7 Tips for Becoming a Better Basketball Player

Posted by:




Secret #1 Develop Skill Synergy

The fastest way to get better is to learn and practice the fundamental skills. Fundamental skills like passing, catching, shooting, dribbling and basic footwork are as much responsible for basketball success as any cross-over move or behind-the-back dribble.

When you work on and advance your fundamental skill levels, you can develop what I call “Skill Synergy”. Skill Synergy is based on the idea that the better you become at any one particular skill, the better and more developed you will become at each and every other skill. Then with the development of each skill, your entire game becomes almost twice as effective as it was before. Each skill doesn’t just work alone it “stacks” or builds on every other skill. This “synergy” then catapults your game into more advanced levels and makes success in basketball much easier.

For example, if you become better at dribbling, it will automatically make you a better shooter. The dribbling will help you get a better feel for the ball and make you feel more comfortable with the ball. That will automatically help you become a better shooter. But the “synergy” doesn’t stop there. The result is you don’t just become a better dribbler or a better shooter, instead you become a more effective all-around player. The synergy starts filtering out to all phases of your game.

Your entire game will expand quickly because you can expand on each skill learned. That will flow into other areas of skill development. Soon you will be able to do more moves, make more shoots and play more effectively than ever before.

Take Michael Jordan for example. All of his high-flying acrobatic moves and game winning shots were not practiced or planned. Instead, they just happened “naturally” because he had become a master of the simple fundamental skills and applied Skill Synergy to make all those spectacular shots. Remember, however that most of his 32,292 points were compromised mainly of basic fundamental jump shots and lay-ins. Not the SportsCenter highlights he is remembered for. He mastered the basics first, then all those “fancy” moves developed from there.

If you want to become better, learn the fundamentals and practice them. Every skill you learn and develop will help you expand your game to new levels.

Secret #2 Practice The Right Way

One day I was “practicing” and my coach at the time walked by the gym and asked what I was doing. I said I was “practicing”. Then I added, “you know coach, because practice makes perfect”.

Then he said something very powerful to me. He said “No. Perfect practice, makes perfect.”

Him telling me this gave me tremendous insight into what it takes to become a better player. I quickly learned that how you practice and how you perform are directly linked.

By developing Perfect Practice habits and mentality, you can take your game to new levels at a rapid pace.

The wonderful thing about the Perfect Practice mentality is that you can use it at anytime. It doesn’t matter if you are just shooting around with friends or are doing a grueling individual workout. The principles can and should be applied at all times.

Here are my Perfect Practice Principles:

  • Use Maximum Effort and Focus On Every Play.
  • Perfect Repetition, Leads To Perfect Execution.
  • Repetition Is The Key To Skill Improvement.
  • Practice Must Simulate Games.
  • Constantly Analyze Your Results.

Study and use these principles. These principles will save you hours of unnecessary frustration and wasted practice time. Your game will develop at a significantly faster pace and help you reach your maximum potential.

Secret #3 Add Variety

The great thing about basketball is that you can either play on your own or with other people. Basketball can be played in so many ways. Each can help you develop your skills in different ways.

To become the best basketball player you can be, it is important that you practice the game in a variety of ways. Your skills will enhance and you will see faster development.

Here are some ways to add variety to your game:

Practice By Yourself

This is the best way to learn the fundamentals of the game and to develop individual skills. You should spend lots of time by yourself working on different fundamental skills. Get in all the repetitive learning and practice you can with just you and the ball.


Playing 1-on-1 will help you learn how to both score on and defend against a single player. 1-on-1 is a great way to get in lots of repetitions and practice. It is also a great place to use both Skill Synergy and Perfect Practice techniques.


Lots of outdoor or “street” ball tournaments are played using the 3-on-3 format. This provides you with great opportunity to get in even more work on your game. 3-on-3 probably gives you the closet thing to real game simulation without having to run the full length of the floor. You can develop both 1-on-1 moves and learn to play in a team concept while still getting in a good number of personal repetitions.

5-on-5 Full Court

Obviously this is what most “real” games consist of. I recommend that you play as much 5-on-5 as possible. This is the best way to learn the game and develop your total skill package. It is also the best measure of telling you what you need to work on and what areas you need to improve in. If you don’t feel that you are able to score very often then maybe you should do some more 1-on-1 drills or learn to score off the pass in games of 2-on-2.

Playing 5-on-5 will also help your conditioning. Most 5-on-5 games are played using the full court, the others are usually in a half-court setting. Having to run the full length of the court will challenge your skill development because you add in the element of fatigue. The better conditioned you are and the less fatigue you encounter, the more successful your skills will be. Be sure to learn the skills you need by practicing in half-court games. Remember, that you need to develop your conditioning to achieve maximum results when playing in full-court games.

Secret #4 Seek Out Mentors and Be Coach-able

One of the biggest secrets to becoming more successful is to seek out mentors and be willing to learn from them.

Many times people are reluctant to seek out mentors and coaches, because it opens them up to being criticized. However, you can learn a lot from that criticism if you are willing to accept it. If you want to be more successful at anything, then you must find the right teachers and be willing to learn from them and be coached.

