You might think that the title of this article is kinda harsh. But your here because you feel like you suck at basketball, I get it. I felt I sucked at basketball at one point in my life also The good news is you can actually do something about it.
Why do you suck at Basketball? Basketball is a difficult skillful sport that requires a lot of consistent practice of fundamental skills that are apart of one’s game. It is not enough to play pickups games, you must work on shooting, dribbling, and footwork away from the game in order to improve your fundamentals. Making the right decisions on the court takes practice and experience which involves time.
Many basketball players overlook what they actually are doing to get better at the game of basketball, that it gets frustrated to the point that they give in and just think that they suck and this game isn’t for them. Anyone can improve at basketball with the right mindset.
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I have heard it all before, I suck at basketball, I’m too small, I can’t shoot, I’m too slow, I’m not good enough.
No one cares….
I know that sounds harsh but its the truth, your friends won’t pity you for not being good at basketball, they just laugh at you. So now do something about it, quit playing, or continue. It’s simple, or you can just play for fun, but stop the excuses.
Before you continue reading promise yourself you are not going to make any excuses anymore as to why you missed a shot, lost a game, or didn’t feel like practicing. Now that’s out of the way read on you won’t regret it.
How Bad Do You Want It?
It’s a simple question, don’t tell me that you have been practicing for the last 30 days playing pickup basketball every day. What have you been doing in the last 12 months? It’s time to evaluate yourself and your game. How bad do you want to get better at basketball? Are you willing to practice every day and do what’s necessary to be better than you were yesterday? Are you ready to go months on end and see no improvement but continue the grind? Basketball is fun to play in general but its much more fun when you’re really good.
Are You Practicing Enough?
Pickup basketball may be hurting your game and here’s why?
You play pick up basketball every day and you barely notice any results in your game. Your shooting is subpar, you barely make layups and you barely score in your games. Why? Sit back and actually think for a moment, how many basketball shots are actually taking on a given day when you go and play pick up. You warm-up and shoot a couple of shots on the side hoops and then you play.
How many shots in a pickup game are you taking let’s say for the record you are taking 10 shots a game in a pickup game, that is actually a lot Kobe! You play 8 games because you are on a winning streak, then you lose and are tired so you go home. So for the day, you have taken 80 shots (10 shots a game for every game you played) plus warm-up so let’s say another 20 shots. You have taken a whopping 100 shots for the day, and you play 5 days a week and ask yourself why am I not getting better.
Are you getting the picture? You lack volume and reps, you shot 500 shots for the week, you need more reps. You should be shooting that number of shots in one day. The quality of shots could be questionable also that you are taking in your pickup games, are they good shots, do you think your Steph Curry like the rest of the world shooting nothing but threes and missing?
So you think I should quit playing Pickup Basketball for a while?
NO, that’s not what I’m saying at all, you need a balance of playing pick up basketball and skill work. If your playing pickup every day get to the court early before playing and put up some shots. Between games when you are not playing put up some shots. After your done playing put up more shots. Not just any half-ass shots either, shots you would take in a game going at least 3/4 speed. You should be practicing the way you play.
I would even suggest taking a week or two off now from playing pickup games and start some volume shooting drills. Then in a couple of weeks time, start adding pickup basketball again. I willing to bet you will see your shot improve and your game following these tips.
Do you have a basketball? You can do ball-handling drills at home, no excuses, there are a ton of basketball videos on dribbling that you can follow along and do, your resources are endless and free on the internet.
Fast Track To Improvement in Basketball
If you really want to improve, I would advise that you shoot up to 500 shots a day, and play pickup also, you could do this all in one day or alternate days between shooting drills/dribbling drills and pickup. On days you play pickup try to put up at least 300 shots that day, again quality shots.
I would keep track of my shots and how many I made from each drill or spot I would shoot from. I would go back the next day and beat my score. This is how you get better you have something you can measure your success by. Writing down the number of makes on a piece of paper while your goal is to beat yesterday’s score.
You have to understand that you need to build up the muscle memory necessary to be able to shoot and dribble. Basketball is a tough sport in regards to skill development, much like golf, if you are not playing every day and working on your shot, (swing in the case of golf) you lose your skill quite quickly. The average non-golfer isn’t very good, but that could easily be because they aren’t on the driving range every day working on their game. The average golfer books a tee time plays with his buddies and that’s good enough for him/her.
I would also advise working on one move every week, practice this one move until you are sick of it and it becomes easy that you don’t have to think about it. The following week pick another move to work on. You can even do this with a type of new shot or movement without the ball to try and get open to score in a pickup game. Do this for a full week until it becomes second nature and you don’t have to think about it.
