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8 Ways to Become a Better Basketball Player

June 3, 2012

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Whether you're the best player on your team or you hold down a spot at the end of the bench, you always have room for improvement. Elite players like Kevin Durant and LeBron James work tirelessly to improve their skills, conditioning, basketball IQ, strength, power and agility. It takes time and dedication to become great at basketball. Incorporate these tips into your daily routine, and watch your court skills soar.

How to Play Basketball Better

1. Be Fearless

Never fear failure. When you're afraid to fail, you're usually afraid to try. Do you avoid lifting weights because you're physically weak? Do you hate stepping up to the foul line during practice because you're a bad free throw shooter? You're probably afraid to fail and expose your weaknesses. No matter what your friends, family or others think, dedicate time to improving yourself. Don't worry about your reputation. Failure is temporary; use it as a learning experience and you will improve as a player.

2. Stop Complaining

Do you blame your coaches for your lack of playing time or compare your work ethic to that of other teammates? If your peers get away with something, do you feel like you can do the same thing? Stop complaining and eliminate your excuses. At some point everyone feels tired, hungry, upset or stressed. Such emotional distractions limit your ability to improve. 
Try to look at any situation from a different perspective, eliminate negative thoughts and emotions, and accept that events are not always within your control.

3. Increase Your Position IQ

Become a student of your position by understanding the skills, fundamentals and conditioning required. Knowledge about your position should determine your training focus. When you know what types of passes, dribbling, skill work and strength are required for your position, you'll have a clear idea of the skills you need to improve. For example, if you're a center, focus your training time less on full-court dribbling and more on rebounding and post drills.

4. Know Your Role

Remember, you play a team sport. Not everyone can be the leading scorer, best shooter or top performer all the time. It's not about you; it's about your team. Have you ever considered your team role? If not, discuss it with your coach. Knowing your role will help you focus your time on skills your team needs. Thoroughly understand your team's style of offense and defense so you can contribute to a successful season.

5. Study the Game

Through websites like YouTube and STACK.com, knowledge is available to those who are willing to seek it. Use videos to learn about your position, game strategy and on-court decisions. You will dramatically increase your coach's trust in your game, which should result in more playing time. Many players have a high skill level but a low basketball IQ. Dedicate yourself to understanding your game and becoming an all-around performer.

6. Give 100 Percent Effort

Give 100 percent every time you train, play or practice. Don't let excuses or complaints get in the way of your effort. Always be willing to accept criticism from those with more experience. After receiving criticism, continue to give all you've got. Improving means learning from your mistakes and always trying your best.

7. Train Your Body

Sure, you love playing and refining your skills, but are you also working on your physical abilities? Spend time enhancing your strength, mobility, power, speed and agility. Improving your athleticism will translate to better on-court performance.

8. Improve Your Skills

If you've followed all the other suggestions I've listed here, it's time to design a program for improving your skills. Knowing your role, strengths and weaknesses helps you concentrate on the skills your team needs most. Now that you are equipped with the tools of success, make a plan and put it into practice. Design a custom plan that's right for you through the STACK Performance Center. Train hard, play harder.

Topics: BASKETBALL
Courtney Campbell
- Courtney Campbell is the owner of Train to Ball and the head strength and conditioning coach for boys basketball at Gainesville High School (Gainesville, Fla.)...
Courtney Campbell
- Courtney Campbell is the owner of Train to Ball and the head strength and conditioning coach for boys basketball at Gainesville High School (Gainesville, Fla.)...
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