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5 Accessories Every Basketball Player Needs In Their Gym Bag

17675445_lIf you are like us you know that there are certain things that you always have in your gym bag when going to play a game of pick up basketball.  The first things that come to mind for us are things like basketball shoes, basketball, and maybe an extra shirt or pair of socks.  However, we present five things to you that you will want to start putting in your gym bag to keep you smelling fresh and even improve your game.  Each serves a specific purpose and will very likely come in handy.

1. Sneaker Balls

sneaker ballsHey if you are like us you are no stranger to post basketball game feet funk.  This brutal combination of sweat and feet will leave you embarrassed and most basketball groupies nauseous.  Not what you want my friend, not at all.  Well a cool little product that we have used ourselves to keep our shoes smelling fresh are called Sneaker Balls.  Sneaker Balls are little plastic balls that twist open to release air freshener from inside.  We love these because they are much simpler to use than your run of the mill shoe freshener spray.   Just pop ’em in your shoes after a game and leave them in until you are ready for your next hustle.

 

2. Fitness Factor Basketball Pump

fitness factor air pumpMost basketball pumps take up a lot of space in your gym bag that can make them difficult to bring along.  This Fitness Factor Pump is very portable and has an ergonomic design which allows you to pump the basketball without hand fatigue.  While this pump is smaller than most it is still very efficient at pumping air and will come in handy especially in the winter months when basketballs that spent the night in your car lose a lot of air.

 

3. Chill Pal Ultimate Cooling Towel

cool towelStep up from the towels that are provided by your local YMCA or fitness club.  While they will wipe the sweat off your face they will not help cool your body down after you play a few games back to back.  That’s where the Chill Pal Ultimate Cooling Towel comes in.  This towel when soaked in water and snapped can be placed on your body and will bring down your body temperature in a “snap”.  It is amazing how the Chill Pal can make you feel better when your body is about to go in the tank due to overheating.

 

4. MISSION Athletecare Court Grip

mission court gripIf you find yourself on a gym floor that has not been waxed in many years or the bottom of your sneakers are slippery, then MISSION Athletecare Court Grip will be a life saver.  All you have to do to improve your grip on the court is this product to the bottom of your shoes.  This can certainly make you feel more confident while playing, which can in turn actually improve your performance.  Despite the fact that we like this product we do have to put in a word of caution.  Court Grip is made primarily from acetone which can remove paint among other things.  We recommend that if you use this product to be careful not to spill it.

 

5. Venum “Challenger” Mouthguard

venum challengerNo pick up basketball game is worth losing your chicklets for, and that is why we recommend using a mouthguard while you play.  Oh, I hear you say you are worried that people will make fun of you, well just own it and no one will say a word.  The Venum Challenger Mouthguard is made by an MMA gear company, and is the best mouth guard you can find on Amazon.  We love that this mouthguard has an outer frame made from high density rubber.  Next time you take a shot to the mouth you will be glad you have this.

 

 

 

3 Important Lessons of Basketball Wisdom

33474402_lComparing the way you play the game of basketball as an adult compared to how you played as a youth brings out some interesting insights.  Most of us during our youth playing days hope to be the star of the team, score the most points, and make the game winning shot.  While these desires may still hold true when playing the game as an adult, I feel that for myself the way I view success on the court is quiet different than how I used to view it.  Playing in a local adult men’s basketball league last winter really brought this to light.  As you grow up your priorities will hopefully change and this will often make you a better person and basketball player.  Today, I want to do something a bit different and offer three basic insights that can only be learned through years of playing basketball and becoming more mature as a person.

1. Good Decision Making Leads to Good Results

Watch the Spurs to See Good Decision-Making in Action.  Photo via Wikipedia.

Watch the Spurs to See Good Decision-Making in Action. Photo via Wikipedia.

Wow, that sounds almost too simple, right?  But when you really break it down following this tenant of basketball wisdom can be more difficult than it first appears.  Shot selection and passing is really where this lesson shines.  It is important to realize that great teams made up of great players are willing to pass up good shots to continue to move to ball to find a GREAT shot.  Just because you are open does not make the shot great.

