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Is basketball your favorite sport or perhaps an after-school or work hobby that you genuinely enjoy? Basketball is an amazing sport that can leave you feeling energized and accomplished. 

As a player, whether you’re a novice or an advanced athlete, an awareness of the fundamentals of any sport is highly beneficial. But how exactly can you be better by learning fundamental basketball skills? Is it even important to actively try and become better?

Learning the fundamentals can help you as a player gain muscle memory and build confidence. This way, each time you’re on the court, you can draw from previous experiences and get better.

In this article, we’ll take you through the significance of fundamental basketball skills, why it’s necessary, and how consistent training can make you an excellent player.


What Are the Fundamentals of Basketball?

Let’s learn about the foundational skills that this sport stands on. As a player, even if it may just be a hobby, it’s important to understand the rules and nuances of the sport to get the most out of it. 

Here are foundational skills you need to master:


To be an effective offensive player, every position on a basketball team, from centers to point guards, must understand ball handling. Frequent dribbling drills will teach you how to dribble with your head up, crossover, use your left and right hands with equal dexterity, and pass the ball flawlessly from one hand to the other.

Once you understand dribbling, you can use your skills to expertly handle the ball, especially when you want to execute tricky moves like the pick and roll.


All fundamental skills necessitate a knowledge of footwork which is more than just the ability to run at full speed on the court. 

It's also imperative to understand how foot placement and weight distribution work for a defensive slide. For example, what is the proper setup to make a jab step on an opponent when in a triple-threat position?

These are all examples of footwork skills. 


One of the most obvious movements in a game of basketball is the shot. Learning to shoot is another essential fundamental skill. 

But to really ace a shot, players need to have control over their ball-throwing. How can this happen? By using proper shooting techniques. Shooting drills teach players proper stance, hand placement, and long-distance shooting from different areas on the court.


Passing entails more than simply passing the ball to a teammate. It requires fast decision-making abilities, quick thinking, a thorough understanding of the various types of passes, and the necessary space you need to make an effective pass. 

Good team dynamics are important for passing as well. As you play more, your intuition becomes sharper and you learn how to pass the ball with ease in a number of pressure-filled scenarios. Team basketball camps are a great place to learn this skill.


There are generally two kinds of drills for rebounding: offensive rebounding (when an offensive player tries to grab a missed field goal attempt by their own team) and defensive rebounding (when a defensive player intercepts a missed field goal by an offensive player). 

You must be able to box out an opponent and keep them from rebounding as well as intercept a rebound and sprint to the other end of the court on a fast break. This will happen with consistency and practice.


Jumping fundamentals include the ability to execute a variety of jump shots such as layups, slam dunks, and three-pointers. 

These techniques also teach you how to step and land on both feet for a jump stop and when to use two feet or a left-foot-right-foot step to get that amazing jump shot.

The confidence you will feel when you execute a jump shot well is unmatched.


It's also important to know how to defend against an opponent in a one-on-one situation, also known as man-to-man defense. 

Again, drills teach the proper defensive stance as well as how to defend in half-court and full-court games. You’ll also learn how to defend from the sidelines and in close quarters with post players who may be near the baseline.

Zone defense, in which players cover a specific area of the court, is taught in more advanced drills.

Foul Shooting

Foul shooting is the same skill that must be practiced over and over again. There is no movement to counteract, no response to the defense, and no adjustment for range. 

Every time, good free-throw shooters do the same thing. The same shot, the same routine, the same reactions — hit or miss. Good free-throw shooters in the NBA are those who manage to shoot through the basket in more than 80% of their attempts.

Everyone has their own style when it comes to free-throw shooting. The more you practice, the better you'll become at determining your personal style.

Lay Ups

Lay-ups are the foundation of any team's offense and should be part of every player's offensive arsenal. A lay-up is exactly what it sounds like: a shot in which the ball is laid up on the backboard or over the rim and into the basket. A lay-up can be executed forwards, backwards, or sideways.

Using your eyes during a lay-up is the most important aspect of executing this move well. 

Finishing Moves

Finishing moves can be performed in a variety of ways. As the level of competition rises, the importance of being creative with your finishing moves (lay-ups) rises.

Straight-line layups with the perfect driving angle are uncommon during games. As a basketball game progresses, the same tactics that used to work in the beginning will be swatted out of the lane.


Basketball Fundamentals: Why Do You Need To Know Them?

Young players who start in school go through regular drills to learn all of these fundamentals. In fact, even professional NBA players have drills as part of their training routines.

The more you practice fundamental drills, the better you get at the sport. To get a bit more scientific, the more you practice and are consistent with a certain movement, your brain fires neurons which in turn create neural pathways. 

Neural pathways are the basis for forming a habit. So, the more you practice a certain drill, the more habitual it becomes for you, the easier you can perform it, and the more confident you become at it. 

Builds Muscle Memory

Just as your brain creates neural pathways, your muscles get used to a certain motion or activity. Your body learns as you keep going. After a certain point, those actions and drills start to feel like second nature. 

This is when you start to excel at the sport or any hobby you pick up.

Builds Confidence

It always feels good to know that you can try new things. With time, those things feel less difficult. As you practice and persevere, you get more confident and positive about how you’re doing.

Playing basketball is definitely a test of your kinetic skills and knowledge but it requires a lot of mental effort and acuity as well. If you don’t feel happy or confident, you won’t do well. 


The more you play, the more you get to watch others on your team and the opponent team. This helps you learn more about the different moves players use. Watching and observing can help boost your creativity when it comes to performing a certain move whether it be a pass, a jump shot, or something else. 