This is especially true in the game of basketball. There are lots of great coaches and players out there that you can learn from.

Another key to success is, don’t wait for theses coaches to find you. Instead, be assertive and go out and find them on your own. No matter what level of play you are at, there are lots of people out there that can make you better. It can be a coach, a personal trainer, even a nutritionist; all of these people have valuable information that can make you a better player and a better athlete.

To get the maximum results from this instruction, you must be willing to learn and be coached. I can tell you that virtually every big time basketball coach I have ever talked to says that the one trait that all their “star” players possess is their willingness to learn and listen.

The ability of the human mind and body to learn and process new information is remarkable. If you want to develop your skills to maximum level, then you find people to coach you and listen to them!

Secret #5 Watch All The Video You Can

Watching video is one of the best ways that I know of to get better and learn more about the game. With today’s modern technology, video is easy to get and use. I highly recommended that you get your hands on as much video you can and learn from it.

There are lots of different types of video that you can learn from. First of all, there are all kinds of games broadcast on television. It is easy to tape these games and watch them over and over again. I personally have over 400 games on tape. This has become one of my most valuable resources. I have learned, used, and taught thousands of moves that I have gotten from re-watching games.

Another great resource is instructional videos. There are a lot of different tapes that have been made through the years. Many have much of the same information, but it is important to learn those key fundamentals. Plus, even if you watch 10 videos and only learn one new move, that move could lift you from being an average player to superstar status. (For more information on instructional videos, be sure to check out my personal Dominate The Game instructional DVD video and basketball improvement program at [http://www.basketballpro.com/dominatethegame].)

There is one other video secret that I am almost reluctant to reveal. I find this technique so powerful and helpful that it is just too good to keep secret. It is very simple, but rarely used.

It’s called Self Video Analysis. Many times coaches or parents will make tapes of games and watch them to critique the teams performance or to relive a personal sports moment. This is very useful for this purpose, but it isn’t the kind of video analysis that I am talking about. I am talking about taping yourself when you practice by yourself.

When you are alone working on your game by yourself, tape it. Tape it and watch it. It doesn’t take long to see what you need to work on. This also allows you to start seeing little tiny adjustments in your game and start correcting them. Even little errors can lead to bad habits which can negatively effect your performance.

I especially like to use this technique when working on shooting. Shooting is almost a fine art. Any minor problem can lead to a drop in the amount of shots you make. Tape your shooting practice and then analyzing it. Watch to see if you are using proper form and technique on every shot. Watch and see what is working for you and what isn’t. Watch and you will soon see a dramatic improvement in your shooting performance.

Secret #6 Learn From Different Sources

Basketball is a very popular sport. There are all kinds of books, videos, magazines and newspaper articles out there for you to learn from.

I recommended that you start finding and studying as many as these resources that you can. You will be amazed at all the useful information that you can learn from these sources. I find some “piece” of useful information in almost everything I read, watch, or hear about the game.

The most successful basketball players and coaches I know are constantly reading books on basketball. They read autobiographies on famous players. They read instructional books. They read books on training, books on motivation, books on other sports to see if they can learn something to apply to basketball and make them more successful. These high level coaches and players know that learning from all these different sources is a key to staying on top.

I also know of players that have made entire scrapbooks from newspaper articles that they collected about other teams and players. Then before they would play against them, they would read to be better prepared and to gain an “edge” against them.

I recommended that you start your own “basketball file” and collect or write down all the things you find useful. You can then look at them over and over again and apply them to your game. (Note: Printing out and saving this newsletter is a good place to start you new “basketball file”.)

Secret #7 Become A Better Athlete

I am a firm believer that skill development goes hand-in-hand with athletic development. The better trained you are as an athlete the easier it is for you to develop your basketball skills.

Most athletes struggle not because they lack proper skill, but because they lack the strength, conditioning, and speed that it requires to perform those skills at a higher level. Many times pro athletes aren’t any better shooters or players than some junior high players, but their athletic ability separates them from the rest.

One of the great benefits of training to become a better athlete is that you can often make significant jumps in skill development very quickly. The better trained you are, the faster you will be able to learn new skills. When you’re well trained you can perform skill repetition at maximum speed, strength and conditioning. When you do this, it naturally allows you to develop your game quickly, because your body isn’t holding you back with fatigue. In fact, having a well-trained body is helping you succeed because it just makes every thing easier and allows you to learn faster.

Let me give you a good example. Say that you were in good enough shape to shoot around for 1 hour. In this time, let’s say you could shoot 200 shots. Now if you were in even better shape you could probably shoot around 300 shots. That’s 100 shots more in the same amount of time. This would undoubtedly make you better! Plus, out of those 300 shots, you will make more of them because you are better trained!

Do you see how your game can grow on multiple levels just by training your body? It can have a positive impact in each phase of your game and your development.

I highly recommended that you start training to become a better athlete immediately. There are lots of different programs and training routines out there. Give it a try and watch your results soar!

I hope that these tips were helpful. I am sure that if you start applying these strategies to your game, you will see the results you want very quickly.

If you would like to receive my free basketball pro insider newsletter, then please go to http://www.basketballpro.com and you can sign up for your free subscription

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *