As a basketball player, you can’t become Michael Jordan or LeBron James overnight. It takes time and dedication to become a skilled athlete on the hardwood. And it’s not just physical attributes that will make you a solid player. You need a strong mental fortitude to help you put in the work before you start seeing your dedication pay off during games.

On the physical side, the need for drills and practice is well known in basketball. Drills are methodical and take up a lot of time, but once you’re able to master those skills, your game will be elevated.

Developing Drills

Following your coach’s drills and developing your own will help you figure out who you are as a player. Be creative with those drills, but also be sure to have a little fun. Concentrate on footwork, shooting and conditioning. To start out, some of the more basic drills you can work on include right and left-handed layups, mid-range jump shots (10 to 15 feet), free-throw shooting and around the world three-point shooting.

The George Mikan Drill, where you continually shoot left- and right-handed layups with one hand while banking the ball in, is a great way to develop both hands. Dribbling drills are also key to developing the way you handle the ball. Using drills like dribbling between your legs will help you become more comfortable with the ball.

Working on Defense

On the defensive side, having someone move a ball from side to side while you follow it in a defensive stance is a great way to help you work on shuffling your feet. The key to good defense is fast footwork, which is a solid place to start.

The best thing you can do is play full-court, 5-on-5 basketball as much as possible to help you understand the flow of the game. The more 5-on-5 you play, the more comfortable you’ll become while playing with your team. Understanding how to cut to the basket, use screens to your benefit and execute basic offensive plays (like the pick-and-roll) will help you improve immensely.

Developing a Healthy Mentality

Mental toughness and fortitude are developed by continually showing up for practice every day during the season and continuing with drills in the summer. It’s not always fun showing up every day, but your game will thank you for it.

It’s important to remember to develop your good habits first to find out what you’re really good at. When you recognize a mistake you’ve made, work on correcting it. Once you find another flaw in your game, continue to work on that to make it a strength.

Before you know it, you’ll be a competent basketball player and will learn to love the game. Basketball is a beautiful sport to watch and play when it’s played the right way.

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