There is an old saying that there are 3 kinds of people in the world. Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those that don’t even know that things are happening. That is also a good way to classify basketball players. If you’re like 90% of players, you fall into the category of those that don’t even know things are happening, and you don’t even know it!
Give yourself this short test. Take out a piece of paper and a pencil. Set the timer on your phone to two minutes. Now start the timer and list all of the basketball fundamentals that you need to utilize to be a good basketball player…
Time’s up! Pencils down! I’m sure you listed shooting, passing, and dribbling. If you didn’t list those, stop reading this post immediately.
For those of you who are eligible to continue reading, shooting, passing, and dribbling are important basketball fundamentals, but on this test, you don’t get credit for them.
What we’re after here is to help you to gain a better understanding of the “little things,” yes the basketball fundamentals, you need to do to play this game of basketball well. To become a better basketball player, master the fundamentals. Here are some tips on learning the details of playing basketball that you won’t find from most online resources!
These are tips that you can work on that will give you an advantage to gain playing time on your team and also will give you an advantage over your opponent.
All of these basketball fundamentals require only some concentration, some practicing, and lots of hustling! Are you up for that
1. Play with bent knees. When you are on defense, you are most effective when your knees are bent and you are ready to move. You are least effective when you are standing straight legged. When you have the basketball, have your knees bent and ready so that you can make your move at the exact time that you spot an opening. You might have heard the saying that “the lower player usually wins.” The further you are away from the basket, the more that is definitely true.
2. Catch the basketball with two hands, two feet, and two eyes every time! Reaching for the basketball with one hand is an invitation for a turnover. It also makes it more difficult for you to have your hands prepared to catch and shoot. Leaping toward the basketball to meet the pass every time is another crucial skill that most players don’t execute every time they receive a pass.
Also, if you think that watching the ball all the way into your hands isn’t important, try catching a pass with your eyes closed! The fundamental of catching with two hands, two feet, and two eyes also applies to rebounding as well as catching passes.
3. Never try to dribble a 50/50 loose ball. Use two hands EVERY single time that you go after a loose basketball. Too many players simply try to dribble a loose ball and end up losing it to the other team. Grab the ball with two hands and lift it just under your chin. That is the best place to protect it from your opponents attempts to steal it back. If each player on your team executes the skill of grabbing a loose ball correctly once per game, that gives your team five extra possessions that you wouldn’t have had.
4. Sprint up and down the court. If you can beat your opponent from end to end, you have a much better chance of stopping them when you are retreating to defense and have a better chance of getting open to score when running to offense.
5. Rebound every shot. The best rebounders assume that every shot will be missed as soon as it is released by the shooter. They don’t wait to see if the shot will miss before going after the basketball. They get rebound position as soon as the shot is in the air. If you are on defense, make sure that you perform the fundamental of blocking out when the shot is taken, and if you are on offense, crash the glass and refuse to be blocked out.
6. Be a great teammate! You might not consider this a basketball fundamental, but I do and so do most coaches. Since basketball is a team sport, it stands to reason that it is very important to have team players. Just like not everyone is a great shooter because it takes a lot of work, not everyone is a great teammate because being a great teammate takes a lot of work too.
It is not something that just anyone can do. There is not a basketball coach or player around who does not enjoy having great teammates.
You never stop using your fundamentals. Some players think that you learn the fundamentals at an early age and then move on to the advanced phases of basketball. WRONG!!! Even if you become a college or professional some day, if you want to be the best, you will apply the fundamentals. Listen to coaches or players interviewed when their teams are struggling and they often say, “We have to get back to the fundamentals.”
You never hear a team that is winning and playing well say “We have gotten so good that we are going to ignore the fundamentals of basketball.” That should tell you something. If you want to be a winner, apply the fundamentals every time you play!