Mastering the game of basketball is a never-ending process. There are many skills that will factor into how good your game is. While most of these main skills are considered fundamental in a good basketball game, it’s likely that you aren’t a master at every one of them. Although you don’t have to be a master of every single skill, having a working ability of each skillset is going to make for a very well-rounded game.

Burlington Basketball Tip! Challenge yourself. You know that drill you hate because it’s “hard” or you feel you’re weak at. That’s the weakness to work at most and will improve your overall skill the most!

If you focus on improving all of these skills while cultivating above average ability in one or 2 areas your game is sure to grow by leaps and bounds, allowing you to have the ability to play a variety of different positions.

Important Basketball Skills

There are many skills that are part of a great game, but there are a few that will take precedence in your skill development schedule. By focusing on mastering a few of these skills other parts of your game will naturally improve as well since most fundamental skills are connected to each other.

When working on your game at home pick 1-2 of these skills that you are already quite proficient at and work on getting really great at them. Though you will be mainly focusing on just a couple skills, when you get back on the court you will no doubt notice that other areas of your game have improved, too.


Let’s face it, shooting may be the most important skill to have. After all, without hitting shot you’re not likely to win any games. Properly holding, aiming and throwing the ball quickly, all while avoiding the defensive pressure can be a difficult thing to master. Many players “can shoot” but being “shot ready”, balanced and square to the basket while shooting with solid form – quickly – brings a lot of skill all together and in sequence – FAST.

Want more on shooting, check out our previous post on 4 Elements that make for great shooting!

A great shot takes a lot of work to master, so you’ll want to start with the basics. In the off season, make it your goal to nail hundreds of shots a day. The exact number depends on your commitment and at what level you want to get to (not what level you are). Switch it up between layups, jump shots and free throws in order to master all of them.


Since basketball is a team sport, passing is an aspect that you’re just going to have to learn. While this skill is a hard one to work on by yourself, mastering it really comes down to learning how to react quickly when under pressure from the other team. Accuracy is part of it but if you can’t quickly eye up your teammate and set the pass into motion, your accuracy doesn’t matter much.

Important! A great passer makes other players better as they’re set up to make a better play and “finish”. Great passers rarely turn the ball over, too. More scores, less turnovers = more wins. Your teammates will love playing with you, too. Smart coaches recognize great passers and their value, as well.


Dribbling is easily the most important skill for any basketball player to master. Without good dribbling and ball handling skills you won’t be able to move down the court with the ball, which could mean you’ll end up with moving violations instead of points. It doesn’t matter how great your jump shot or free throw is if you can’t move the ball down the court legally.

Dedicate a set amount of time each day to just handling the ball and working on your dribbling and you’ll see progress in no time.


Great footwork is a significant part of most skills on the court. Whether it’s shooting, defending, rebounding or moving down the court, how you move your feet will play a roll in how successful your plays are.

Spend time on all the fundamentals

Regardless of which skills come the most naturally to you or which position you intend to pursue, you should spend at least some time working on each skill. Since most positions require the development of multiple skills in order to be a successful player, the more you can add to your repertoire, the more well-rounded of a player you’ll be.

As you improve one area of your game, others are sure to naturally follow. Basketball fundamental skills often overlap and will be skills you draw on and improve for your entire career.