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Basketball Tips & Terms

Do you know how to play basketball as well as Michael Jordan? If you read these tips, you will! Or maybe not. Either way, come back soon to learn some basketball terms as well!

It's always a good idea to warm up before games. Stretch and do moderate calisthenics.

Practice handling the ball with both your left and right hands. Set up four or five cones about four feet apart in a line and dribble the ball while moving in and out of the line, switching back and forth from right to left hands as you pass each cone on the opposite side. Start slowly and build up speed as your ball handling skills improve.

Keep your head up when dribbling the ball to make a pass. By learning how to dribble the ball without looking at it, you can more easily spot a teammate.

When playing defense, slide from side to side to cover your opposing player. Do not cross your legs. It's helpful to practice sliding on the court.

When handling the ball, always keep the other hand up. It helps with your balance and makes it easier to switch hands.

Always keep your knees and back slightly bent when playing defense.

Protect the ball by keeping your body between the ball and the defender and keeping your free arm up.

Practice lay-ups from both the left and right sides of the basket. When approaching the right side of the basket, shoot with your right hand and take off from your left foot. When approaching from the left, shoot with your left hand and take off from your right foot.

Stay on the balls of your feet when playing defense. This allows you to react more quickly to a change in direction and move with the opposing player.

Stay below the ball and one step back when on defense. You can adjust your position quickly and cover the ball more readily.

The Basketball Tips for Kids were provided by Jesse R. Williams, longtime coach and community leader afilliated with the National Pro-Am City Leagues Association. The Association operates one of the oldest and largest city league basketball programs, offering year-round team play for youth, collegiate and adult amateur semi-pro level athletes. For more information click here.

SIFK Want even more tips? Visit the Sports Illustrated For Kids Basketball Tips from the Pros page!

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