The Beginner section focused mostly on the technique that will help you build a solid foundation for your jump shot. In this section, I want to explore more advanced aspects of shooting the basketball. Great shooters can not only make stationary jump shots but have the ability to make shots coming off screens, off the dribble, and in transition. Let’s take a closer look how to expand our range as a shooter.
Your feet provide the foundation and grounding for your jump shot but there is no consensus among basketball teachers on a single method of footwork that is the best. Most importantly you need to develop a rhythm that gets you comfortable in your setup and release point (read this post on how some of the NBA’s best shooters do it). There are three primary schools of thought on how to have consistent footwork on all your jump shots.
- This method teachers players to perform a small hop immediately before the ball arrives in their hands. This small hop allows them to catch the ball in rhythm and use their momentum to rise into their jumper. One major advantage of the hop is that the player has not established a pivot foot and thus has the freedom to drive to either the right or the left by leading with the same foot (making it a quicker move).
2. Two Step
- This method teachers players to lead with either foot (depending on whether they are right or left handed) and doing a one-two step into their jump shot. Many players prefer this method because it gives them a smooth transition into their shot since they already have one foot planted on the ground before the ball arrives. One drawback to this method is that the player has already established their pivot foot and is more limited on there ability to drive either way.
- Very few players adopt this as the primary footwork for shooting their jumpshot, but many players will use this in conjunction with one of the previous three methods. The slide step is executed while the ball is in the air being passed to a player and that player takes a small step sideways (either direction) as the ball arrives to them. The idea behind this philosophy is to allow a player to slide into their rhythm instead of being stationary as the ball arrives. The side step also makes it difficult for the defender to read which way you plan to drive since the player is changing their angle to the rim.
- In reality, most players use a combination of the 3 methods. The best players in the world are able to switch between these different types of footwork depending on the situation they find themselves in. Kobe Bryant is probably the best in the world when it comes to using his footwork to give himself an advantage on the court. My advice would be to master one type of footwork before you experiment with different combinations.
Check out Ray Allen’s shooting display in this highlight. He uses a mix of 1-2 steps and hop steps.
Shooting off Screens
Shooting off screens is one of the most difficult ways to make a jump shot. As a shooter you have to account for the different variables that could disrupt your timing and ability to shoot accurately. The type of screen determines how you will need to position yourself in order to get a good look at the basket.
- Down-screen (Curl): When you choose to curl a downscreen you will be receiving the ball from a player on the perimeter which means you will need to turn your body towards the rim as you receive the ball.
- Down-screen (Pop): When you pop off a downscreen and your defender gets caught behind the screen you want to pop behind the defender and get your body squared toward the rim.
- Flare-screen: Coming off a flare-screen means you will begin moving laterally off the screen. Your body will be facing the rim but your momentum will need to be gathered and directed towards your target instead of allowing your body to move sideways.
- Ball-screen: Shooting off ball-screens can be a lethal weapon in your offensive arsenal because it will prevent defenders from simply going underneath the screen and meeting you on the other side or switching their big-man onto you. You will need to maintain good balance and use your dribble to get you into rhythm on this shot.
- Eyes find the rim early (your eyes should be the first thing that locks in on your target so that the rest of your body follows)
- Momentum going towards your target
- Body squared to the basket
- Read your defender NOT the ball
- Don’t run yourself out of a shot
Check out how Reggie Miller catches and shoots after running off screens.
Shooting off the Dribble
Shooting off the dribble can be difficult because they tend to be contested and off-balance. Shooting off the dribble can make a 1 dimensional shooter (who is a catch and shoot player) into a deadly offensive threat.
1-2 Dribble Shot: This is probably the easiest shot off the dribble to make because you are more likely to be in rhythm. Great outside shooters must develop a 1-2 dribble pull-up game to punish defenders who overcommit to contest an outside jump shot. These 1-2 dribbles are used to create space from a defender, but not drive all the way to the rim where there will be more help defenders waiting.
Step-back dribble: Step back jump shots are great counter moves once you have beaten your defender to the rim with the dribble a few times. Once a defender believes you are going to attack the rim, you can use a series of step-back moves to pull up for a midrange jump shot. Remember to keep your balance and create space away from your defender.
Isolation Pull-Up: Great isolation players will always have the ability to use a quick series of jab-fakes and dribbles to get off their jump shot. Carmelo Anthony is probably the best at using a quick dribble or jab fake to create space and pull up for a jumper.
Shooting in Transition: Transition can be a great opportunity to shoot the ball before the defense is able to get set. Check out our tips for shooting in transition below.
Ball-screen Jumpers: Great players can use a pick and roll to get their jump shot off. Steph Curry for the Golden State Warriors is one of the best at doing this. Check out his highlights below.
Tips for Shooting in Transition
- Feet drive your shot so your arms don’t have to
- Locate the rim early with your eyes
- Land in the same spot you take off from
- Momentum going forward so you almost are following your shot
- Read the defender’s hands and body position. If the hands are down let it go, if the hand are up look to drive the closeout.