Being able to score the basketball is great, and it can add a lot of value to your game and the team. But if that is all you can offer, what will happen on the nights that you aren't scoring? You are most likely going to be sitting on the bench, hoping you get a chance to go back in.
Also, if you are a player that wants to be the best at whatever level you play at, you have to understand that it is about more than just scoring. If you want to be considered the best player on the floor, there are so many other areas that you must be good at as well. This will not only help your game improve, but it will also add a ton of value to your team.
Lastly, maybe you are a player that is looking to get on the floor anyway that you can. You know that you aren't going to get a lot of looks at the basket while you are in, and you need a way to distinguish yourself to earn more minutes.
Regardless of where you find yourself as a player on this spectrum, these seven basketball skills will add a ton of value to your game. You will be able to become a more complete player, raise your level to become one of the best players in the league, or get the coach's attention so that you can earn more court time.
So take advantage of seven basketball skills that you should be working on outside of scoring and start becoming a more complete player.
If you immediately want to add more value to your game, become a better player on the defensive end of the court. It can be easy to become fixated with working on different shooting drills, ball handling, scoring moves, etc., but becoming a lockdown defender can add a lot of value to your game. You will not only become a better player personally, but you will be able to add a lot more value to your team.
So when you are working out, make sure that you budget time to work on different defensive basketball drills. Spend time working on the proper defensive slide, closeout, positioning, etc. Another great way to work on your defense is to lock in on it any time you are playing pick up, in a team workout, and practice. If you are actively thinking about playing defense the right way, you are naturally going to improve at it.
Turnovers can kill the flow of the offense and allow the other team to get easy scoring opportunities. They are also a great way to get a one-way ticket to the bench. So a great skill to be working on outside of scoring is taking care of the ball. This can be done by working on ball handling, passing, know spots on the floor to avoid, and so on.
When you play, you don't want to play tight and overthink things, but you need to make sure that you are playing smart. Do your best to read each situation and then make a high percentage pass or decision with the ball.
Beyond not turning the ball over, being able to pass the ball is often an undervalued skill. As a player, if you can get your teammates the ball where they can get a high percentage shot, or even if you get a hockey assist (the pass before the assist pass), you are going to be able to open up the whole floor.
Passing is one of the areas that I focus on as a basketball trainer in Tampa, Florida. Regularly I will spend time not only working on passing with my players but teaching them when different types of passes should be used. The more you can get better at this, the easier it will be for you to distribute the ball around the floor to your teammates.
So spend time mastering the different types of passes, and then spend some time watching and studying gameplay so that you can better understand when and where you can be passing the ball.
One of the best times to score is in transition before the defense can get set. This is only an option, though, if you are willing to get out and sprint in transition. If you can consistently get up the floor before the defense gets back, you will be able to get open shots, layups, and dunks.
This only happens, though, if you are in great shape, and then also thinking SPRINT as you go up the floor in transition. There are players in the NBA that have made millions of dollars by being able to do this. They play their part on defense, and then they sprint as hard as they can up the floor every time, whether they end up getting the ball or not.
This second part is key, because your sprint may force the defense to guard you and open up the floor another teammate that is sprinting. So regardless of whether you are going to get the ball or not, sprint the floor every time.
Most players think about setting screens to help a teammate get open for a shot. And while this is true, setting great screens will also help you as the screener get open. What do you think is going to happen after you set a couple of great screens, and your teammates end up with a couple of easy baskets? What is going to happen is the other team's defense is going to have to adjust. This means showing harder, leaving early, cheating the play, etc. All of this allows for the screener to be able to slip, roll, and pop. This only happens, though, if you are first willing to set a great screen.
So when you are playing, make sure that you are taking a good angle to the screen, get set with a wide base, and then react out of it. Also, spend time watching other great screeners. Learn how and when they are setting screens, and also some of the different tricks that they use.
Regardless of what position you play, or how big you are, you can be a great rebounder. It may not even mean getting the board, either. If you can consistently box your man out, you have done your job. On offense, if you can sneak in and get a tip-in or grab a board for another offensive possession, you are tangibly adding value to your team. So on either end of the floor, give effort on the boards.
When you are practicing and working on your game, spend time working on rebounding drills. You must get these valuable reps and work on going and getting the ball with two hands. In games, work on fighting on the boards and competing on every shot. There is a lot of technique that goes into rebounding, but it also comes down to who wants it more. So be that player that always wants it more than anyone else.
This skill goes partly along with scoring as it is a way to get to the free-throw line and get points, but a player that can draw fouls is able to put a lot of pressure on the defense. This will not only lead to more potential trips to the free-throw line, but it will also put the other team in foul trouble, and set the tone of being aggressive for your team.
Some great ways to do this is by using your body (while staying under control), being crafty, selling your moves (shot fake is a great one), pushing in transition, taking charges, and so on. So when you are working on your game, visualize these opportunities, and then when you are playing, focus on taking advantage of them.
The more you play and study the game of basketball, you will realize that there are so many areas to work on outside of scoring. So while these seven are an excellent start, there are still more out there that you can be focusing on as well.
Also, it is essential to remember that you will get so much more accomplished if you work both smart and hard. So while there are some excellent tips in this article, there are plenty more details for each of these seven skills. Luckily, for you, there are plenty of basketball websites out there for you to get more information. It is up to you to take advantage of them, though.
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