There will be various levels of competition ranging from basketball camps for youth, youth recreation leagues, and professional basketball. 

You'll also encounter various opponents who employ various strategies (pressing, fast breaks, switching defenses, banging in the post, etc).

You'll be playing for coaches with very different coaching styles. Your middle school coach may prefer to press, whereas your high school coach may prefer to slow things down. 

All of this builds your knowledge of what you can and can’t do on the court. It gives you more room to know what’s happening and teaches you how to respond for a winning performance.


How Do You Train for Basketball?

When it comes to training, consistency and practice are key. But there’s a lot more to it than just those two magic words. Joining youth basketball classes also helps. 

To actually learn about how to train and how to train better, there are also different types of training practices you can master.

So, what are the basics of training and improvement? 

Find Out Where You Stand

To become a better basketball player, it’s important to be forthright enough with yourself to acknowledge your weaknesses. For example, if you find it difficult to pass the ball during high-stress scenarios, commit more time to practicing your passes under a variety of situations.

At the same time, you should also know your strengths. Are you as good at dribbling the ball with your left and right hands? If you’re already an expert dribbler, you can move on to more advanced drills that will help you sharpen your edge as an athlete. 

An honest assessment of where you stand will help you become a better and more balanced player.

Refine Your Physical Fitness

As a player of any sport, including basketball, you must be able to work the court for the duration of a game. Even if you ace fundamental basketball skills, you can't use them to support your team if you’re breathing hard and struggling to keep up after five minutes.

Stamina, endurance, strength, and mental will are also important.

To build endurance for the court, daily light runs, hitting the gym to gain muscle, and going for an occasional swim will help. Switch up your exercises and choose things you actually enjoy doing. 

The increased muscle mass will allow you to develop into a more confident player and elevate your game.

Practice Speed

If you excel during daily practice but dribble inadequately and take bad shots in a proper game, you're probably not practicing your game speed. To help you imitate the tempo of an actual game while practicing, you can pretend that defensive players are guarding you. 

Defensive players will not give you much time to plant your feet and gradually follow through with your shooting motion so move at a game-time pace when taking practice shots or while doing practice drills.

Learn About Ball Control

The simplest way to improve as a basketball player is to improve your dribbling skills. Balance is the key to ball handling: keep your body static and in an athletic position while moving the ball around your body. 

To gain better control and handling of the ball, you can add more force and power to your dribbling. During your daily practice, practice dribbling with both hands. Joining private basketball classes will also help.

Practice Hand Positions

Hand positioning is essential to develop as a shooter, passer, and dribbler. How you use your hands will impact the feel, connection, spin, and control of the ball’s release. Place your dominant hand's index finger on the ball's air valve to find the proper hand position.

Take a few form shots to get used to the center feel. Always hold the ball with your finger pads and remember to leave some space between it and your palm.

The correct grip on the ball will enhance your playing and help with hand-eye coordination as well. 

Work on Your Lower Body

Anyone who has played basketball for some time can tell you that every good shot starts with a strong lower body. Start by pointing your toes in the same direction, initially squaring them, and then practicing to find the most organic position or stance that works for you.

Start lowering your body by pressing the arches of your feet into the floor. This keeps you stable and gives you more control.  Concentrate on allowing your power and energy to move from your feet up through your hips, always positioning your knees behind your toes. Keep in mind to flex your legs on every shot, and square your toes, knees, and shoulders.

Observe the Greats

As always, when it comes to any form of learning — do your research. Watch how the great professional basketball players play the sport, keenly observing their thought processes and energy as they play. 

We recommend watching college basketball matches over NBA ones. There is a better display of team camaraderie and collaboration when it comes to a college game. So, watch how college basketball teams move the ball around the court and create scoring opportunities if you want to learn the fundamentals of team basketball.

To sum up, there are a lot of specifics that go into training for basketball, but the two main ones would be strength training and speed and agility training. You need to be able to perform at optimum levels throughout the game which requires endurance. 

To dunk better, pass better, and actually win a game, you need to work on speed and agility training. This involves a lot of mental work as well. 


What Are the Benefits of Knowing the Fundamentals?

There are loads of benefits to knowing the fundamentals, you’ll master your skills, you improve your gameplay, and you become more confident. 

Here are some things to keep in mind as you learn: 

Identify Areas for Improvement

A good player will hone their existing skills and explore new aspects where they can excel. It could be anything from mastering a new technique to getting a good jump shot. 

Skills development, drills, and consistent practice will allow you to focus on these areas and become a more well-rounded player.

Gain Acuity and Intuition

If you're good at one aspect of fundamental training and not in others, it will reflect in your overall mastery of the sport. To be great, good, or even better than you are now, it's important to practice all the drills and play regularly to gain acuity and form muscle memory. 

It's all about linking together multiple plays and utilizing defensive skills when playing against more advanced opponents. This will happen if you are confident in your moves and get better at quickly spotting defensive plays.

Better Gameplay

Doing enough drills, even if they aren’t going so well, is important because it translates into your gameplay. You might be surprised to find that a drill you’ve been working hard on doesn’t seem to go well during training, but when playing a game, you find yourself executing it flawlessly.

Repetitions and practice will make this possible. 

The best way to see benefits from training is by joining a basketball club for youth.



We hope this article helped you understand why it’s absolutely essential to learn the fundamentals of basketball. Making the effort will help you become a better player, learn new skills, and live a healthier lifestyle.

Royal Basketball Camp provides basketball classes for beginners and more advanced players. Established in 2010, we’ve helped countless people of all ages become better and reach their full potential. Our year-round basketball program can show you to hone your fundamentals first so that you can be a stronger and more well-rounded athlete.