Re: Does practice really make you better?
I'm a very casual player. When I used to play pick up games at school, I sometimes came to the gym random nights from 11pm-12am (our gym closed at 11pm and most full court games stopped around 8 and half-court games were very hard to come by after probably 10). Used to make it a goal to drain 50 jumpers before the gym closed. Was a great workout. Became a better shooter, and eventually developed a reputation for being a "shooter."
Could never improve my dribble somehow, I got really tiny hands and never been able to handle the rock all the way up in full court games despite being guard size. Became a better passer by running drills with my friend who loved playing 2v2 late at night. I was often his "dummy" for 1v1 when he wanted to try new moves while he helped me with my handles. I never really beat him 1v1 but he def. helped fine tune my handles to be at least respectable.
Started lifting very heavy post college, played a few pick up games. Was able to finally get enough explosion non my hop step floaters.
Been rusty ever since but I think it helps if you practice alone and with friends who want to improve.