How to get better at basketball

When you watch highlight reel of your favorite basketball players, you should know one thing; those plays are just a tip of the iceberg. Beneath, there is practice. Lots and lots of practice.

As the title suggests, BasketballPhantom crew is here to advise you how to get better at basketball. While there are a lot of articles of this type online, we want to present you a bit different approach.

Instead of just telling you “do these drills, now these drills…”, we want to give you advise on how to develop the right habits and approach to the game. We will present you fundamental pieces of what makes a great basketball player.

If you follow them consistently and with effort and determination, you will become better player. So stay with us, and find out how to get better at basketball.


1. Make a goal – what do you want to accomplish?

If you do anything without purpose, then there’s no point in doing it at all. As a basketball player, you need to have clear idea of what kind of player you want to become.

Do you want to be the best shooter? Or ball handler? Do you prefer waiting in the corner for open threes? Is all-around game something you aspire to? How great defender you want to be? Do you want to be a leader?

Try to answer these questions. When you define yourself as a basketball player, you will have a clear idea of what you should start doing to get there. You can start by choosing the best position for you.


2. Practice, practice, practice and practice

“Champions play as they practice. Create a consistency of excellence in all your habits” 

Mike Krzyzewski

Ok, this is an obvious step. You could think “Oh, they tell me I should practice. How innovative…” But the thing is, practice is so much important, but often overlooked. Remember the tip of the iceberg? Well, on the top are highlights. But bellow, far greater in volume, is practice. Practice is a factory of highlights.


As great coach K said, champions play as they practice. The best players are fundamental players. They do the most fundamental things consistently and with perfection. Ever heard of Tim Duncan? His nickname was “the Big Fundamental”. And he’s the greatest power forward in the history of basketball.

You’ve learned how to eat, but you still need to eat every day. Fundamentals are food for basketball players. If you look at fundamentals this way, you will be on your way to become great.

Don’t ever skip practicing fundamentals. They may seem boring, you may have the feeling like you know how to handle the ball, but just keep practicing every day, with the same commitment and effort.

So practice your dribbling (here are some tip for that), your shot, your post moves, your defense every day. This is not a shortcut to greatness – this is the only road on your way there.


With every year passing, playing basketball is becoming more and more demanding from physical standpoint. Having strong and fit body is an absolute necessity for every player.

Don’t forget this. Develop your physical strength as well as your stamina and endurance. The greatest basketball players have variety of differences in their game, but almost all of them have one thing in common – they’re elite athletes.

Work on your footwork, improve you jump (check here for some tips), be prepared to run with intensity. Having great basketball skills is not enough for today’s game – you need to be a true athlete.


3. Watch great players and teams, and learn from them

Fortunately for you, the game of basketball by now has a rich history. A lot of great teams and players already left their mark in this game.

Take it to your advantage. With modern technology, you have a privilege and ability to watch all of those great teams and players. Whether it’s Michael Jordan’s top 100 plays compilation, or some classic playoff game between 80’s Celtics and Lakers, you have an access to all of these.

So watch some of the basketball great’s play as often as possible. Observe their game, how they move, how they read opponents, how they react in clutch moments. Analyze how Ray Allen shoots, or how Magic Johnson passes the ball. Watch how the 90’s Detroit Pistons play defense, or take a look at 90’s Yugoslavia basketball team to observe how ultimate team basketball is played.

Try to apply thing you watch to your game. You can only benefit from watching guys who are better than you.


4. Learn to be a team player

On the basketball court, no matter how great of a player you are, you’re not alone. You have four guys alongside you there, and you need to function as a family.

You can’t be a better player if you’re not a team player. Even the greatest of all, His Airness Michael Jordan, became the best player when he started to involve his teammates more in the game.

So, how can we give you an advice on how to be a team player?

Here is an example that will help you realize that. You probably know who Kawhi Leonard is, right? He was not a force in his first few seasons in the NBA like he is today. But Kawhi put a lot of work (practice, practice and practice) and improved enormously.

But the moment when he became great was recognized by his coach, Gregg Popovich. Pop said that the moment when Kawhi became a leader of the Spurs was when he realized Pop’s following words: “When I call your number on offense, it’s not for you to score – it’s for the sours to score.”

When you realize that you’re a part of a team, and the goal is for your team to score and win, you will become better player. A lot better player. It is tough to put a huge amount of effort in your individual development, only to share the ball with four other guys. But basketball is a team sport. So be part of a team.


Final words

We wanted to give you some original insight here. You can always find some drills or training programs that could help you improve as a player. But the things we discussed in this article are beneath all that.

They are a foundation for your growth. You need to have a foundation if you’re growing, or else you could easily fall.

Take these things seriously. Practice, and then practice more. Watch your models and learn from them. And always remember that you’re a part of a team. We guarantee if you follow these advice, you will become better at basketball.

And as always, feel free to leave a comment bellow. We’ll be more than happy to help you in your basketball ride.