Basketball Playing Tips From A Former Coach

Basketball Playing Tips~

Basketball Playing Tips

Several years back I used to be a youth basketball coach at our local community center. I enjoyed it for the few years that I did it. I even led one of my teams to a regular season championship and the first ever undefeated season in league history! So I am here to offer my advice on how to improve your or your child’s game. I hope you enjoy my section of basketball playing tips!

Basketball Playing Tips: Practice

2011 Murray State University Men's Basketball - Basketball Playing Tips

I cannot stress enough the importance of practice. No amount of basketball playing tips will help you if you don’t practice on a regular basis! Especially during the offseason. This is the time to really hone your skills. I don’t mean just standing around shooting hoops, either. Sure, scoring is important, but so are defense, stamina, free throws and ball handling. Incorporate them all into a daily routine, and practice a good two hours everyday on all of them. If you are looking for an NBA contract, you should practice even more. Way more.


Jacksonville University vs University of North Florida basketball game - Basketball Playing Tips

In my opinion, defense is the most important part of the game. You can score 100 points in every game, and that is great, but if the other team scores 101, you still lose. You must be able to shut down your opponent. Footwork is the key to good defense as well as good offense. This should be the first thing you work on improving. Use footwork drills to learn to slide your feet, run backwards and side to side without tripping over your own two feet. Also work on standing tall and straight with your hands up when close to the goal. One tip to remember: when close to the baseline, put your near foot on the baseline. This forces the opponent to go back inside the paint, into the teeth of the defense where you have help. Don’t give them the baseline.

Free Throws

Silent Night Men's Basketball 12.6.12 - Basketball Playing Tips

One of the most important basketball playing tips I can give is to end your practice session with at least 20 consecutive free throws. Many basketball games are won and lost on the free throw line, and so many players tend to put free throw shooting on the back burner. Don’t do that! Practice good technique, with shoulders square to the basket, a nice, wide, comfortable stance, take about 3-4 dribbles, rise up on your toes when you shoot and remain on your toes until the ball goes in the basket. This little trick gets you a little closer to the goal, and gives you a bit of a lean inwards in case you miss and have to go for the rebound.

Listen To The Coaches

Dick Vitale Court at Calihan Hall - Basketball Playing Tips

I know that Dick Vitale can be annoying sometimes, and Digger Phelps can put you to sleep, but they offer some really good basketball playing tips to help you if you just listen to them. I learned a lot about how to shoot free throws (and I am an 88% free throw shooter) from listening to the late Al McGuire during the course of a game. Although they don’t always offer advice, they do many times, and heeding this advice can help improve your game. So, listen to guys like Dan Bonner and Jay Bilas. They have played the game and have good, solid fundamental skills that will help you.

I would love to go into more detail, but this post would drag on for days if I did. I will close for now by saying that the best basketball players in the world didn’t get that way by sitting in front of the television all day eating potato chips. Get out there and make the most of your opportunity!

Do You Think These Basketball Playing Tips Will Help Your Game?


About Jay Crawford

Jay is a die hard sports fan {football and college basketball being his favorites}. His favorite teams are the Carolina Panthers and Tarheels and, of course, his alma mater, the Appalachian Mountaineers. He spends his free time listening to music, especially KISS, Def Leppard, the Eagles and a lot of the newer country music, and watching comic book and action movies. The more special effects - the better.


  1. You certainly know a lot about basketball! Can I ask, if a child wants to play on a team but is only wanting to play for the fun of the sport how would your tips change?
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    • Jay Crawford says:

      I understand that not everyone is into basketball competitively. I have known more people that played just for fun than played for the competition. That’s just fine. If they are wanting to just enjoy the exercise and like to run and jump, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I probably would not change my tips, though. They may not heed my tips, but me changing them would be like a math teacher not teaching shortcuts in math problems just because someone doesn’t like math. I would tell them to enjoy themselves and have fun. After all, it is just a sport 🙂

  2. I had a music teacher tell me that practice doesn’t make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect. It really stuck with me because it’s so true. If you practice the wrong way you aren’t going to perfect anything.
    Alyssa McVey recently posted…Pop Top Gifts for TeachersMy Profile

  3. I’m bookmarking this for when my kids are (much, much) older! I’m sure it will come in handy then and UNTIL then I can use the skills to be mad awesomeballs at playing P.I.G with the hubs!
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  4. I don’t play and never really cared for the sport, but I am sure the tips will be helpful for others.
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  5. annie page says:

    Great tips will have to show my grand son he plays basketball thanks

  6. Sylvia Ortiz says:

    Great and useful tips that I will be sharing with my two grandsons – so that they can always be on their “game”. Thanks.

  7. My son loves basketball, but he’s a typical teen and needs to take some of your advice so I’m sharing this with him:-)
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  8. These are great tips! My son is interested in basketball, but I’m not sure he has the maturity to stick with it yet.
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  9. Free Throws!! The Spurs lost Game 6 because they didn’t make them at the end. I always tell my basketball kids that free throws are SO important!

  10. I have an older and a younger grandson that likes to play basketball. The older knows the rules and play a good bit but not the younger one. You normally will try to learn what you are taught so have a good teacher

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