The Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Better Basketball Player
We always see all the pros like Lebron and Kyrie lighting it up day in and day out scoring a ton of points by shooting and taking to the basket, playing shut down defense, and unselfishly passing the ball. What makes them such great players? Both Lebron and Kyrie have a ton of natural talent however what doesn't get mentioned is the amount of work they put in behind closed doors in order to perfect their craft.
This game is 80% mental and 20% physical. Just think about it, if you're going up against someone who is way more naturally talented and athletic and you're just an average athlete but with high basketball IQ, you can easily win.
In order for you to become the best basketball player you can be, you first must learn to master a 3-5 offensive moves that you can combo and counter at any given time. This will improve your basketball IQ so you're no longer just out there playing ball, you have a strategy. You want to have multiple moves that setup your defender and allow you to combo and counter based on how they react. Having these skills will help with diversification in your game and make you a better overall basketball player. Let's take a look at some of these moves below.
The In & Out
The in and out move is very effective when done properly. Here is the move done at half speed. The goal of this move is to make your defender think you are going one way with a quick step out and immediately bring it back the middle or the opposite direction.
Here is the move done at full speed. Remember you want to do a quick step out and bring it back to the direction you are actually going. Now when you notice that the defender is biting on the in and out dribble that's when you can combo this move and hit them with a cross over like shown below.
This is where you've set up your defender with the in and out move and as soon as they bite, hit them with a quick crossover. Remember you want to have moves that setup counter moves and leave your opponent at a disadvantage.
The Allen Iverson Crossover
This move is special, it's the almighty AI crossover. With this move, you can start by doing a wide jab step out with a hesitation or a quick in and out dribble and bringing the ball back across your body to your other hand.
After you've setup your defender by using the crossover a couple times, then you can do the wide jab step out and take off to the basket. The key elements to all basketball moves are the counters and setups. If you only know how to do a crossover and nothing else, you're going to be at a disadvantage. In order to become a better basketball player, you must setup your defender and take advantage of their mistakes.
As you can see from the video above, Allen Iverson liked to change it up a bit and sometimes use the in and out dribble before his crossover. This would allow him to quickly go outside or blow past his defender with the cross.
Although this crossover is a bit more advanced, it's the most lethal out of the crossover moves, at least if you ask me. When you start with the in and out dribble, you can quickly head to the outside without any lag in your movements. Then when you want to perform the crossover, you use all that momentum used to bring the ball to the outside and shift your weight to the inside with a killer crossover.
This is how the normal AI crossover would look like at full speed. Remember this is all done in one fluid movement shifting your weight from one side to the other. If you are able to do this move quick enough, even if your defender doesn't bite on the outside you will still blow past your defender with your speed.
AI also loved to bait his opponent by performing a baby crossover just to see if they would bite. As you can see from the video above, AI gives Michael Jordan a quick baby cross then hits him with the full cross and jumper.
This is the famous Michael Jordan "push off" move. The key to this move is heading to one direction full speed with the defender trailing then slightly pushing off of them at the last minute to create separation. Some may argue that this move is illegal well it kind of is, however, you want to do as much as you can while simultaneously staying under the radar. You just want to make sure it's not super obvious that you are pushing off, just make it look natural.
The Cross Hesitation
This is a great move to make your defender off balance. You want to do a quick crossover and bring your shooting hand up like your going to pull up for a jumper and then at the last second let the ball drop to the side and blow past your defender.
Here is the move done at full speed. When you're on the move, come to a complete stop look up real quick to setup your defender bringing that shooting hand up and heading to the basket.
The Opposite Crossover
Make sure with this move you are crossing the ball over to one side and performing a quick jab step to the opposite side.
Here you can see the move at 1/2 speed so you can get a clear picture of this move. You want to push off that jab step to give you momentum. Your defender should go for that outside jab step which will open up you a lane to the basket.
Here is the move full speed with several other combos. It starts out with the opposite cross then a between the legs, behind the back, snatch back step back and finishing with a jumper or dropping the ball to the other side for a hesitation.
The Tim Hardaway Crossover
We're taking it old school with this one. This cross move was pioneered by Tim Hardaway. With this one, you want to go between the legs real hard dropping your shoulders and hips and crossing back over.
It is very important that the between the legs dribble and cross are done extremely quick and hard or else the move will not be as effective.
The Double Crossover Go
The double cross and go works extremely well after you've set up your defender with the standard Tim Crossover. This move allows you to fake like your going the same direction as before however this time you are going to cross back over and leave your opponent in the dust.
The Reverse Snatch Back
This is a great move when you are driving to the basket and the defender is trying to cut you off and you reverse and snatch it back between the legs. Make sure you are taking big steps and your launching to the basket like you're going to the basket and reverse through the legs. It's all in the hips.
I like how Kyrie Irving does his snatch back. As you can see here, he takes a couple steps back to set it up and does a quick cross and snatch back jumper. He could have also done a hesitation dribble to make his defender think he was going to shoot and blow right past him.
The Push Out
This is the push out move that is similar to the in and out, however, you're starting with the jab step out with a short quick in and out dribble. Your foot and the ball should hit the ground at exactly the same time.
The next part of this move is to quickly jab to the left with a shoulder lean then you will explode to the right which is the original direction you took a jab. So it goes, push outside inside then go back outside.
Here is the move performed at full speed. These guys took jumpers off the move however, you can easily just go straight to the basket. This is a good move to use in conjunction with your crossover because at any time if the defender bites on the outside, you can hit them with a quick cross.
This move is quite unique and deadly if used properly. Most people think the street baller "God Shammgod" originated the move however European professional basketball player "Dejan Bodiroga" is credited with popularizing the move in the 1980's.
With this move, you want to drop the ball in front of you and at the same time run up and bring it back with the opposite hand.
This will make your defender off balance, however, for some reason if they don't bite on this move you can counter it with a cross.
This is what it looks like full speed. Kyrie Irving is one of the most quickest guards in the league. As you can see in the video above, he goes hard to the right and grabs the ball with his left and goes up for a layup. This is a move that must be done extremely quick or else you risk getting the ball stolen.
The key to this move is to get the defense off balance and make them think you are going one way but actually staying in the same direction and exploding to the basket. With this drill, you want to make sure you are staying low because that is where you are going to get the most power. When you do this move you MUST turn your head in the direction in which you are faking to. If not, then the move will not be as effective and your defender may not fall for it.
Remember, this game is 80% mental which means if you do not have a strategy and confidence in your abilities then you will be done before you even get started. Your goal at the end of the day is to make these moves become instinctual without having to think. This is accomplished by practice and having the fundamental understanding of not only how but why each move and counter-move is done.
You want to be proficient in all aspects of the game which includes shooting, passing, ball handling, defense and speed/agility. This will allow you to become a versatile multi-dimensional player. Also make sure to improve your vertical jump that will help you get more explosive and play above the rim.
Another component that doesn't get mentioned enough is "the power of now." This is where you're on the court and you're focused, relaxed, have a clear mind and you stop thinking and just play. If you're about to shoot a jumper and your focused and thinking about "what if I miss" and other negative thoughts then you're going to manifest that in your game.
Always play with confidence and with the believe that you cannot be stopped. Visualize your execution and run a movie clip in your head that shows you getting past your opponent and taking it the basket and scoring.