The Harlem Globetrotters have been entertaining basketball fans around the U.S. and across the world since 1926.
Harlem has a vibrant history outside of basketball. The team is known for skill and showmanship that transcends the usual basketball game. To play like the Harlem Globetrotters takes more than ball spinning and trick dribbling. Watching NBA teams rule the court with accurate shots, quick passes and thrilling plays may motivate you to take up the ball.
As a basketball player, there are several drills you can take to improve your skills.These include working on everything from ball control to building endurance. It is the only way you can elevate your game and increase your chances of winning a game. In this guide, you get to learn techniques for improving your basketball game like a pro.
Basketball drills and exercises to improve your skills
In basketball, hard work and consistency are essential so keep that in mind as you develop your practice routine.
Focus on ball control
The easiest way of becoming a better basketball player is through the development of stronger dribbling skills. So, take the time to do basketball handling drills to improve ball handling. To work on this skill, you need to be in an athletic stance: Keep the nose behind the toes and hips loaded while avoiding leaning the body forward.
Balance is vital in ball handling, so keep the body static but in an athletic position. In this position, start moving the ball around your body. Dribble aggressively when handling the ball while retaining it on the side of your foot.
Also, ensure the bounce height is between the hip and knee. It is the sweet spot when dribbling since it keeps the ball close to the shot pocket. This way, you become an efficient shooter. With more power in each dribble, you will get more ball control. In your daily practice, dribble with both hands.
Try mastering basic ball-handling moves, like, the crossover, behind the back and between the legs. With such a strong foundation, you can develop combination dribbles you can use in games. The skills will help create open jump shots and beat defenders.
Improve weak spots
Like in any sport, to be a better basketball player, you must identify your weaknesses and endeavor to improve. For instance, if you have problems at the free-throw line, devote more time to improving. Focus on enhancing your free throw percentage during the training sessions.
Also, if you are not comfortable dribbling with your non-dominant hand, work on improving ball handling with that hand. To be an elite player, you must identify and remove flaws to be an all-around player.
Practice at game speed
During shooting or solo dribbling sessions, any player can be in good form. However, maintaining that form in a game with all the pressure can be challenging. If you excel in practice but perform poorly in the actual game, chances are the practice session is not at game speed.
When practicing alone, pretend to play against defensive players to mimic the pace of a game. Defenders will not give you time to plant your feet and take your shot in the actual game. So, as you practice taking shots, try moving at the pace of the game. Otherwise, the practice will not translate well during the game.
Improve physical fitness
To run the court for the duration of a game, basketball players need good endurance. If you struggle to keep up after 5 minutes of play, you will not be able to help your team even if you master fundamental basketball skills.
To develop your endurance, you should make light runs, visit the gym to gain some muscle and do wind sprint drills each day. Integrating these endurance-building drills into your everyday routine will improve your stamina. The muscle you gain will help you become an aggressive player.
Work on your shooting mechanics
Great shooters in basketball rely on solid mechanics. All the parts of the body collaborate to create the foundation of the shots. All good shots start in the lower body. Start by pointing the toes in one direction by first squaring them with the rim and practicing to get the natural position for your body.
The legs deliver power and consistency, so push your feet arches into the floor. Ensure the knees remain behind the toes and concentrate on letting energy and power flow from the feet up through your glutes and hips. Remember to flex the legs on each shot.
To practice lower body mechanics, you do not need a ball. You can do so by standing in front of the mirror. The focus should be on the foot position and lower body alignment. Also, pay attention to loading your hips, moving the shooting hand up in a clean line and release once the elbow reaches above the eye.
Work on beating your defender
To score against a defender entails forcing them to choose and then reacting to their decision. Focus on the location of your defender’s nose, feet, and hands since they determine how you should handle the ball. Leverage more space by pushing your shoulder against the defender’s chest, making your body shield the ball.
The use of a pull dribble lets you make defenders react, allowing you to counter. If that does not provoke the defender to guard you tightly, try using a plyo step to move past them. When the defender squares you up, step back and shoot. In case the defender overcommits, counter in the opposite direction.
Practice hand alignment on the ball
The position of the hand is essential if you want to become a consistent shooter. It influences the feel, connection, control through release and proper spin. Using your dominant hand, place the index finger on the ball’s air valve to look for the correct hand position.
Take a few shots to get used to this central position. Ensure you always hold the ball using your finger pads to allow breathing space between your palm and the ball.