How to Improve Your Basketball Game

Dedication Breeds Success in Basketball

Basketball Practice
Basketball Practice. Mark Kolbe / Staff / Getty Images

Measuring success is difficult, as it could mean something different for each individual. In a basketball sense, success can be loosely defined as being the best player you can be. That could mean playing on the junior high school team, playing on the high school team, playing college ball, playing professionally. or just being a good player in the summer leagues. How much one wants to improve is up to each individual. 

How to Improve Your Game

First, a passion for the game is necessary. Why? Because basketball is a highly intricate and involved game that takes endless hours of work to become good at. To truly succeed at the game you have to do more than just "shoot around." A love of the game is necessary in order to put in the proper work. Basketball, to those who take it seriously, is a year-round sport. 

Play as much as you can; wherever and whenever you can. Basketball is a great game. Have fun. Learn from the players around you. Watch what they do well. What can you do to practice and become as good as your opponents? Do other players have moves that would be effective for you? All great players learn from others.

Also, be aware of what you do well. Practice those things often. Take a strength that you have and make it even stronger. If you are a fair shooter, shoot more and become a good shooter. If you are a good shooter, shoot even more and become a great shooter. Play as much as you can and improve upon the things you do best, while also working on the things you may not do quite as well. 

Learn what you need to improve in. Practice to become competent in skills that you have been weaker in. Work on developing a good, all-around game. 

There are camps, leagues, clinics, intramurals, and plenty of other places you can play. These all serve as opportunities. Join these types of programs and have fun, and always try to learn. Listen to people who are successful and find out what made them successful. Try to model those behaviors.


The more you practice, the better you'll play. When you practice, practice with a purpose. Break the game down into skills you need to improve on and the skills you are good at. As I said, work on improving your weaknesses and work at really making those skills you are good at stronger.

Make a practice schedule and follow it. Time each drill and stay on schedule. Have goals for each practice session and work toward achieving those goals. Work out with a friend so you can help each other and reinforce each other. 

The habits learned in basketball can translate to all aspects of life. The work habits you develop as a player will also help you to become a better student, better worker, better teammate, and a better overall person.

What does it take to become a better player?

• Set Goals
• Work on strengths
• Improve on weaknesses
• Play often
• Utilize clinics, leagues, camps, and programs
• Learn from others
• And most importantly, love the game! Passion is what makes greatness.

Here are some general basketball skills to work on:

  • Work on dribbling with your head up using both hands
  • Shoot as much as you can from inside the key and the perimeter
  • Work on offensive moves off the dribble and before dribbling
  • Work on passing skills-practice with a friend
  • Work on defensive techniques, stance, sliding, and footwork
  • Practice ball fakes, jam steps, and up and under moves
  • Always display a great attitude-listen, learn, and be the best teammate you can