play.

Once you know your weaknesses, as we have done in the first tip, the next step is to improve them. You can follow the SMART template in plotting down your goals to make them as realistic as possible. 

3. Pick a Basketball Role Model

In classrooms, students learn a lot quicker and better when they see a visual example of what they are striving to accomplish— but the example can also be a who. More often than not, you already have a basketball player in mind when you read that first sentence. That athlete can be an NBA professional, a player at your school basketball team, or can be your sports mentor. It can be because you possess the same skills as them, same team position, or maybe simply because they inspire you. 

Whatever the justification, pick someone who motivates you to be a better version of yourself and push you to train every day. After a few years, you can be a person someone can look up to as well. Think about that.

4. Don’t Build Large Muscles

Many basketball beginners are in the race to build large muscles due to the false connotation that a bulky frame translates to formidable strength. No doubt, it is a demand on the court for the players to be stronger than average… but this doesn’t always show physically!

For example, building a large shoulder will cause you trouble during shooting. If you look at the pros, you will observe that they keep their bodies in the limit by developing lean muscles, which is the most ideal if you want to get better as a basketball player.

Strive to build the skills, not the muscle.

5. Practice the Game… Even during Off-Season

As the saying goes, basketball never stops… even during the off-season. Just because most of the players aren’t playing doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stop showing up for practice. Develop your basketball fundamentals in your idle days. Your commitment to getting better never stops when others do. 

Master the art of showing up! If you’re struggling with this, try getting an accountability partner to help you motivate yourself to train on a daily basis. Just don’t stop playing. 

After all, you can never be exceptional if you do the same things the others do.

6. Always Play in a Front Pose

One of the most common mistakes that the players make during the game is turning back to the ball when defending. When you do this, you will be unaware of the changing events in the court because your eyes will be elsewhere. Moreover, turning your back to the ball will affect your overall performance and decision making on the court.

Always remember to execute your plays in a front pose, whether you’re defending, aggressing to the rim, or being on offense. Be mindful of where the ball is at all times.

7. Strive to Be a Great Player… and Athlete

Great players are great athletes. 

While learning basketball drills are essential in elevating your skill, without possessing the mindset and body conditioning of an athlete, you will never reach your fullest potential as a basketball player. Working on being a better athlete will make you faster and stronger. Consequently, making you a more holistic basketball player. 

Combine conditioning with your drills and training to incorporate an athlete’s routine in your athletic endeavors. Conditioning practices you can try are jumping jacks, running, sit-ups, push-ups, or any exercise that will keep you in continuous motion.

8. Be Friend with the Ball

A basketball game involves countless ball passing and catching. Being able to hold and see the ball correctly is critical. Once you have the ball in your hand, you have two options: pass the ball to your teammate or shoot it straight to the basket. Furthermore, you need to be on a constant lookout to keep the ball away from the opposing team. To efficiently execute these motions, you need to have excellent hand control over the ball at all times.

Another tip is to practice holding the ball by using your fingers only and doing it correctly. Always remember that there should be a visible distance between the palm of your hand and the ball. Learn to throw the basketball with the force of your fingers for more powerful shoots.

9. Don’t Be Scared of Playing Defense

Many of the beginners have one thing in common: afraid of playing defense. Against popular belief, learning defense is easier than one may think! Once you’ve learned and practiced dribbling basics, you will discover that the defensive stance is very similar. By knowing both of the stances for dribbling and defense, all you have to do is position your body in the right direction.

Stopping the opposing team from scoring is a score gained by your team too.

10. Train Your Footwork

It is just not the hands that control the ball— your footwork plays a vital part as well. By strengthening and training your ankles and feet, you will gain better control over your overall body movements. Also, by training your feet to move how you want them to, you will better control the ball and all your shots.

To help you train your footwork more effectively…

11. Wear Proper Basketball Shoes

Generally, you don’t need a lot of basketball equipment to get started except for a ball and a good pair of shoes. In a sport that involves a lot of jumping and running, good support and proper foot cushioning are critical to prevent injuries from happening. There are high-top shoes available that provide better support in the ankles but a little heavier when playing. Whereas mid-top shoes are a lighter choice, but the ankle support is not the best quality. Decide what pair will suit your needs, depending on the level of the competition you’re playing and your position in your team.

12. Never Forget to Warm-Up

It is highly encouraged to do a warm-up routine in any sport before starting a practice or a game. Warming up minimizes the risk of injuries and a proven effective way to increase players’ ability to perform. Basketball is a very high-paced sport where a sufficient warm-up is essential to prepare for the game ahead. In making a pre-game routine, make sure to include drills to raise your heart rate and get your blood pumping!

13. Get in Shape

Basketball is a physically demanding sport where you can only perfect your best if your body is in the best condition possible. The better shape you are in, the quicker your response time, and the greater the stamina. Activities like running can help your cardiovascular fitness, and yoga, on the other hand, can increase your ability and flexibility. 

