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Common Basketball Techniques and Practice

Shooting
The most common and recommended way of shooting the ball is outlined:

The ball is first held with both hands with the guide hand on the side of the ball and the shooting hand under the ball. The ball rests in the shooting hand, in the manner of a waiter carrying a tray. The power of the shot comes from the legs, passing through to the elbow and wrist extensions of the shooting arm, finally continuing through the fingers. The ball is shot toward the target by extending the wrist in a half-arc until the fingers are pointing toward the floor. The ball rolls off the finger tips while the wrist completes a full downward flex motion. The shooting elbow is extended upward, starting its extension from approximately a 90 degree flex.

The ball should be evenly placed between the index and middle fingers.. Upon the wrist and finger actions, the ball ideally has a reverse, even spin, called backspin. This deadens the shot upon impact with the rim and applies "touch" to the ball.

The ideal trajectory of the shot is somewhat arguable, but generally coaches will profess proper arch. The ball should pass well above the hoop, depending on the length of the shot, and travel downward into the basket to create the best angle for success. A shot that has little arch is called an "arrow" and has less chance of going in. A shot with too much arch is sometimes called a "rainbow". A "rainbow" is preferable to an "arrow".

Therefore, a fluid shot involves a sequenced motion extending the knee, elbow, wrist and fingers. From behind, a shooter will have their arm fully extended with the wrist and fingers forming a "gooseneck" position.

Passing
A pass is a method of moving the ball between players. Most passes are accompanied by a step forward to increase power and are followed through with the hands to ensure accuracy.

One of the most basic passes is the chest pass. The ball is passed directly from the passer's chest to the receiver's chest. This has the advantage that it takes the least time to complete, as the passer tries to pass as directly straight as possible.

Another type of pass is the bounce pass. In this pass, the ball bounces about two-thirds of the way from the passer. Like the chest pass, it is passed from the passer's chest to the receiver's chest, and it is passed as directly as possible, for example, there should be no downward motion of the ball between the bounce and the time the receiver catches it. In this way, it is completed in the smallest amount of time possible for this pass. It does take longer to complete than the chest pass, but it is more difficult for the opposing team to intercept (kicking the ball deliberately is a violation). Thus, in crowded moments, or to pass the ball around a defender, this pass is often used.

The overhead pass is used to pass the ball over a defender. The ball is passed from behind the passer's head, coming over it and aiming for around the chin of the receiver. This pass is also a fairly direct pass and can cover more distance than a chest pass.

A pass is not necessarily always between two players a distance from each other; sometimes a clever cut by a team-mate can mean that a pass is to a team-mate who is in motion but at the time of passing next to the passer.

The most important aspect of a good pass is that it is difficult for the defense to intercept. For this reason, large arc-shaped passes are almost always avoided and cross-court passes are extremely rare.

Dribbling
Dribbling is the act of bouncing the ball continuously. When a player dribbles, he pushes the ball down towards the ground, rather than patting it, because this ensures greater control.

When dribbling past an opponent, the dribbler should dribble with the hand furthest from the player. It is therefore important for a basketballer to be able to dribble confidently with both hands. In this way, the defender will not be able to get to the ball without getting past the dribbler. Also, the dribble will be lowered so that its movement is more frequent.

The dribble is also lowered when switching hands. This is because, when switching the hand that is dribbling, the ball travels in front of the player making it easier to steal. Alternatively, to switch hands, a player can dribble between his legs or behind his back.

It is common for beginners to dribble into a difficult position. A player should not have to watch the ball while he is dribbling. The pushing motion means that he knows where the ball is without having to see it; and a player's peripheral vision can also track the ball. By not having to focus on the ball, a player can look for teammates or scoring opportunities, as well as steer himself away from danger.

Height
Being tall is a clear advantage in basketball. At the professional level, most men are above 1.8 meters (6 feet) and most women are above 1.7 meters (5 feet 7 inches). In men's professional leagues, guards tend to be the smallest players, though they can occasionally be taller. Forwards in the men's professional leagues are almost all 2 meters (6 feet 6 inches) or taller. Many centers, and a few forwards, are over 2.1 meters (6 feet 10.5 inches) tall. The tallest players ever in the NBA, Manute Bol and Gheorghe Muresan, are 2.31m (7 ft 7 in). Currently, the tallest NBA players are Shawn Bradley and Yao Ming, both listed at 2.29m (7 ft 6 in).

At the college level, most men are at least 5 feet 10 inches, while women are usually 5 feet 5 inches or taller.

The smallest high school players are usually 5 feet 6 inches in boys' play, while some girl players have been known to be just under 5 feet tall.

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