Many describe basketball as one of the most unfair and judgmental sports. It’s largely due to its corpulent reliance on the height demography. Some also argue that height is not a prevalent factor in a person’s success as a basketball player, but when the average height of an NBA player hovers around 6’6.3′, one starts to question that assertion. The average height of the human population is 5’57, a foot gap from that of an NBA player.
Over the past decade, the average height of basketballers has been reducing drastically. Analysts have pointed out that the modern game requires far more than height. Skill and technique play heavy roles in the outcome of games; it explains why Calvin Murphy was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame despite having a height of 5’9.
Also, at 6’11, Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry is considered ‘short’ by NBA standards. But the Ohio-born point guard is still considered the greatest shooter in the sport’s history and has been applauded for his skills and technique. Many punters will always include him in their NBA player betting odds as he possesses the skills and techniques to give them a good return for their money.
Since height is not the only prerequisite for being successful at basketball, this article will discuss the seven must-have skills for basketball players.
Skills Every Basketball Player Must Have
Learning to play basketball can be very demanding. There are some skills every basketball player must possess to be considered a top player. They include:
Sometimes, just a single moment of brilliance can turn the entire game. Dribbling is the act of using your hands to bounce the basketball around the pitch. A good dribbling skill can confuse the opponents and put your team in a position to score points.
Good ball-handling skill is one of the perquisites for being an excellent dribbler, and with practice, you’ll be able to master skills like the behind-the-back, spin dribble, pull-back dribble, and crossover.
It would also be great if you learn to dribble with both hands; it makes it very difficult for defenders to understand your next move.
Every basketball player or fan is familiar with the five-second rule. As the name suggests, you cannot hold the ball for more than five seconds without dribbling, shooting, or passing. Sometimes, players find themselves in tight spots where shooting and dribbling are difficult options. The ability to make a good pass comes into play here.
A great pass can prove pivotal in the outcome of a game. Good passing skill is paramount irrespective of your training position. One great thing about passing is that you can practice it with anybody – even with a wall. Learning different types of passing techniques and ranges is also crucial.
Even the greatest of players are not perfect. There are times when perfectly timed shots end up hitting the side of the hoop. Capitalizing on these mistakes is a major skill every basketball player must-have.
Rebounding is the act of retrieving missed shots on either the defensive or offensive ends. The more missed shots a team controls, the better their chances of scoring and defending will be. Specific exercises like the Tip Drill can help you hone your rebounding skill.
The average jump height for most basketball players is between 24-28 inches. Jumping is also one of the most important skills a professional basketball player must have, and a good jumping height can supplement the lack of a player’s height.
The jumping skill plays a major role in many aspects of basketball, like rebounding, shooting three-pointers, and defending. How high and fast you can jump will heavily determine whether you’ll get the rebound or buzzer-beater. Exercises like jump squats and wall touches can help you increase your jumping height.
You may have an offense of Lebron James and Stephen Curry, but your team will surely crumble without a good defense. Though it’s a less flashy skill, the act of defense requires great intelligence and composure.
As a defender, you must possess the ability to steal balls from offensive players. You must also be able to command a presence that will give players running at you a sense of fear. The modern game has also evolved, and good defenders must learn to start quick attacks from the back.
Legends like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Garnett, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Bill Russell were all inducted into the basketball hall of fame for their successful defensive careers.
6. Leg Movement
Footwork is a criminally underrated skill in basketball. Many believe that basketball is simply a game of hands, but good leg movements can make a player stand out from the crowd. This skill is also required when you are training for other techniques like shooting, rebound, and dribbling.
Leg movement also determines how slick you can move your body. Sideways movement or horizontal cuts can also change the dynamics of the game. Even in defense, the position and movement of your legs can determine your ability to stop the opposition’s offensive play.
After everything, shooting remains the most critical basketball skill. Good defenders can stop their teams from conceding points, but there will be serious problems without the frontman to put the ball in the hoop. Shooting is also the most versatile basketball skill. No one cares how you do it; just ensure you get the ball into the hoop, and you must do it without fouling the opposition.
Decades ago, only forwards possessed excellent shooting ability as the defenders were only expected to defend well. But the game has changed now. All players are improving their shooting skills. From three-pointers and layups to mid-range shots, every player helps their team score. After all, you never know when the ball will fall to you on the brink of the last buzzer.
The Bottom Line
No one becomes a basketball superstar overnight. Even Michael Jordan had to work extra hard after failing to make his high school basketball team. It means there is a need to work hard to learn every skill before you can become an expert at it.
These skills are considered essential for every basketball player, and any player who wants to be a top star must excel at them.