To follow this tenant of good basketball I want you to think about the game in a different way.  If you are the type of player who keeps up with their individual stats during the game you should try to stop this habit.  It will ultimately impact how you make decision and give you a bias to try to score points on your own.  Instead, think of each decision as whether it is the best decision you can make for your team and whether that decision is increasing the likelihood that the possession will end up in a bucket.  This way you no longer worry about yourself and you try to focus your energy on great decision-making, which leads to becoming a more mature, better basketball player.

Learn more about good decision-making by watching Greg Popovich coached Spurs games.

2. Good Ball Movement Trumps Good Ball Handling

What I am saying here is not that ball handling is not important.  It most certainly is, however, trying to pull some And 1 mix-tape move on your opponent is more than likely just an opportunity to try and look cool.  This is not what wise (winning) basketball players do.  As you get a bit older (and a bit slower) you start to realize the true value of good ball movement.  The simple fact is the ball travels faster during a pass than any player can run while dribbling.  Quick passing breaks down a defense allowing for open scoring opportunities.

3. Points Per Game is the Most Overrated Statistic in Sports

My Man Can Score But Does Not Pass.

My Man Can Score But Does Not Pass.

Yes, I said sports.  As in all sports that are played at a professional level.  The old points per game statistic is so misleading and does not really offer an true insight on a player without further context.  Let’s take Kobe Bryant’s last game in the NBA as an example.  Kobe has always been a controversial player with his tendency to take very tough shots over utilizing his teammates through good, wise, basketball decision-making.  And boy was his last game so…..Kobe.  Kobe scored an on the surface amazing 60 points against the Utah Jazz.  However, when you dig a bit deeper you realize he took 50 shots to score this many points, and made 22 of those attempts.  This ends up being a shooting percentage of 44%.  While this is not a bad shooting percentage it is also not great.  Worse is the fact that many of the shots he missed could have ended up being better opportunities to his teammates if he were more willing to move the ball.

The truth is that you as a basketball player should take a more holistic view of your performance on the court.  How many assists did you have,  Did you make good decisions, etc.?  As far as shooting and scoring is concerned, be more apt to consider your shooting percentages than points per game.  This will allow you to see trends in your shooting/scoring performance and allow you to plug any leaks in your offensive scoring game.

Have any other basketball wisdom to share?  Comment below!

5 Best Basketball Shorts in 2019

Bird Blinding Opponents with the Ole Ghost Legs Defense

Bird Blinding Opponents with the Ole Ghost Legs Defense

Back in the days of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, you wore a pair of shorts that left little to the imagination.  Those bad boys were snug.  Thankfully, better fashion sense has prevailed and now basketball shorts are longer and looser allowing them to be more comfortable for the player.  Not only that it seems that there are more and more options and designs when it comes to basketball shorts.  You are no longer relegated to single color shorts, but have designs like camo, graphic letters, and images.  Much of how unique your basketball shorts look will be dependent on how much you are willing spend to look dope on the courts.  We have scoured the internet and found five awesome basketball shorts that range from cheap and basic (but still high quality) to pricey and totally kickass.  Our goal with this list is to provide you with five great options at varying prices so that you can make a choice that will meet your basketball needs and your budget.

1. Champion Men’s Crossover Short

champion men's crossover basketball shortsOkay we can hear the rulers of the hardwood complaining already about how we have a pair of basketball shorts that under $15.  Well, we’d usually agree with you, but actually these Champion Men’s Crossover Basketball Shorts are pretty baller.  We believe you would be hard pressed to find better basketball shorts for the price.  These basketball shorts are made from 100% Trilobial Polyester Stripe and are machine washable.  Side pockets are included in these shorts which make them more functional for off the court use as well.  We’ve all been in a situation when after a day at the courts having to carry your wallet into a store because you don’t have a pocket to put it in.  Very frustrating!  An 11″ inseam makes these shorts the right length so that you don’t look like John Stockton, but also don’t find yourself feeling like you are wearing a towel around your legs.  They are lightweight which is a plus, however, having the Champion logo is not likely to impress many of your fellow court dwellers.

