Practicing is, obviously, the most important piece of the puzzle in terms of improving as a basketball player. Dedicated athletes will want to put in countless hours of work to improve things like their ball-handling skills, shooting form, free throws, and much more. However, there are more general aspects of the game that younger athletes should consider in addition to those tangible skills. The following are a few skills that players can simply choose to adopt without having to spend hours mastering them.
Maintaining a positive mentality for the duration of a game is easier said than done, but it’s something that can have an enormous impact on an athlete’s willingness to give it his/her all. Losing by a large margin and feeling as though there is no way to come back and win a game can be deflating for any player. However, choosing to never quit and never stop giving your full effort regardless of the score is simply a matter of changing your mindset. Positivity is contagious.
Adopting a more physical style of play requires no training and is as easy as making the decision to be more aggressive with the ball, both on offense and defense. Physicality can grow your presence on the court and intimidate opposing players, leading to disruption and causing turnovers.
Of course, having the physical makeup to effectively utilize this style of play does require certain levels of fitness, but practicing regularly as you would normally to improve your tangible skills can help you get there. Keep a physical playing style in mind while you’re practicing and exercising, paying attention to areas that need improvement in order to become a stronger player.
Look at players in the NBA today like Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Anthony Davis. Obviously, their sheer sizes help them out in the paint, but the power behind their physical styles of play have made them some of the top big men in the league. Strength training is perhaps the most effective way to increase your physicality and become a dominant player on the court. Workouts like squats, leg presses, bench presses, dips, and lunges are all highly effective in building mass and increasing power.
With youth comes energy, and that should not be lost on the court. Take advantage of your high endurance and strive to make extra plays wherever possible. For example, offensive rebounds, steals, and blocked shots all make up a faster tempo and can be done by players of all skill levels by simply choosing to go the extra mile.
Looking at some of today’s NBA stars like James Harden, Steph Curry, and LeBron James, it’s easy for younger players to want to mirror their styles and hold onto the ball as long as possible in order to do that. However, the most talented players understand the importance of spreading the ball around and incorporating every player on the court.
The goal of a selfless player is to help his or her team win, sacrificing their own stats along the way if need be. This is one thing coaches notice more than anything else; an athlete’s desire to win and understanding how crucial it is to assist one’s teammates throughout the duration of a game.