Numbers don’t lie in basketball. While there are plenty of players with a deep arsenal of impressive flashy moves, it’s those players who perform the best based on the stat sheet that get the most playing time and get the most respect from coaches, teammates, and opponents alike.
Improving your basketball skills is one thing, but garnering outstanding stats is another. In order to stuff the stat sheet the next time you play, it’s essential to train mindfully, and implementing these methods in your practice will help you become a better player both eye test-wise and statistics-wise.
Master the Fundamentals
Being a master of the fundamentals is a requisite before you become a well-rounded and efficient basketball player. Regardless of the position you play, you should have a basic understanding and mastery of dribbling, shooting, passing, and defense.
Being adept at these skills is the first step towards becoming a better player and improving your performance on the court, so it’s essential that you put the time and the repetitions in to make these movements second nature once you’re on the hardwood.
Know Your Role
To perform as efficiently as possible on the court, you should know your role on your team. Are you a pass-first point guard, a shot creator, a defensive hawk, or a board-crashing big man? You should know what type of player you want to be so that you know the skills that you’ll put the extra work in.
For example, if you want to take the role of a scorer, you should expand your arsenal of dribbling moves and off-ball movements that will help you get cleaner shots. This will in turn help you make more of your shots and increase your points per game while also having a better field goal percentage. Regardless of your role, there are specialized skills that you should look to develop to be of maximum help for your team.
Get in Shape
Mastering the fundamentals and having all the skills required to fulfill your role will be irrelevant if you run out of wind without even playing a full quarter. Those who have the most endurance are the most prepared to excel in basketball, which is why it’s important to stay in shape.
Keep your conditioning in check at all times so that you don’t lose any of the skills that you’ve practiced once you’re in an actual game. What use is a hundred straight three-point shots in practice if you don’t have the energy to jump once you’re on the floor?
Increase Practice Intensity
A great way to develop your skillset while at the same time improving your conditioning is by increasing the intensity in practice. When you’re practicing, you’d want to simulate in-game movements, and move as if you’re actually playing against the competition, even if you practice by yourself.
In fact, it may even help you more if you turn up the intensity higher than that of the actual game. This can make playing a breeze and will keep you ahead of your competition. One way of doing this is for example running full-court drills with minimal rest.
Improve Your IQ
Basketball IQ is paramount if you want to improve your stat line. Knowing which shots to take, who to pass the ball to, and which play to run depending on what the defense gives you will help you minimize your misses and turnovers which could pull your stats down.
Thus, you should be constantly looking for ways to improve the mental aspect of your game apart from the physical skills and attributes that all other competent basketball players have. Basketball IQ is what separates good players from great players.
Play Against Better Players
Competition is one of the quickest ways to improve. However, as much as possible, you should avoid playing with people who are on the same level at you or are worse than you, as you could easily dominate these players and you won’t learn as much if you’re always the best player on the floor.
Seek out competition against better players that will force you to adapt and improve so that you can keep up with their level of play. Playing against these players will accelerate your growth as long as you keep the right mindset and take your losses in stride.
Learn from the Best
Seeking a trainer is another great way to maximize your improvement. A trainer can help you not just by guiding your skill development, but also by providing feedback on your play, which can help you do better next time. Having a trainer will also provide you with a model that you can follow to improve your game.
If you can’t afford a trainer, it’s easy to learn online with the multitude of resources you can find. Apart from watching tutorials, you could also watch footage of your favorite players and see how they play and look for things that you can incorporate into your game as well.
Review Your Games
As much as possible, you should be watching film of your previous games, or at least tracking your performances through each game you play.
By reviewing your games, you can see the mistakes that you’ve made in order to avoid committing them next time and avoiding these mistakes will ultimately help you become a better and more efficient player.