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2. Any Jordan Brand Basketball Shorts

jordan basketball shortsWell, we couldn’t bring ourselves to select just one pair so we decided to just list the entire damn brand.  Jordan Brand has consistently created some of the coolest designed and highest quality basketball shorts.  Growing up I got a pair of these of Easter and they literally lasted me for over a decade!  On the flip side these shorts are quite pricey and will set you back at least $50 in most circumstances.  The pro is that Jordan Brand shorts almost always have multiple material layers making them durable and long lasting.  Obviously, anything that says Jordan Brand commands respect on the court and will ensure that you’ll at least look the part.  But being a real player takes more than just a cool pair shorts, so work on that jumper young blood!

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3. Nike Men’s Layup Basketball Shorts

nike men's layup shortsSo we’ve discussed both the cheapest and highest priced basketball short that money can buy.  With our third selection we are aiming right down the middle.  These Nike Men’s Layup Basketball Shorts are priced under $50 so they are affordable for most.  As you know, Nike owns Jordan Brand so you can expect these shorts to fit and be of similar quality to the more expensive Jordan options.  Made from polyester these also are machine washable, have an 11″ inseam, and have pockets for storing your wallet, keys, etc.  While these features are similar to the Champion Crossover Men’s Shorts we reviewed above do not confuse the quality of the two.  These Nike shorts are far superior and will last longer than cheaper options.

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4. Point 3 DRYV Baller 2.0 Men’s Dry Hand Zone Basketball Shorts

point 3 basketball shortsHoly smokes Point 3 that is an epic title from a pair of basketball shorts!  Either way, I realize that many readers are not familiar with Point 3 as they are not as well known as brands likes Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, etc.  Despite this Point 3 has many legit hoopers singing their praises as the best basketball shorts on the planet!  So, why would a little known basketball shorts brand get so much love?  Well, how about the fact that these shorts feature a patented channel on the sides of them that are made from a moisture wicking towel material that is designed for you to wipe your hands on to keep them dry on the court.  As you know having sweaty hands makes playing the game hard as the basketball becomes slick and your game quickly goes down the tubes.  These Point 3 shorts are priced similarly to the Nike Layups.

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See a quick demonstration of the DRYV technology in this video:

 

5. Under Armour Mo’ Money Basketball Shorts

mo money basketball shortsWith the rise of Steph Curry, Under Armour has quickly become the next great basketball shoe and apparel brand to compete with Nike.  With that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we are seeing more and more of the UA logo on the courts we play on regularly.  Made from polyester, the Under Armour Mo’ Money Basketball Shorts side pockets as well as closed-hole mesh side panels that enhance ventilation.  These are the UA comparable to the Nike Layup shorts, but have a way better name!  Damn, Mo’ Money!? UA you just keep doing what you do.  The one con that we’d comment about these shorts is that they are a little longer than we typically prefer.  Obviously this is a matter of personal preference and if you are looking for longer shorts then you should pick these up.

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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.

 

Basketball Hoop Height For Every Age

Photo Credit: www.ccaleague.org

Photo Credit: www.ccaleague.org

Once you have purchased a basketball hoop for your home it is time to put it to good use.  Of course you could simply send your little basketball player out there without much direction and hope for the best, but if you want to maximize your child’s odds of becoming a good player and also to maximize their joy playing the game, it is important to go a step further.  One of the coolest features that are available on most modern hoops is that their height is adjustable.  The majority of adjustable hoops are able to change their height from 7 feet to 10 feet.