Understand you get what you put into this game, I have seen players in the summer go from being cut from their high school team to being the man and averaging 20 points a game the following year. All because this individual took no days off and was determined to be a baller.
My Quick Story
I did the above when I was in my senior year of high school, I played basketball every day during the summer. I shot at least 600 shots daily while playing pickup at least 5 days a week. I would shoot 300 shots in the morning on my hoop in the backyard on the grass before I played pick up at the local YMCA and when I got home I would shoot another 300 shots after dinner working on shots that I remembered missing in pickup games from that day.
That is an intelligent way of thinking about your game isn’t it, It was no surprise how good of a shooter I became thereafter. What’s your excuse?
You Make The Same Mistakes Over and Over
Many players play basketball and just go through the motions, they don’t stop and think outside the norm of what their game is. They shoot the ball and it is short, they continue to shoot short and don’t adjust.
They don’t know how to adapt or get better, turning the ball over with simple mistakes that can be avoided. They do too much on the basketball court, trying to make unnecessary steals, shooting threes out of their range, and making no-look passes out of bounds.
Sound familiar? Keep the game simple, fundamentally simple. If you are turning the ball over evaluate why? Ask yourself what was a better decision. It may just be to fake a pass before you make a pass.
Do you know the difference between a good shot or a bad shot? A good shot is a shot you are confident in and have practiced over and over again away from the game.
A bad shot is a shot that you force or have no business shooting even if your wide open and you’re inconsistent such as shooting 3 pointers 5 feet out. Shot selection is different for everyone.
Stop taking bad shots, watch your game improve, and your confidence.
Lack of Confidence
So you lack confidence when you play basketball. Do you lack confidence in writing a test if you don’t study? Yes! What is the best way to combat a lack of confidence? Come prepared. To do that it involves practice, practice until it becomes easy and until you feel comfortable in games instead of being too nervous play that it’s affecting your play and you are scared to make mistakes.
Part of your confidence issue is also experience, if you avoid pickup games cause everyone is better than you then how will you get any better, you need that experience and fuel to drive you to get better.
You are going to have get the experience necessary to feel confident in situations when it calls for it, be aware your going to fail more times then you will succeed at first, it’s ok. The best players in the world have a short term memory. Could you imagine if Lebron James dwelt on losing and missed shots, he would never be the player he is today? Just remember no excuses…..
How To Improve At Basketball Without Playing?
Basketball IQ is a thing, Lebron James is said to have a high IQ, Javale Mcgee maybe not so much. The point is you can get on youtube and watch videos to improve your IQ which in turn will make you a better player without even playing.
Moving without the ball is an underdeveloped skill with new basketball players and even high school players. This is definitely a fast track to add points to your average. Watching players play and breaking down moves and footwork is vital to add weapons to your arsenal.
A simple trick I will give you, that works most of the time is anytime you catch the ball stand up straight and act like you want to get rid of the basketball bypassing and looking in one direction, when the defense relaxes explode to the hoop it’s so simple and works. I do this with shooting a lot, I look like I don’t want the ball by looking in one direction. I am trying to get rid of the ball by looking to pass it, defense relaxes, and then I square up and shoot an open shot, it works, I’m a shooter.
These are little details you can learn right now on youtube, how players move without the ball, with the ball, etc… Do you know what to do at the end of the game being down 2 baskets with 50 seconds left on the clock? Do you know what to do when your up 2 points with the ball with 35 seconds left?
If I Could Go Back
If I could go back in time to improve my basketball game I would do the following…
Start playing at an early age, this is obviously key, the earlier you start the better you have a jump on your competition.
Workout, I always found a correlation of how strong I was and how consistent and easy it was to shoot the basketball, I just never stayed consistent in the weight room as I should have. I wonder what could have been if I could have stayed working out for years on end instead of just months and stopping. There’s an endless supply of programs from getting stronger to jumping higher for free on the internet. If you don’t have access to a weight room then improvise, there are a ton of free bodyweight and plyometric programs on the web you get my drift.
I would play as much as I could and do exactly what I did in high school during my senior year. Enough said. It worked.
I would watch videos of my favorite players on youtube and study their game trying to improve my basketball IQ.
I would play one on one way more than I did, I didn’t do enough of this. This works on your basketball moves and on one on one defense, it doesn’t get better than that. It really is that simple, this is why you see the pros doing this constantly in the offseason because it works. There are so many variations you could use, one, two, three dribble max, etc.
The final thing I would do is play against better competition constantly, it will definitely have you wanting to quit playing basketball at times but when you play against your level of competition it’s going to feel easy. Remember no excuses, practice the way you want to play and you get what you put in…