There will be many times in a game where a ball is passed to a player who must be ready to shoot immediately. The most common examples are:

(a) Catching a pass on the perimeter after the ball has been penetrated into the key;
(b) Catching the ball when coming off a screen.


Initially players are taught to catch the ball with two hands behind the ball, however this is not the correct grip for shooting. A shooter’s catch is where the player’s shooting hand is behind the ball and their other hand is on the side of the ball. This is the correct position to move immediately into the shot.


The power for a shot comes from a player’s legs and footwork when shooting (whether off the catch or the dribble) is of the utmost importance. Having good footwork when catching the ball can give the player momentum for a quick shot. Importantly, players do not need an exaggerated “knee bend” as this will slow down their shot.

The question of whether a shooter should use a “jump stop” (both feet landing at the same time) or a “stride stop” (one foot landing before the other) leads to considerable debate between coaches. It is recommended that players should be introduced to both techniques and as players specialize they may choose to use one technique over the other.

Particularly for young players, catching the ball “in motion” on the perimeter can help to give power in the shot. This can be as simple as catching the ball in the air, then landing with a jump stop or stride stop and then shooting. If the player catches the ball while stationary they will often have to “dip” to get momentum and this slows down the shot. When players use a stride shot, the coach should emphasise that as the second foot hits the floor, the player should immediately shoot.

The Pass

Equally important to the shooter’s hands and footwork is the accuracy of the pass. The pass should be received at approximately hip height. If it is higher or lower it will disrupt the player’s natural shooting rhythm and will also be difficult to catch with the shooting hand behind the ball.

The pass also needs to allow the shooter to have momentum moving into their shot. On the perimeter, the pass must be in front of the player, not to their side. Often a player on the perimeter is moving laterally before catching the pass.

When passing to a player cutting off a screen, the ball should be passed to the hip of the player (and away from any defender) and not too far in front of the player.

Player’s need to practice shooting (and passing) under game-like conditions and pressure to create good habits that will be repeated in games. Accordingly, coaches should avoid:

  • Being the passer – as much as possible in shooting activities use players as the passer so that they get to understand the concept that “good passers make good shooters”
  • Shooting without defence – both shooting and passing technique will be better if there is a defensive presence. The defender may be relatively passive at times but them being there will assist with technique.