Basic basketball skills are essential to your success on the court.
Before you can become a master at dribbling, shooting or passing, you must be able to move around the court quickly and efficiently. The basic offensive skills are being able to change directions, accelerate and stop suddenly while staying balanced.
So stop suddenly what you’re doing and get to work on the fundamentals we’ve laid out for you below. Quickly.
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Basic Offensive Basketball Skills and Fundamentals
Basketball Skill #1) Body Balance
Your overall balance is controlled by your head, feet and hands. Keep your head directly above the midpoint between your feet with your chin up. Do not lean. This helps keep control because the weight of your head alone can throw you off balance. Keep your hands close to your body and above your waist with your fingers spread and palms out towards the ball. If you have the ball, hold it close to your chest with your elbows out.
You should be in a slightly crouched position and relaxed, ready for a move in any direction. Stay on the balls of your feet with your weight spread evenly over both feet. Keep your feet spread at about the width of your shoulders.
Basketball Skill #2) Starting
You must be able to accelerate from a stationary position. By paying attention to the fundamentals, you can improve your speed and quickness. Lower your shoulder and lean your head in the direction you need to go. Push off the floor with the heel of your foot and keep leaning as you start forward. To accelerate, use a quick, pumping action with your arms.
Basketball Skill #3) Stopping
When stopping abruptly, there are two methods to use so you end up in a good, balanced position. With the “jump stop”, you jump off one foot and land on both feet at the same time in a parallel or staggered stance. With the “stride stop” (or one-two stop), you land on one foot. With the “stride stop”, you can only use the foot that lands first as your pivot foot, but with the “jump stop”, you can use either foot as the pivot.
These fundamentals are to be used with either method of stopping: Keep your head up and centered over your body as you land with your knees bent. Don’t bend at the waist (keep your back pretty straight) and maintain a wide base for support.
Basketball Skill #4) Changing Direction
When changing direction, keep a low center of gravity with your head centered over your body. Be sure to lower your shoulder in the direction you’re going. As you begin to slow down, plant your outside foot and push off. Then point and step with the inside foot.
Basketball Skill #5) Pivoting
Keep your head up and centered over your body with your feet shoulder-width apart. Knees bent. Make the pivot by raising your heel and turning on the ball of the pivot foot. As always, keep the ball close to your body with your elbows in for protection.
There are two kinds of pivots. Use the “front pivot” when you’re not being guarded closely. For this, you step forward while turning on your pivot foot. Step backward when you’re being guarded closely with the “reverse pivot”. Pivoting is a basketball skill you must learn in order to keep your balance and quickness and to change direction correctly.
Basketball Skill #6) Triple-Threat Position
After receiving a pass, you want to get into the “triple-threat” position so you can quickly dribble, shoot or pass. As you take the ball in, look at the basket (“catch and face”) and put the ball in front of your chest near your dominant shoulder (“shooting pocket”).
The following fundamentals describe the correct “triple-threat” stance: Keep your head up, centered over your body and your eyes on the hoop, but also seeing the entire floor. Be sure your shoulders are facing the basket with your knees bent and weight spread evenly. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Now you’re ready to shoot, pass or dribble.
Basketball Skill #7) Ready Position
When you don’t have the ball, you need to keep yourself ready for anything. With your knees bent and your hands raised above your waist, keep your eyes on your defender and whoever has the ball. Be ready to move quickly in any direction. When you make your move, push off the ball of your foot.