Fundamentals of Basketball

What Are The Fundamentals of Basketball?

If you want to learn basketball or improve your skills, you need to know the fundamentals of basketball. This post will talk about the 5 things you need to master.

The fundamentals of basketball are the core skills you need to master to be great at the sport. It’s the basics that you can rely on.

I often reference this term but haven’t actually discussed what the fundamentals of basketball are.

So in this post, I am going to talk about the 5 core skills that every basketball player needs to master. They are also the first skills that a beginner has to learn.

But before I get into the list, I want to talk about why it’s so, so important to master the fundamentals before adding flash to your game.

The fundamentals are, as I said earlier, the skills that you can rely on.

But you can only rely on them if you get really good at those skills. And to get good at anything, you need to practise; you need to develop muscle memory.

Once muscle memory is achieved, the fundamentals will be your go-to when fatigue hits. They will be your go-to when your athleticism has diminished. They will be your go-to when you’re recovering from an injury.

Flash and explosiveness are all good and fun. It’s exciting to watch and satisfying to do.

But it’s unreliable, especially if you’re not super skilled and super athletic (ahem, average Joes) and if you’re getting up there in age.

The core fundamentals, however, are for every skill level. It doesn’t require a lot of physical ability.

However, it does require IQ (and the more the merrier). It needs you to understand (and accept) your skills and understand how basketball is played. But this can be achieved through practice.

The Fundamentals of Basketball

So here are the fundamental basketball skills that you need to master to become great at the game:


Key Notes:

  • Find your point finger and get comfortable with it
  • When practising your shooting, focus on the task at hand and nothing else
  • Try to always keep shooting form consistent
  • Practise shooting the basketball as much as possible to develop muscle memory

Dribbling (Or Ball-Handling)

Key Notes:

  • Keep your eyes up and your body low; have an even centre of gravity
  • Always keep your hand above the ball (not on the side or underneath) when dribbling
  • Dribble with your fingertips, not your palms
  • When doing under the leg dribbles or behind the back, stay straightforward
  • Keep the ball close to your body. This will make it harder to get stolen
  • ALSO, read this article on how to improve your off-hand dribbling
  • AND read this article for more ball-handling drills that you can do


Key Notes:

  • Pass and catch with two hands
  • Try to pass with the seams of the ball
  • Not one pass fits all. There are different types for different situations
  • Use passing windows to get the ball to teammates
  • Like in dribbling, keep your eyes up to find windows
  • On fast breaks, pass to where you want your teammate to catch it, not directly to your teammate


Key Notes:

  • Stay in a low athletic stance, arms wide, and on the balls of your feet
  • Keep your feet and hands active
  • Don’t cross over your feet when sliding laterally
  • Your placement and stance will vary depending on the shooter’s dominant hand
  • When closing out, get close enough to touch/tap shooter. Remember to place your hands in the right position
  • Remember to communicate with your teammates
  • Strengthen and condition your legs to be a better defender


Key Notes:

  • Stop opponent with armbar first then box out, then look for the ball
  • Don’t watch the basketball. Always boxout before looking for where the ball is going
  • Know where your opponent is at all times
  • BONUS TIP: After grabbing the rebound, keep the ball close and tight to your body. Rotate towards the closest sideline and look for an open player to pass to
  • Also, read this article to learn how to play one of the best games for improving your rebounding skills

Final Thoughts

These are the core skills every basketball player needs to get really good at, especially if you’re new to the game.

They’ll allow you to be effective when you’re not at your best or when you’re just not the best (average Joes).

These skills will also accelerate your ability to learn flashy moves because most fancy moves are built from a fundamental.

So, head to a basketball court and begin your journey to mastering these skills.


P.S. If you’re struggling to improve in basketball, you may be training wrong. This is why you need to check out my Old Man Game Activity Guide. It’s a convenient training system that will help you work on your fundamentals and conditioning. Click here to learn more about it.