As we know basketball is one of those sports where it helps to be tall. While this might be a discouraging fact the truth of the matter is you can still be an effective and great player even if you find yourself with unideal basketball genetics.
In this article, I will be going over some tips and answers to make you the best basketball player you can be even if you are under 6 feet or one of the shortest players on the court.
Advantages Of Being A Short Basketball Player?
I want to start off by giving you some of the advantages of being a shorter basketball player so you can learn to leverage these and use them for your own gain on the court.
Being short can actually hold many advantages for a basketball player. One of the main advantages of being short is having a stronger center of gravity. This can help you with things like getting steals, being quicker, dribbling the ball easier, staying low on defense, and it can even help with driving to the basket by allowing you to get lower than your defender.
Driving To The Basket
How To Get Better At Basketball If Your Short?
First, one thing you have to understand is that as a shorter player there is going to be less room for error than if you were 7 feet tall.
A great way to overcome this is by getting lots of reps and practice in.
As a shorter player your also going to want to work on your body and physicality as a whole. While there are no ways to change your height other than getting the right amount of nutrition and sleep there are things you can do to improve your speed and strength.
One way to improve your speed and overall explosive abilities is by doing exercises called plyometrics.
These are intense short interval exercises are designed to improve and enhance your fast-twitch muscle fibers. As a shorter player, one way to get your advantage back is by having speed over your opponents and plyometrics are a great way to do so.
The second way to improve your athletic ability and physicality as a whole is strength.
Strength can be the great equalizer when it comes to height in basketball, this is because strength can allow a shorter player to push and move your opponents out of the way, especially on defense.
A great example of this would be a player like Isiah Thomas. Even though he might be small in terms of height, on the court he can guard much taller players because of his strength.
For workouts and exercises revolving around strength check out the links below.
2. Basketball IQ
One way any basketball player can get a leg up on their competition is by being smart and improving their basketball IQ.
Having a great basketball IQ is crucial for all players but short players in particular because most likely you will be in charge of handling the ball and being your team's point guard or shooting guard.
So learning things like pick and rolls, or defensive coverages is going to be vital for your success as a player.
Pro Tip: One great way for any player to improve their basketball IQ is by simply watching more basketball. By watching and learning from other players I have noticed from my own game you naturally pick up their tendencies and strategies for your own individual game.
As a shorter player, it is often very helpful to have an edge and a good attitude when approaching the game of basketball.
Some of the best shorter basketball players all have certain aggression and hunger in their approach to the game.
A great example of this would be a player like Chris Paul. Even though he might not be the most talented player on the court at all times one thing that separates him is his competitiveness and leadership qualities on the court.
One other thing to mention is shorter players like all players need to have confidence when there playing the game. A lot of times it can seem hard or even frustrating as a player on the court but one thing that will always get you through those rough patches is by having great confidence on the court.
For more information on improving confidence check out the link here.
4. Master The Fundamentals
Like I said being a shorter player there is going to be much less room for error when playing the game of basketball. The shorter you are the more you are going to need to master things like dribbling, shooting, and even passing.
Another thing you have to keep in mind is implementing things into your game that will translate against other players.
Shooting Form For Short Players?
As a shorter player, your shooting form and shot should be in a way that quickly gets the ball out of your hands and into the shot. Two great techniques for this would be the floater and the one-motion shot.
A floater is a type of shot where you shoot the ball as you drive toward the basket and quickly use your forward momentum as your power.
A one-motion shot is a type of shooting form where you use your legs as the main source of power while slightly jumping off the ground.
This is naturally a quicker shooting motion and is used by players such as Steph Curry and Trae Young.
Defense is typically the area of the game where a shorter player will have a much harder time on than on the offensive end. By mastering this side of the court and being a great defender then you virtually make yourself a great asset to any team despite your height.
Basketball Defense For Shorter Players
One thing you have to keep in when guarding taller players is learning to use the advantages you naturally have over your opponent.
1. Staying Low- Staying low allows you to get under your opponent and make things like steals much easier to get.
2. Playing Aggressive- One great thing about being a shorter defender is you can really get up and pester and annoy your opponents. Some of the best defenders of all time have been shorter guards who put immense pressure on opposing teams' ball handlers. Gary Payton would be a great example of someone who does this.
3. Communication- One thing that helps almost all players on the defensive end on the court is learning how to communicate and talk while you are on defense. This could be done by telling your teammates a screen is coming or letting your teammate know you have help on the weak side.
4. Being strong- Being strong is important on the defensive end because a lot of players are going to try and post you up on this side of the floor. Being strong and using your low center of gravity can help push players out of the paint who are trying to post you up.
What Position Should A Shorter Player Play?
A shorter basketball player should play either the shooting guard or point guard position depending on their individual skillsets. A shorter player looking to shoot more and move off-ball should play shooting guard while a ball-dominant player who likes to dribble should typically be in the point guard spot.
Even though basketball might be a tall man's game there is still plenty of ways for you to be a dominant player on the court even if you aren't the tallest or biggest player. Remember heart over height I would take a shorter player who loves the game than a tall lazy player any day of the week.
Thank you for reading and as always keep hooping my friends.