While many use the hoop lowering mechanism to pretend being their favorite high flying NBA player, it is not the only or most important use for adjusting height on a hoop. Having this feature on your portable or in ground basketball hoop allows young kids learning the game of basketball to shoot the basketball at a level that works for them given their limited strength and beginning development.  Often when children shoot on a regulation ten foot rim they quickly build bad habits in their shooting form because they end up having to “throw” the basketball at the hoop.  Because these bad habits take time to develop they become very ingrained and extremely difficult to break later down the road.  Unfortunately, most often it is children who have the touch and coordination to develop a great shootings stroke that suffer the most as they lack strength in their early years.  You can eliminate one major cause of bad form by following this hoop height recommendation chart:

Children Through 2nd Grade: 6-7 Feet

Use the lowest rim setting available on your hoop.  Typically this will be seven feet.  The main goal at this age is to get them acclimated to the game and to being building solid fundamentals.

Children Through 4th Grade: 8 Feet

Kids growing up through 4th grade will begin to gain a significant amount of strength and it may be tempting to put the hoop higher.  However, resist this temptation and put the hoop at 8 feet and allow a natural shot to continue to develop.

Children Through 5th Grade: 9 Feet

Another foot of hoop height at this point becomes appropriate as children are continuing to become stronger and have now progressed to having a repeatable shooting stroke.

Children Through 6th Grade: 10 Feet

Once your child has passed the 6th grade it is appropriate to have them begin shooting on the regulation 10 foot rim.  Early in this stage make sure the focus on shooting is from the free throw line distance and in.

If you follow this chart for your child or youth basketball team you are ensuring that proper shooting mechanics will develop, especially if you are following the five easy steps to shooting a basketball perfectly.  While nothing can guarantee the results you want and adjusting the hoop alone will not help a child get a good shot without some specific instruction, hoop adjustment is a critical component.  Let us know below any other things you do for your kid or team that you feel allows for them to build great fundamentals and mechanics in their basketball skills.

4 Awesome Basketball Hoop Accessories

You have finally purchased the perfect hoop with help from BestBasketballHoops.  Now it is time to start thinking about accessories that you may need to make playing on your new basketball system even more enjoyable.  To help you accomplish this task we have rounded up four great basketball hoop accessory products that will take your home court to the next level.  Each product solves a specific common problem with home basketball hoops and you should think about your needs when deciding what accessories will be right for your home.

1. Goalrilla Deluxe Basketball Hoop Light

HOOP LIGHTIf you plan on practicing or having games of one on one late into the night then you will want to pick up this Goalrilla Deluxe Basketball Hoop Light.  This awesome light will keep the driveway lit when the stars are out.  It features 1000 watts of illumination using long lasting halogen light bulbs.  The angle of the light will illuminate the court without blinding the eyes of players.  It fits all Goalrilla hoops and other permanent goals that have 5X5 to 6X8 inch poles.

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2. SKLZ Shoot Around

sklzThis next entry is perfect for any players who are practicing on their shot during solo practice sessions.  The SKLZ Shoot Around increases your practice session efficiency by automatically returning made shots to the location that you select, thus helping players develop a shooting rhythm that will come in handy during crunch time.  We love that this ball return can swivel 180 degrees without needing to remove the unit from the rim.  The four snap on straps will attach to any standard rim making this an effective tool for almost all basketball hoop systems on the market today.

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3. Basketball Hoop Anchor Systems

41cL2rsYQJLIf you have chosen to purchase an in-ground basketball hoop system then a piece of equipment we recommend picking up is a basketball hoop anchor system.  These products allow you to install your in-ground hoop without rusting the support pole by placing it in the ground, while at the same time retaining the stability that makes in-ground hoops desirable.  If you have a Goalrilla or Lifetime Mammoth hoop you can find anchor systems for your basketball hoop here and here.  If not, we would still suggest looking on the web to see if there is a company manufacturing an anchor system for your hoop.

4. Pole Padding

Pole PaddingOur last entry does come standard with several of the portable and in-ground basketball hoops that we have reviewed.  It is important to look at your specific hoop to discover if a pole pad is included with the system.  If not, this purchase could literally be the difference between a bruise and a trip to the emergency room.  When games get heated it is easy to see how a player may hit their head on a support pole while driving to the hoop.  In times like these it is nice to have soft padding to minimize the impact.  Luckily, there are several different pole padding options to choose from depending on the size of the support pole that is included with your hoop.

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