Well I got Photoshop pretty cheap (
) and my output skyrocketed in quality. Before, I used Paint Shop Pro 5, and when I got Photoshop I was like "wtf, layers?" Now I can't imagine doing any serious designs without layers. They're the most useful art tool since Crayola crayons.
I'm no good at lassos and stuff (the only things I can do with any dexterity is pitch, hit, and shoot basketballs, but I can't color inside the lines) so all I do is erase the edges and it comes out pretty well. It's better for a beginner IMO. See the edges to Lars Anderson right here:
Just zoom in real close to the hat area and use a very small eraser to get the edges down. Make sure it's smooth. If it still doesn't look right, zoom in more and use an even smaller eraser. I've gotten satisfactory results without touching the lasso.
Another thing to keep in mind is if you have a photo where the area around the player (or part of the player) is monochrome (like in this image
) then just use the magic wand. Increase the tolerance to a point where it grabs the edges, but not so high as to cut into the player himself. Then smooth out the edges with the eraser (this works better in Photoshop than PSP).