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The Ultimate Guide to Playing Center

Perhaps no player is more important to getting results than the center.

Centers need to be physical and tough. They are close to the basket, so they're counted on for high-percentage shots. Their rebounding skills are crucial, and they need to play strong defense to prevent easy baskets by the opposing team. They are the last line of defense, and often, a team's best chance on offense.

If you're the center on your basketball team, you have a unique skill set to work on. So start here--this is a collection of tips, drills and advice that will help you achieve your maximum potential at an intensely demanding position.

Defense and Shot Blocking

You are the most important defender on the floor because you stand between an opponent and two points. Here's how to make the most of your presence inside.

8 Drills to Create a Great Shot Blocker: These practice drills will help you better anticipate shot-blocking opportunities.

Defensive Footwork Tips: Strong footwork is the difference between frustrating your opponent and giving up easy points all game long.



Shooting

Banging around inside offers chances at close-range shots, which your team needs. Here are tips for taking advantage of your size and position.

The Jump Hook: A signature shot that's nearly impossible to defend. Learn how to get good at a valuable inside weapon.

Video: 3 Shooting Drills for Around the Rim: Watch how the Duke University coaching staff trains their players to make point-blank shots.

Shoot Free Throws Like the Pros: Good centers draw a lot of fouls. Make them count by sinking your shots at the charity stripe.



Rebounding

A simple rebound can be the difference between a big win and a heartbreaking loss. Finish every play by crashing the glass, grabbing caroms and giving your team crucial possessions.

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Rebounding: Here are five ways to improve rebounding that you probably never thought about.

The Close Out/Box Out Drill: Make sure you seal off your defender and grab the board with this video tip.



Strength and Conditioning

Centers play the most physical position on the floor. Make sure you're in top shape by taking care of business away from the court.

5 Exercises to Improve Power: Building strength is key to gaining an advantage inside. Here are five ways to do that.

Shooting Tools for Basketball Workouts : Get an inside look at a conditioning session for NBA hopeful Doug Thomas.



Play a different position? We have similar guides for all five spots on the court. Find the one that you play and get better!

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