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DeMarcus Cousins Anthony Davis

The Ultimate Guide to Playing Center

  • Date:
    Jan 25, 2016

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.

• VIDEO: Defensive Slides -- Strong footwork is the difference between frustrating your opponent and giving up easy points all game long.


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

• VIDEO: The Mikan Drill

• VIDEO: The Reverse Mikan Drill

• VIDEO: Shooting Tips


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.

• VIDEO: Boxing Out

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.

• 3 Best Exercises For The Vertical Jump

Related Videos

Learn about USA Basketball Open Court - presented by Nike - which is a program that opens up community basketball courts throughout the country to children for free.

Level: Foundational | Skill: Screening

Level: Foundational | Skill: Team Defense

Level: Foundational | Skill: Ball Handling & Dribbling

Level: Foundational | Skill: Footwork & Body Control

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USA Basketball, in conjunction with the Sports Diplomacy Division at the U.S. Department State, will host a mini academy for 17 specially selected youth basketball coaches from Mexico on Monday, March 19 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

USA Basketball today announced that in 2018 it will operate seven youth basketball camps throughout the United States, including three USA Basketball Boys Regional Camps, three USA Basketball Girls Regional Camps and one USA Basketball Boys and Girls Regional Camp.

The lineup of speakers at the USA Basketball Women in the Game conference set for April 7-8 at Windward School in Los Angeles includes professional females from high school basketball, the NCAA, the WNBA and sports media.

Beginning on April 8, children in Marion Indiana, will have the opportunity to participate for free in a USA Basketball Open Court – presented by Nike – at Marion High School.

The USA Basketball Coach Academy – presented by Nike – today announced its first stop for the 2018 season, which will be on May 5-6 at Sage Hill School in Newport Coast, California.

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