One of the difficulties that players face is to establish their balance as they go from moving forward (as they dribble) to stopping (and perhaps jumping) to shoot the ball.

Some key things to consider are:

  • Footwork – It is recommended that young players be instructed to use a “stride stop” as they catch the ball as it is easier to establish balance. After the last dribble, the player should catch the ball with both feet in the air, and then land one foot followed by the other. Preferably, the “inside foot” (closest to the basket) will be the pivot foot (land first). As the second foot lands, the player begins shooting.

Some coaches prefer a jump stop as preparation for shooting which can also be used at the end of a dribble.

  • Short steps – After catching the ball, (with feet in the air), the player lands one foot after the other (a “stride stop”), keeping the feet close together (taking small steps). If their feet are too far apart it makes shooting difficult as it will affect both their balance and power.
  • Pick up ball – if the player is dribbling with their left hand, they should move their right hand across their body to pick up the ball (and vice versa when dribbling right-handed). Instead, many players move the ball across their body, which gives an opportunity for the defence to deflect the ball;
  • Practice the last dribble – When learning to shoot at the end of their dribble, a player starts shooting off one dribble and should shoot inside the key. The player stands in the key (e.g. at the free throw line), takes one dribble and then steps forward (catching the ball in the air) shooting off a stride stop.

The player should focus on dribbling the ball hard (with one hand) and shooting with rhythm (1-2-3). They can then move further out to shoot off two dribbles or three dribbles. The coach should start under the basket and then step forward (as if a help defender) so that the player gets used to “pulling up” before a defender.

  • Fluid pick up – Once the player has two hands on the ball, they start their shooting action and there should not be any “stopping point” or hesitation in the shot.
Shooting Footwork Stride Stop
Shooting Footwork off dribble