5 Tips for Short Basketball Players

When people think of basketball players they generally think tall.  But the fact is that many great players have been at least small in relation to their professional counterparts.  Steve Nash, Isiah Thomas, Muggsy Bogues, and Spud Webb come to mind when we think of small players who excelled at the highest level.  All these players have some things in common that made them effective NBA players despite being vertically challenged.  Let’s take a look at five things that you can do a small basketball player that will make you great!

1. Become a Master Dribbler

As a small basketball player you need to really master the art of dribbling.  You can see the benefit of skilled dribbling by watching clips of Steve Nash and more recently Stephen Curry.  It is amazing how each of these players can use their handle to bring the defense to its knees.  Work on drills where you dribble two basketballs simultaneously so that you when you are dribbling one in a game it feels like a breeze.

2. Be A Marksman

Being a great shooter for your team does a lot to ensure success.  When you are hitting threes it spreads the defense out allowing for lanes to open up for driving.  You can also rack up points in a hurry by having your jumper on point.  As a point guard you will likely be primarily a distributor to your teammates but being an offensive threat yourself will add another dimension to your skill set.

3. Enhance Your Basketball IQ

Great point guards are thinking point guards.  As a shorter player you will often have to out think your competition to better them.  Be crafty, smart, and unselfish and winning will follow.  It is important that you know how to attack man-to-man defenses and zones.  Watch for lanes to open up for drives to get layups or kick outs to your sharp shooters for open threes.

Also watch for how your defender is playing.  Are they playing off?  Are they playing you tight?  Then counteract appropriately and watch them get frustrated.  Steve Nash has outstanding basketball IQ.  We suggest you watch videos of him playing to gain an understanding of basketball IQ and how it can help you beat taller more athletic competition.

4. Learn to Shoot the Floater

As a shorter basketball player you need to be crafty to get shots off in traffic without being blocked by the bigs underneath the hoop.  One of the most effective and popular ways to do this is by shooter a floater.  This shot takes practice and skill to develop, but can make a huge difference in your game.

This shot will also force defenders to come of their man quicker when you drive allowing you to drop dimes by dumping off passes to your teammates in the lane.  Here’s a tutorial on the floater:

5. Get In Shape

You are going to need every advantage you can get when playing basketball and here is one that just requires hard work: get in shape.  If you can out run your opponents you will leave them gassed and eating your dust.  With greater stamina you can also get out in transition more often and with greater speed, which with the revolution of small ball is becoming a critical element to success in basketball.

So, get running, get lifting, and do cardio focused basketball drills that will take your conditioning to the next level.


Nick Daniels

Nick is has been a student of the game of basketball most of his life. He loves writing about all things hoops and basketball gear.