How Long Does It Take to Get Good at Basketball?


It can take 18 to 254 days to learn a basketball skill and 2 to 3 years of enough effort and natural talent to become good at it.


According to a Research Article published in European Journal of social psychology, it took 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, and sometimes it can take longer. Forming a habit is essential in learning any new skill, automation is the key that makes someone good at something. 


The time to learn a new skill (basketball skill) is different while becoming an expert (getting good) is another story.





If you want to know exactly how long it can take to become a better basketball player First explore your position in the timeline, where you lie, and from which point in that time you are asking this question. 

Our Poll survey voting:

We took a poll survey from people who have been playing basketball and ask them how long it took them to reach a good competitive level. 

Through this data, you can have a better understanding of where you are in the timeline and how long can you expect to become good at the game.


48 members participated in the poll. Results were mixed Majority marked on getting good at basketball in less than a year while options of “2-3 years” and “more than 10 years” got the same numbers of votes and went 2nd best.


Time to get good in basketball is different for everyone just like getting good in anything in life. It will vary from person to person.

See Survey poll results here


Our interpretations: 

Maybe if you just started, it can take about a year or so to learn the basketball skill keeping in range of 18 to 254 days. 


And if you have been practicing for 2 or 3 years and still thinking of getting better maybe you are comparing yourself with the wrong crowd or just lack natural abilities.


As published in an article at journal Frontiers in Psychology a person becomes an expert when he processes both natural abilities and has put real efforts to further improve their natural skills through hard work.


To become a true expert you should have both natural skills ( able to jump high, dunking, and athletism) with added efforts like "training" will be the defining factor of the time required to evolve as an expert.

You can speed up the process of getting good in basketball read my post on how to increase vertical jumps and dunks

Understanding Mastery and becoming a real player:

“The time that leads to mastery is dependent on the intensity of our focus.”


~ Robert Greene  (Author of 6 New York Times bestsellers having a net worth of s $7 million as of 2022)


It means it takes about no time or forever to master something and this also applies to basketball. All it depends upon your passion, determination, and consistency. 


10,000 hour Rule:

The popular rule of mastery by Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000-hour" rule states it takes about 10,000 hrs to become an absolute elite in a skill which sums up to be around 2.78 hours of practice every day for 10 years to become a master, outlined in his famous book Outliers.


But here comes Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University stating in his study: "The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance." 

He says Time of mastery changes when looked at external factors like a person’s natural talent as well as the skills of their mentor or coach and teaching methods. These things can become a difference-maker in the time of mastering a skill.


20-hour rule:

Again Josh Kaufman skill acquisition expert in his book "THE FIRST 20 HOURS " said the focus should be on learning a skill "well enough for your own purposes"  is a bigger achievement to have than reaching for mastery. 


Thinking about mastery when you haven't learned the basics is very unhelpful and counterproductive to ever getting close to becoming a master. 


Your focus should be on learning and getting good at basketball instead of thinking about how long will I become a master player is just a Fairy-tale goal. It's another name of procrastination and not liking what you're doing.


Top success people and their timeline:


Cristiano Ronaldo:


When you think about the 10,000-hour rule. Master doesn’t put limits upon themselves why go for 10,000-hour work? they ask themselves. 

Many greats like Ronald work for that 10,000 hours and beyond to become the greatest as said in Eurosport.  


Ronaldo started playing football when he was 7 years old in 1992 for the Andorinha club. He rose to fame in 2003 when he played for Manchester United.


That's “11 years!” when he becomes famous and considered a professional. 


So, we can say after 11 years of playing, his skills were at the level that made him great



Michael Jordon:

Image on Flickr by Kip-koech under license

In 1981 Michael Jordon first start to play competitively at the University of North Carolina

 He become a top NBA player started his professional career in 1984 at the old Chicago Stadium, during 1986 and 87 he began smashing records.


That's a "5-year!" struggle from start and keep in mind Michael Jordon started playing early on in the backyard of his house. So, these players started really early, played, and kept playing to become the greatest



Jack Ma:


Image on Flickr by UNclimatechange under license

Jack MA had a rough start. Lived his life in poverty he had very little money, failures all through his life. IN 1999 he started "Alibaba Group" becomes profitable in 2002 that was 3 years from launch and today is the greatest E-commerce success worth around $396 billion reported on CNBC


Guess how long does it take to become a $396 billion success, '15 years!' that's right as mentioned in Harward Business Review 


Successful people can never be great if they put a time limit and if a person won't be able to achieve the desired goal within that time limit he will go insane. This is a difference between a person who becomes better and who don’ts.


Learning lesson:

To become good at something is to practice more. The more you practice and correct yourself more chances are to become successful.

“Practice makes the master.”

~ Patrick Rothfuss  (Author "The Name of the Wind")

Through consistent practice you will build muscle memory, making it easier for you to become better. 

Everyone who is a pro goes through the same trial and error as others but they adjust their strategies, go with what works for them and build their own methods of playing which enables them to perform at an elite level, others are not able to reach.

Take away idea is to build your own methods and your own timeline. If you have natural abilities in strength, body structure you can become better quicker than others but “time” is irrelevant here.

“We're trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer”  ~ Gary Cannon


We try to match effort with outcomes trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer thinking it will bring more benefits but will do the opposite. Effort plus time makes the outcome.

People are impatient and not giving enough time. Our minds and bodies work differently, respond in a different way, give ourselves enough time to learn, grow and adjust.  This time will vary for everyone. Some are quicker than others.

The main point is to be consistent and have a passion for the game to keep getting better.

Get good in basketball quicker:

Speed up the process of getting good in basketball by learning how to increase vertical jumps and dunking ability

Summarized all :

  • Timeline
  • Understanding Mastery and getting good
  • Other successful people timeline
  • Learning lessons