When I first joined my school team, I always struggle to remember our offense strategy so I couldn’t participate in the offense, winding up in getting benched by my coaches. As years went by, I’ve realized that the real problem was my inability to read the game and the lack of comprehension of what my role is.

To me, basketball IQ doesn’t necessarily mean how well-educated you are or the score of your IQ. It means how well can you make the right decision under pressure or how well can you read the game. Although it cannot be indicated on the box score, it plays a crucial role in impacting the game.

So, how exactly can we increase our basketball IQ?

As you probably know, the more basketball games you play, the more experience and basketball knowledge you will accumulate, which can help you play smarter on the court. However, it may take years for you to develop a high basketball IQ.

So, in this article, I’m going to walk you through the three most effective ways I find useful to increase your basketball IQ shortly.

Watch Films

Every basketball player enjoys watching NBA games because of the energy and excitement. But did you know that watching games is also one of the best and effective ways for you to learn and improve your basketball IQ?

Generally speaking, we usually look up to NBA players who have great skills that we want to learn from or have the similar playing style with us. In my opinion, Lebron James is a player with high basketball IQ who can always make the right and smart play.Lebron James Basketball IQ

By watching and studying their game, not only can we learn their signature skills, but also have a grasp of what makes them and their team so successful even playing at the highest level of basketball, which is the particular basketball IQ.

In addition to learning from others through high level basketball games, watching films of your team is also a great way to improve your basketball IQ. Take me as an illustration, me coaches always gathered our team to watch our game through recording usually the day after, then, we point out what we’ve done well and what can be improved. Throughout the process, we learn more about ourselves and our teammates, including what’s our strengths, weaknesses and tendencies.

I believe that learning the mistakes you made and understanding your flaws is a vital process if you want to improve your basketball IQ. If you don’t know what your weaknesses are, you are going to make the same mistakes over and over again and you will never change or evolve into a better player.

Visualize All Possible Situations

Imagine yourself in the middle of team practice. Drills during team practice usually focuses on simulating real game situation, for instance, practicing a certain play. By visualizing yourself in the play repeatedly, whether it is setting a screen or to get open for a three-point shot, you will be more familiar with your role on the play.

Apart from that, you can visualize what you’ve done wrong during practice, it could be turning the ball over or committing a silly foul. Tell yourself what you should do if this situation happens again, think about other possible outcomes that may occur during the game. By thinking most if not all of the possible outcomes, it can enable you to gain an impression of the play and the game, and you will be able to execute and make a decision quicker since you’ve already been in this position before.

Next time, instead of playing video games or wasting time on the social media all day long, try visualization.

Make Decisions Quicker

Train yourself to make decisions quicker can help you develop quick thinking, which is a technique that helps you to think clearly and make the right decision during stressful situations. Although there will be times when you choose the wrong decision and make a bad play, you will accommodate making the right decision under pressure.


Benefits of Having High Basketball IQ


One of the biggest differences between a good basketball player and a great basketball player is the former plays solely by himself, on the contrary, the latter knows how to let his teammates involved, which is also known as the playmaking skill.

Basketball IQ is paramount when it comes to playmaking skill, it is required especially for point guards as they need to know how to control the pace of the game and execute plays to put your teammates in a position that can score. For example, if there is a mismatch between your teammate and a smaller defender during a play, a normal player will keep running the play as always, whereas a player with high basketball IQ can recognize the advantage soon enough and feed him into post up.

Apart from making smart plays on court, others will respect you more and view you as a leader since you always make the right decision and can lead the team towards success, which can cultivate teamwork and build greater team chemistry.

Read Your Defenders

A high basketball IQ player always read their defenders perfectly and will not rush the offense until he’s confident that he can score. To give an instance, if he’s playing against a smaller defender, he will use his height advantage to post up. On the other hand, if the defender is bigger than him, he will blow by his opponent off the dribble.

Also, a smart player tries to use as few moves as possible because it’s more difficult for the other team to help defense.


For a low basketball IQ player like me, these are the tips I found useful for increasing my basketball IQ. So, you may as well implement these tips and see if it works for you.

Unlike any other skills in basketball, basketball IQ is a technique that will only increase and will never lose, just like riding a bike. As long as you play intense basketball games on a regular basis, you will gain more basketball experience as well as knowledge that are going to improve your basketball IQ.

If you ever need a hand with anything, please let me know and I will try my best to help you out.


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