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Basketball Fundamentals
Fundamentals of Basketball
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Basketball Fundamentals are the Key to Your Basketball Success

As this website is intended for players of all skill levels, basketball fundamentals must be explored. Beginners should always begin by understanding the fundamentals of basketball, and sometimes great players need to "go back to the fundamentals" to get out of a slump.

If you want to be a great player, then you have to be fundamentally sound. Basketball fundamentals are the building blocks where every star starts. Once the fundamentals are down, then more advanced basketball skills will be easier to obtain.

You don't have to be flashy to be great, though. Tim Duncan is one of the least flashy players in the NBA today, but one of the most fundamentally sound; that's why he's so difficult to stop.

Tim Duncan Basketball Fundamentals Study these basketball fundamentals and master them, then move on to more advanced skills. Or come back to the basics if you've hit a plateau or slump.


  • Triple Threat
  • Defensive Stance
  • Shooting
  • Dribbling
  • Passing
  • Rebounding

Triple Threat
A lot of people don't really mention triple threat when they are talking about basketball fundamentals. In actuality, it is a "fundamental of fundamentals."

I say this because triple threat means that you're in a position to do one of three things: shoot, dribble, or pass. These are three of the offensive fundamentals of basketball, so being in triple threat is a fundamental to help you perform the other fundamentals.

    The Triple Threat Stance
  • You should be facing the basket, eyes on the rim so you can see the whole floor.
  • Knees slightly bent, back straight, feet about shoulder width apart slightly staggered (one foot slightly in front of the other), back straight
  • Both hands on the ball, on your strong side so that you are able to shoot right away if open. Your strong hand should be behind the ball and your weak hand on the side.

Defensive Stance
The defensive stance is also an important basketball fundamental (for lack of a better term). It is very similar to the triple threat stance on offense.

  • Feet should be about shoulder width apart
  • Knees slightly bent, back straight, head up
  • You should be on the balls of your feet. You don't want to be "flat-footed" or on your heels; it will slow you down and be easier to get you off balance. Being on the balls of your feet maximizes your quickness abilities.
  • Feet slightly staggered, usually trying to lead your opponent to go to his/her weak side.
You can also check out the basketball defense section for more tips on defense.

Baskletball Express

Shooting fundamentals of basketball are usually those most focused on. They should be a large part of your training, but if you want to be a great player, then don't concentrate all of your efforts on this.

BEEF is the acronym often used to describe the four basic fundamentals of basketball: Balance, Eyes, Elbow, Follow-Through

  • B. - Balance:
    You should be balanced when taking a jump shot. Legs about shoulder width apart, slightly staggered with your shooting hand's foot a little farther up; also facing the basket with your shoulders squared to it. Try not to be falling to the side or forward/backward.
  • E. - Eyes:
    Your eyes should be focused on the basket, not looking at your defender or other teammates. You should be aware of your surroundings by using your sports vision, not having to look away from the basket.
  • E. Elbow:
    Your shooting side elbow should be "tight," tucked in toward your side. It should be going straight up into the shot, not sticking out to the side.
  • F. Follow-Through:
    Following through is an often overlooked basketball fundamental, especially by beginning players. You want to "flick" the wrist of your shooting hand toward the basket and "complete" the motion. You don't want to "pull the string" in which you shoot the ball and pull your wrist back quickly like you're yanking on a string.

    Your follow-through should be straight toward the basket and down toward the floor; you don't want to follow-through to the right or left, as the ball will travel in that direction.

Go to the Basketball Shooting Drills page and follow the "one-handed shooting" drill to get your elbow under the ball and be forced to follow-through and practice good habits.

A few other non-beef basketball fundamentals for shooting:

  • The ball should be on your shooting side with your shooting hand directly behind it (fingers spread - think "Above the Rim" for those of you who have seen the movie) and your non-shooting guide hand on the side just for support. Your guide hand should just help you support the ball on the way into your shot while your shooting hand directs it.
  • When performing a jump shot (either spot-up shooting or shooting off of the dribble when not a lay-up, dunk, or "runner"), then always jump off of two feet, bending your knees slightly, getting your legs into the shot but getting up as quickly as possible and shooting at the peak of your jump.

Also check out the Basketball Shooting Tips section.

Dribbling is also one of the extremely important basketball fundamentals. If you can shoot, but can't dribble, then opponents are just going to crowd you so you can't shoot and have to give up the ball or turn it over.

The following are some dribbling fundamentals to begin with. You can also check out the more in-depth basketball dribbling tips.

  • Control the ball with your fingers (mostly finger tips), not your palms. You will have more control with the fingertips and will be less likely to turn over the ball.
  • Make sure to work on both hands so that you are able to go both right and left. If you can only dribble with your strong hand, then you will be much easier to stop.
  • Keep the ball low. You should be low yourself so that you're quicker, but you also don't want to be dribbling the ball way up to your shoulders or over your head. First of all, you'll likely get called for a violation and turn the ball over; second, it will be easier for defenders to swat the ball away from you.
  • Keep your body between the ball and your defender: if you're going right, use your right hand. If you're going left, use your left hand. This protects the ball better and helps prevent turnovers; dribbling the ball on the side your defender is on is just begging him/her to steal it from you.

Also go to the Basketball Dribbling Drills to improve your dribbling basketball fundamentals.

Passing is another great fundamental of basketball that makes you much harder to guard when you are good at it.

  • Learn all of the basketball passing types and when to utilize them.
  • Make Solid Passes
  • Pass Where your Teammate is Going
  • Dribble to Create Passing Lanes
  • Make Ball Fakes

The basketball passing page provides further information on these items.

Rebounding can be somewhat of an "equalizer" for those that may not be great at the other aspects. It's more about desire than anything.

Here's a quick summary for which you can get further details from the links below:

  • Block out! Get yourself between the basket and the person your defending (or the closest offensive player), get your back, butt and hips into them, and keep them from getting the ball.
  • Assume that every shot is a miss.
  • Go after the ball like it's lost treasure.
  • Work on your first and second leap ability

I've dedicated an in-depth basketball rebounding page, as well as a rebounding drills page to further explore one of the most overlooked basketball fundamentals.

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Basketball Shooting
Go further with your basketball fundamentals with basketball shooting tips.

Basketball Dribbling
Ball handling tips to continue your foundation of the fundamentals.

Basketball Passing Tips

Rebounding: A Basketball Fundamentals Must
Basketball rebounding is done on both ends of the court. Make it your basketball fundamentals focus.

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