Staggered Stance or Square?

Staggered Stance or Square?

This is another one of those big debates in coaching…

But like a lot of them, I think this misses the point of what really matters.

When we are discussing something like this, whether a player should have one foot forward when they shoot or their feet should be level or square… I think it’s important to separate ourselves from the question for a second and ask…


And I don’t mean that in the “why are we even arguing about this” kind of way.  I mean it as in “what are we really trying to accomplish?”

So?  What are we really trying to accomplish with our legs.

Personally, with the NBA players I work with, my goal is simple.  I want them to have the best chance possible to push evenly with their legs.  If they can push evenly with their legs, they are going to push their torso straight up in the air. 

If they were to push UNEVENLY with their legs, they will be leaning to one side when they shoot the ball, creating negative energy in that direction, and increase the likelihood of missing in that direction.

So now that I’ve defined my goal, I need to look at how positioning my legs will affect this.  

Since I personally want both legs to push the same as the other, I work with players to position their legs as mirror images of one another.  In other words, I would like both feet to be relatively even.


We do need to remember that shooting form isn’t black and white.  We don’t need to be PERFECT in either direction, because there is no such thing.  So while I may like the theoretical idea of being perfectly level, I’m aware of the fact that shooting a basketball in a game isn’t a perfect world.

So I fall back on my general goal.  What do I want to accomplish?  Both legs pushing evenly.  Do I have a chance to do that pretty well when there is a slight stagger?  Yes, of course.  Will it be more difficult to push evenly with the legs the more the stagger and become in different positions?  I believe so.

I work to find a happy medium between “theoretically perfect” and “realistic”, while slightly factoring “comfort”.

In other words, I don’t mind at all if a right handed shooter has their right foot a couple inches in front of the left.  Especially if they can look down at their feet and see them in similar position, they are likely going to be able to push fairly evenly.

If you want to learn the drills that I use to build these important habits… the same progression of drills that have helped NBA players improve 20-30% in one season, look for my ONLINE WORKOUT PROGRAM “7 Days to Better Balance”

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