The ability to shoot off the dribble is often what separates star players from average ones.
It can take you from being a player who gets a few perimeter shots a game, to becoming the leading scorer on your team.
Here’s how to improve your shot off the dribble.
Your shot starts from the ground up, so it only makes sense fo us to focus on your feet.
Clean footwork is key to being able to to shoot off the dribble efficiently.
When pulling up to shoot after dribbling, you have two steps to use after picking up the ball.
Here are the general rules to make things clear:
- If you’re moving to the right, then your final steps should be left foot then right foot
- If your’e moving to the left, then your final steps should be right foot then left foot
(footwork is different for hop steps and stepbacks)
Notice how each time, your outside foot is the final step. This helps you to stop on a dime and pull up for the shot.
Also, on your outside foot, try not to let your heel touch the ground.
This will further help you to spring up and get your shot off faster.
Picking up the ball
So, footwork’s out of the way.
Let’s focus on how you pick up the ball during your final two steps.
Often, when players hoot off the dribble, they miss shots because they are shooting out of bad positions.
Instead, the ball should be shot out of your shot pocket.
This refers to the area by your waist/torso that you start your jump shot from.
So… NOT by your side or at knee height.
The goal is to get the ball into your shot pocket as QUICKLY and SECURELY as possible.
To help achieve this, here are two good habits:
- For your final dribble before picking the ball up, pound the ball hard so it returns to your hands quickly at a good height
- When you pick up the ball, spread your fingers wide on your shooting hand for more control and accuracy
Shooting on balance
I mentioned it earlier, but I’ll say it again.
Whether you’re moving left or right, each time the final step is taken with the outside foot.
There’s a good reason for this (aside from helping you to spring up into your shot)…
By doing this, it helps to make sure you shoot on balance, without jumping sideways.
When players lose accuracy as they shoot off the dribble, it is often due to a lack of balance on their shot.
Shooting on balance is vital.
To make things clear, here are the keys to staying on balance, when pulling up to shoot:
- Use correct footwork, with feet at least shoulder-width apart, so that you don’t lean sideways
- Your momentum should be directly UPWARDS and directed towards the basket
- Your shooting arm should face the basket. When moving towards your strong-hand side, you may need to turn a little in the air to help with this.
Time to train
As you can tell, there’s a LOT that goes into shooting well off the dribble.
Combining everything here to shoot off the dribble may feel weird and uncomfortable at first.
However, with practice, it will begin to feel smoother and you’ll have a lethal scoring weapon in your bag.
You gotta get your shooting reps up.
Here’s a shooting drill to get you started:
Take one dribble forwards to the right and shoot. Then, take one dribble forwards to the left and shoot.
Repeat this, taking ten shots from each side.
Give yourself one point for a make, and an extra point for a swish.
Remember to focus on the technique we’ve gone through and record yourself to assess any mistakes.
For a full shooting training, try the FREE Hooper Boost shooting workout.
Alongside your shot off the dribble, it will also help you improve your shooting range.
Let’s get to work…