Basketball: How to support your team

Basketball is a very demanding sport; but every member of the team is valuable and you can still contribute a lot even if you haven’t mastered all of the techniques. Here’s how to keep your head up and do your part on the court.

men playing basketball game

It takes time to develop all of the skills required to be a great basketball player; but you shouldn’t let your lack of experience deter you from joining a team and improving your game. It’s important that you understand your position and talk to your coach about what is expected of you on the court. Next, you have to practice, practice, practice! Here are a few things to think about if you’re relatively new to playing basketball…

PLAYING DEFENCE

When playing defence, your goal is not to take shots at the net. You want to defend your team from advancements made by the other team. If you’re playing “man-to-man” defence, you should identify a single player on the opposing team and make it your mission to block them from receiving passes or taking shots. This doesn’t mean you need to stick to the player like glue and disregard anything else happening on the court. You always want to be aware of where the ball is and try to anticipate what the gameplay might be.

woman who plays defense
man who attacks by dribbling

PLAYING OFFENCE

If your shooting skills aren’t quite where you’d like them to be, don’t stress! You don’t necessarily have to get a slam dunk each time you get the ball. You do, however, want to try to keep the ball in your team’s possession. If you’ve already stopped dribbling, your only options are to shoot or pass. Take a moment to pivot with the ball and look for a teammate who is open and ready to receive a pass.

WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE THE BALL

You don’t want to simply chase the person with the ball. Try to be more strategic and position yourself where you think the ball may end up. Pay attention to the way the other players pass, shoot and move around the court. You want to act preemptively so that you can (hopefully) be in the right place at the right time to gain possession of the ball. Talk to your coach before or during the game to see where he/she thinks you should position yourself; and always pay attention to where the ball is. Never let it out of your sight!

KEEP AT IT

Basketball is a physically demanding sport, so it’s important to keep practicing and working on your overall fitness in order to become a better player. Practice dribbling while running, moving around obstacles, etc. Work on your dribbling with both hands (not just your dominant hand) so that you’ll have more flexibility during a game.

Because there is so much running required in basketball, you’ll want to work on your cardiovascular endurance as well. Practice sprints of varying distances to get used to the start-and-stop nature of playing a game.

You should also spend time practicing different shots so that you’ll be ready for any eventuality on the court. It may seem boring, but keep working on your jump shot, hook shot, layup, etc. Practice each one over and over and over again! You’ll gain the muscle strength and hand-eye coordination needed to make an impressive shot mid-game.

two women wrestling while running on the basketball court

The best thing about team sports? 

They can boost both your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s important to acknowledge that, even if you still need to work on certain skills, your contribution to the team is always valuable. One of the main benefits of playing with a team is the feeling of support and camaraderie that develops between teammates. Keeping a positive attitude is a big part of being a good team player. Learn how to accept feedback from your coach and teammates; practice as often as you can, and then get out on the court and give it your all!

man throwing the ball towards the basket