One of the things we have noticed is that newer players often struggle with playing the opening roll. The playing of the opening roll has been extensively analyzed and the correct play(s) for each is well established.
A good brief overview of opening moves can be found at http://www.simborgbackgammonlessons.com/the-best-opening-moves.
If you do nothing else read this brief introduction and learn the opening moves for the various rolls, there are only 15 possible opening rolls so it is not that big of a task, and many of the plays are obvious once you see them.
If you read the above article you will see that one of the last things Phil points out is that it is not only important to know the opening plays but also why those are the best plays. Tom Keith gives a good discussion of the whys of the opening rolls at http://www.bkgm.com/openings.html. (www.bkgm.com is a wealth of free backgammon information).
Finally, if you want help with memorizing the opening roles there is an app for both iOS and Android that provides flashcard based learning of the opening plays. See http://www.fortuitouspress.com/flashback/. You can buy additional flashcard decks for this app, but the first move deck and a few others are included in the free version.