Shooting Off the Dribble

Basketball Shooting Off the Dribble

By Hal Wissel

The game of basketball has changed since the three-point shot was added. Many players have shown improvement in shooting the three-point shot and driving to the rim. However, fewer players have been able to master the in-between game—the ability to score by creating your own shot off the dribble using a variety of moves. Becoming a scorer and not just an open shooter requires creating space away from your defender by using two or more dribbles and finishing with a scoring move. The ability to score by creating your own shot is especially important when the shot clock is winding down or when under pressure near the end of the game.

Creating Space for the Jump Shot When Dribbling to the Strong-Hand Side

Creating a jump shot off the dribble is easier for most players when dribbling to the strong-hand side. Make an aggressive shot fake to get your defender to straighten up. Make your shot fake look like a shot. We like to say, “A shot fake is a shot not taken.” From a triple-threat stance, make an aggressive drive step. Keeping your weight on your pivot foot, create space away from your defender by pushing your dribble out to your strong-hand side using your outside hand (the hand away from the defender). Protect the ball with your inside hand and your body. When dribbling, always keep your eyes on your target, just over the front of the rim. Align your shooting knee with the ball as you jump behind the ball. Pick the ball up in front of your shooting knee with your shooting hand on top of the ball and with your nonshooting (balance) hand under the ball. When your shooting hand is on top of the ball, your shooting hand will face the rim when you raise the ball to shoot. By picking the ball up at your shooting knee, you are able to change sideward momentum to upward momentum and jump straight up on your shot, rather than float to the side. Shoot a jump shot and land in the same spot. Exaggerate your follow-through until the ball reaches the basket.

Error: You miss the shot because you float to the side.

Correction: Pick the ball up at your shooting side knee in order to change sideward momentum to upward momentum.

Error: The ball circles out of the basket because you picked the ball up with your hands on the side of the ball, causing sidespin.

Correction: Pick the ball up with your shooting hand on top of the ball so your shooting hand will face the rim when you raise the ball to shoot, leading to backspin.

Creating Space for the Jump Shot When Dribbling to the Weak-Hand Side

Creating a jump shot off the dribble is more difficult when driving to your weakhand side, because you will have farther to go in order to pick up the ball in front of your shooting knee. Make an aggressive shot fake to get your defender to straighten up. Again, make your shot fake look like a shot. From a triple-threat stance, make an aggressive drive step. Keeping your weight on your pivot foot, create space away from your defender by pushing your dribble out to your strong-hand side using your outside hand (the hand away from the defender). Protect the ball with your inside hand and your body. When dribbling, always keep your eyes on your target, just over the front of the rim. Align your shooting-side knee with the ball as you jump behind the ball. Because you have farther to go in order to pick up the ball in front of your shooting-side knee, you can make a crossover dribble to the front of your shooting-side knee on your last dribble. Pick the ball up in front of your shooting-side knee with your shooting hand on top of the ball and with your nonshooting (balance) hand under the ball. When your shooting hand is on top of the ball, your shooting hand will face the rim when you raise the ball to shoot. By picking the ball up at your shooting-side knee, you are able to change sideward momentum to upward momentum and jump straight up on your shot, rather than float to the side. Shoot a jump shot and land in the same spot. Exaggerate your follow-through until the ball reaches the basket

Error: You miss the shot because you float to the side.

Correction: Pick the ball up at your shooting-side knee in order to change sideward momentum to upward momentum.

Error: The ball circles out of the basket because you picked the ball up with your hands on the side of the ball, causing sidespin. Correction: Pick the ball up with your shooting hand on top of the ball so your shooting hand will face the rim when you raise the ball to shoot, leading to backspin.

Creating Space Off Dribble for Jump Shot

Edited from: Wissel, H. (2011). BASKETBALL: Steps to Success. Third Edition. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.

Wissel, Hal. (2009). Basketball Shooting: Creating Your Shot Off the Dribble DVD. Basketball World, Suffield, CT. Wissel, Hal. (2005). Basketball Shooting: Off the Pass, Off the Dribble and In the Post. Basketball World, Suffield, CT.

Dr. Hal Wissel conducts SHOOT IT BETTER Mini Camps worldwide and year round for players ranging from NBA and WNBA to youth level. Visit: http://www.basketballworld.com  or call BASKETBALL WORLD at 888-812-5452 or 860-668-7162

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