Most Important Basketball Skills
Who hasn't been impressed by basketball greats like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird? In this lesson, we'll define the different offensive and defensive basketball skills and highlight activities to improve them, as well as review safety practices. We'll also delve into the mental side of the sport.
Basketball skills can be broken down into two primary categories:
- Offensive skills: shooting, rebounding, passing, and dribbling
- Defensive skills: blocking, stealing, and again, rebounding
Shooting consists of launching the ball toward the basket in an arcing motion with the purpose of it going in and scoring points. When shooting, keep your eyes on the target, place the ball on your fingertips (not the palm), place your feet shoulder width apart, place your elbow under the ball, and then follow through and hold the finish.
An offensive rebound is obtained when the team that just shot the ball misses and then recaptures the ball again. As a general rule it is tougher for a player to get an offensive rebound than a defensive rebound because after a shot misses the opposing team's players are closer to the basket and in a better position to grab the ball.
A pass happens when one player throws the ball to another player with the purpose of setting up a play or taking a shot. In basketball there are two main types of passing. The first type happens when one player throws another player the ball and the receiving player then scores a basket. The player who threw the ball gets credit for an assist.
The second type of pass is just a basic pass from one player to another. There are bounce passes that hit the floor one time, chest passes that are thrown from the player's upper body, and the spectacular alley-oop pass where one player lobs the ball above the rim and a second player grabs it out of midair and slam dunks.
Dribbling is the art of bouncing the ball up and down off the floor with one hand, in order to advance the ball up the court. It is illegal to touch the ball with both hands simultaneously, a.k.a double dribbling. While dribbling, a player should protect the ball to prevent the defender from stealing it. Tips for dribbling include: not looking at the ball, pounding the ball hard, and using the free arm as a shield.
The block is another spectacular crowd favorite. It occurs when the offensive player shoots and the defender swats the ball away, blocking its trajectory to the basket and preventing any points from being scored.
The steal, or taking the ball away from an opposing player to gain possession for your own team, requires quick hands and great timing. A player can steal a pass out of midair or from the other team while someone is dribbling.
A defensive rebound is obtained when one team misses a shot and the opposing team grabs the ball. An important skill needed to collect defensive rebounds is known as boxing out, a technique by which players use their bodies to shield the opposing team from grabbing the ball.