The Jump Shot

When a player is a strong driver and can advance the ball quickly up the court defenders will tend to retreat away from the driver to prevent him from going all the way to the basket for an easy lay-up. The counter move for the offensive player is the jump shot. In recent years the jump shot has become the most potent weapon for the offense. Players have extended their effective range to well beyond the three point line making it even more difficult for the defense to counter the offensive strategies.

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When learning the jump shot remember to practice within comfortable range of the basket. And then gradually increase the range only after high percentage accuracy is achieved from the shorter distance. Once again it is very important that the correct footwork is used. It makes no difference if you are a left handed shooter or right handed the player must stop on the foot opposite to the dribbling hand. It is desirable to commence this shooting drill standing close to the basket as demonstrated for the set shot, but this time the pivot foot stays on the floor while the other steps into it to gather momentum for a jump. The player carries the ball up to the crown line of the head as he is jumping and then at the height of the jump releases the ball with one hand for the shot. The drill is repeated from both sides of the basket using the foot closest to the centre of the court as the pivot foot.

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After the player is able to make a high percentage of shots from close to the basket the drill is repeated from close to the free throw line except this time the player starts with a dribble. Regardless whether the player is right handed or left handed the footwork will be the same. Start close to the edge of the free throw line facing the basket with feet about shoulder width apart. The object is to take just one dribbler as the right foot hits the floor the ball hits the floor. Take possession of the ball as the left foot hits the floor then bring the right foot back to about shoulder width apart coming to a quick stop. The player should remain in a crouched position with the knees well bent and the back almost straight up. The eyes should be focused on the “target” all through the routine and after coming to a quick stop jump vertically releasing the ball with one hand at the height of the jump. In the same way as practiced close to the basket, the ball is raised to about the crown line of the head quickly during the jump. When making the dribble the player should be moving laterally to get used to squaring off to the basket with shoulders virtually parallel to the baseline at the point of release. Do not try to jump too high as this might unbalance the shot and when trying to jump too high the player is likely to raise the ball too high above his head and therefore reduce his effective shooting range.

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The drill is repeated from the other side of the keyway starting the dribble with the ball hitting the floor at the same time as the left foot hits the floor and this time stopping on the right foot for the quick jump shot. When the player is able to execute the shot after taking one dribble in either direction and stopping on the correct foot, it is then time to use more than one dribble. The emphasis is on always stopping on the inside foot, that is the foot closest to the center of the court, coming to a quick stop after squaring off to the basket, making a comfortable but aggressive vertical jump and releasing the ball with one hand at the height of the jump. Common mistakes are releasing the ball after the player has reached the height of his jump, leaving the non shooting hand on the ball for too long thus making the shot almost a two handed shot, releasing the ball too early and shooting off the wrong foot. The work spent on a young player getting the technique right in the early stages will pay good dividends for the rest of his basketball career.

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