With every “hot debate” in shooting, or basketball, or skill development, I try to take a step back.
I try to look at the debate and ask myself “what really matters?”
I feel like when I can do that I can get out of the debate and whether my theory is correct, and all that other stuff, and just get down to what really matters.
When it comes to the HOP vs the 1-2 Step, we can get overwhelmed by the details and loose sight of what matters.
These are my opinions….
First and foremost, remember the goal of shooting the ball. The goal is for the ball to go in. If the ball goes in, it count for points regardless of what footwork was used on the shot. If it doesn’t go in, then it doesn’t count, EVEN IF THE PERFECT FOOTWORK WAS USED.
So my first rule when talking about footwork with a new player is ‘know what you are most comfortable doing, and when you are open, do that!” If you have time, do whatever is going to give you the best chance of the ball going through the hoop. Efficiency isn’t the biggest goal when you are wide open – results are!
My second rule is ‘know what the most efficient footwork for the situation will be.” In most common game situations there is probably one footwork that will be quick and leave the player with options, and so I would like them to be comfortable using that footwork in that situation. For example, I would teach a forward pivot on the inside foot when a player is curling off a wide pin-down. This is the most efficient footwork for the curling motion, plus gives the player the option to make a read and continue their momentum, driving the ball to the basket if they see space. If they were to hop, their momentum is stopped, then when they make the read they need to start it up again. So I would want to drill the most efficient footwork often in game situations.
And my third rule is this… “strange things happen all the time. Be prepared for them.” I just said that a 1-2 step on the inside foot might be the best footwork for a curl. But what happens when the pass gets tipped and the cutter ends up on their outside foot on the catch? Now they’ll need to be comfortable with a reverse pivot on the outside foot. Or if the defender is into their body and they are just worried about making a clean catch, the shooter may end up jump-stopping. The game isn’t perfect, so don’t expect that players will only need to do the “most efficient” footwork in any given situations. Practice mistakes too.
So when we look at footwork this way, I think the most important thing to do it MINE DOWN ANOTHER LEVEL and ask another question.
“WHEN IT COMES TO FOOTWORK, WHAT REALLY MATTERS?”
For me, that is two things…
Being on balance as the shooter, and pushing evenly with legs. If a player is on balance to start their shot they are giving themselves the best opportunity to keep the shot simple and repeatable. And if they can push evenly with their legs, then they are creating positive energy that will keep the shot simple.
So early on in the process of helping players build or rebuild shooting mechanics, I will start with a hop or jump stop. Not because it is RIGHT or CORRECT, but because it makes my goal of developing the habits of pushing evenly with the legs easier to accomplish. If both feet are hitting the floor at the same time, it is going to be easier to push evenly with the legs in the shooting motion. If I ask a player to step 1-2 into a shot, their legs will be doing different things at different times and syncing those legs up will be more challenging. So I START with a hop.
But I don’t stay with the hop exclusively. I remember that isn’t not my job to only drill one way. My job is to give players multiple tools, AND to allow them to be the best version of themselves. So once they are showing proficiency in pushing evenly with their legs on a hop I’ll start to ask them to learn to push evenly with their legs on a 1-2 step as well.
THE HABIT OF PUSHING EVENLY WITH THE LEGS IS MY GOAL.
Sometimes as coaches we get too focussed on what is OPTIMAL and loose sight of WHAT IS REALISTIC.
Take a step back, look at what you REALLY need to accomplish, and build those habits.
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