14. Dribble Using Your Week Hand

Dribbling is one of the basketball basics that must come naturally for anyone who wants to play the sport in a more serious context. It’s not enough to be good at dribbling with the use of your dominant hand— training your weak hand is just as important. More so, always keep your head up so you can observe what is happening in your surroundings and dribble as fast as you can while still controlling the ball.

15. Master the Art of Shooting

Shooting is the key to score in a game; dribbling is the way to shoot. When practicing how to shoot, make sure to move from different locations. Never focus on one single area because, in a real game, you will have to take random shots where you have to set the ball trajectory on the spot.

To deliver more powerful shots, make a habit of practicing shooting from a variety of positions. This way, you will discover your shooting range and develop it as your strength. 

For more information about the Art of Shooting, check out this blog post

16. Increase your Vertical Jump

Even though basketball is a sport where height is power, and tall players thrive, developing your vertical jump shouldn’t be overlooked. In a game, the ability to jump high is critical for blocking shots, collecting rebounds, and shooting. This action should be improved through vertical jump training, which will not only increase your jump height but also boost your overall basketball performance.

17. Master the Basketball Fundamentals 

The self-confidence of the athletes grows by mastering the fundamentals, one skill at a time. As a basketball beginner, grasp the basics first rather than attempting to make a perfect slam dunk in your first training session. It is more encouraging to shoot from a short-range from the rim and then gradually extend the distance overtime. 

Control is better than speed, so always trust the process.

18. Lay Off the Caffeine

When you play basketball, you have to stop drinking caffeinated beverages.

Caffeine is a diuretic that will purge your body’s water resources prematurely as you play. Moreover, this can also dehydrate you more quickly that can deteriorate your ability to make your solid jump shot, and cause your brain to lose focus on your defensive roles. Do not be surprised if you crash right around half time of a game.

If you’re planning to play basketball casually, give caffeine a rest for two days before your game. Drink a vitamin pack as an alternative, so you still have energy in the morning if needed.

19. Always Have a Workout Plan

There is nothing more important than having a workout plan of what you want to accomplish every time you step into the basketball gym. What shooting drills do you want to practice? How many shots do you want to throw? What aspect of ball handling can you improve? 

Having a detailed workout plan for the day allows you to stick to the schedule and be efficient with your time. Do your future self a favor and plan ahead.  

20. Keep a Detailed Shooting Log

Great shooters are known for meticulously tracking their shots, most especially their missed ones. When building a habit, it is suggested to track your every move, for you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Also, keeping a score of all your shots makes every single one of them essential, even though it’s in a practice or a real-game setting.

So set your shooting goals and stay committed to them. That’s one proven way to make scores.

21. Practice as if You’re Under Game-like Condition

Another reason why incorporating conditioning into your workout is that it trains your body to practice under a game-like condition. During real games, you’re going to be jumping and running non-stop in an attempt to shoot; you’re bound to get mentally and physically fatigued. That’s why it’s vital to train under these conditions, so you’re more comfortable executing your plays when facing these circumstances during a real game.

22. Upgrade Your Diet

Committing to what seem like little things, such as improving your diet, can give you significant advantages over your competition. Lessen your sugar intake and your fast food binges. Instead, start planning your meals and drink more water.

Commit to doing better. 

23. Take Rest and Recovery Days Seriously

With all the individual training, team practices, and games that basketball players go through on a weekly basis, emphasizing the importance of rest and recovery is crucial for one’s long-term development as a player.

At some point, you will need to recharge your mind and to rest your body so you will be able to continue playing at a high level.

24. Enroll in a Proper Basketball Training Program

This might be the most important among the basketball tricks mentioned here.

There’s nothing wrong with training on your own, but you won’t get very far without the proper guidance and the right people to evaluate your progress. If you’re planning to play basketball for a long time, it is vital to invest in basketball lessons and training programs to help you achieve your athletic goals. In this way, you won’t second guess what you’re doing, and your improvement will be ensured from the start.

How to Get Better at Basketball? Practice, Practice, Practice!

Not a single individual in the world is born talented and skilled in the sport. Practice makes a man perfect. That being said, a player should focus on the basketball tricks and tips of the game.

For the beginners committed to improving their skills further, these basketball tips presented in this blog will surely elevate your plays to help you become a better basketball player. But there’s a catch….

Just simply reading this blog post won’t make much difference if you don’t make an effort to incorporate it into your life. You have to take action— that is how to get better at basketball.

The last and maybe the most remarkable tip of all the basketball tips for beginners I can give you to end this blog would be this:

Tattoo this in your mind, make this your phone wallpaper, say it in front of the mirror:

There is no substitute for hard work.

Find more information about our Fall Training Program at Watts Basketball. Let us help you reach your basketball endeavors, the game-changer way. Schedule now, you don’t want to miss it!


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