How to Become A Better Youth Basketball Player

Basketball is a popular sport that's simple to play, but it can be difficult to look good on the court, especially when you're a teenager. These steps should help you improve at basketball so that you're no longer the kid getting blocked hard and missing the easy shots...

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1. Don't try to be too fancy. Sure, it looks really cool when Kobe Bryant drops a crazy fade-away jumper with two defenders on him, but you're not Kobe Bryant and chances are that you'll fail at trying to make one of those fancy shots. Just play good, simple basketball and execute the fundamentals. You'll look a lot better if you can consistently hit close-ranger two-pointers than if you sink that behind-the-back layup on your 20th try.

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2. Don't hog the ball. Basketball is a team sport, and if you want to win you have to work with the rest of your teammates. Don't always try to dribble past the defenders and score, pass as well especially if you think your teammate has a better chance at making the shot than you do. The guy who passes often and shoots when he's confident will get more love from his teammates than the jerk who's set on shooting the moment he touches the ball.

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3. Take it easy with the tricks. Sure, it's fine to do the odd crossover (and if you're skilled at tricks then you can integrate it into your play) but messing up on a dribbling move and watching the ball roll away is one of the most embarrassing feelings you'll get on the court. Don't be too fancy.
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4. Don't make things harder than they already are. Basketball is by no means an easy sport, so you don't have to try to up the ante even more. If you have the shot at the open layup, take the layup; don't try to fall back and go for a fade-away jumper.
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5. Stay in the zone. Shooting an airball does not mean that you have a reason to cuss out yourself and everyone around you. In a real game, that would be a technical foul so keep your temper in check. If you're playing a casual pickup game with a few friends, then the occasional swear is fine but no one wants to play with a bad sport. Likewise, be a graceful winner; don't brag, don't act superior.

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6. Make an effort. If you don't bother to jump high enough to grab that rebound, then you're not gonna grab that rebound and you'll look like lazy. Always make an effort, no matter what; you'll look better and you'll play better as well.
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7. Don't worry about it. When you're playing basketball, just like in any other sport, you shouldn't stress out. If you're not overthinking the shot, then you'll have a better chance at scoring. Basketball is something that should come naturally; don't try to overthink or worry too much, just play. You'll perform much better for it.
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8. Practice, practice, practice. This ties in with effort; you have to practice to play better. Sometimes the most effective practice is just to play some pickup by yourself or with a friend, but it's also good to practice the fundamentals; take free throws or practice three-pointers or something like that. Also, don't worry about trying out some crazy shots, it's always fun to see those go in. However, don't waste to much time on said shots; chances are you won't get to use them very often in a real game.


  • Have fun. Basketball is a game, so you should be playing to have fun. If you're always getting stressed out and aren't enjoying the experience anymore, maybe you need a break.
  • Don't hurt yourself. Sure, make an effort but your body health is more important than your performance. That one shot is not worth missing the next few months with a torn muscle.
  • Know that you probably won't be good right away. Improvement can take a week or a year.
  • Look at the pros, but don't try to play like them. They're professionals who get millions of dollars for playing the sport they've spent years practicing hardcore. They'll do things you won't be able to do. Don't worry about it.
Article Info

Categories: Basketball

Recent edits by: BR, John Doe, Amy K. Jones