3 Key Components of Good Footwork off the Dribble
When it comes to good ball handling a lot of players seem to overlook how important footwork is. There are also coaches and trainers that neglect to teach players how to start and stop when it comes to dribbling. It may seem like a very minute detail, but that detail can be huge in the game.
Look at it like this. You wouldn't get in a car with someone that doesn't know how to take off. You definitely wouldn't get in a car with someone that doesn't know how to stop. When using this analogy I tell my players to imagine you're in the passenger seat and someone is driving 100 mph. All of a sudden the light turns red and they don't know how to stop the car. Several things can go wrong here. They could run the light, crash, or veer off the road.
So how does this relate to basketball? Players must know how to start a move with or without their dribble that incorporates good footwork. If they are starting from a triple threat position they must be able to do it without traveling. If they have a dribble they must be able to do it in a way that they get an advantage by getting their foot to the outside of their defenders foot. When it comes to stopping the players must be able to stop on balance. This doesn't matter if you as a coach prefers a jump stop or a 1-2 step. The player must still be on balance. Being on balance on the stop allows the player to shoot on balance, pass on balance, or pivot on balance. Now lets look at those 3 things in a little more detail.
- Shoot on Balance - I know in the game today you will see players shoot tough off balance shots from time to time. Those players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Russell Westbrook are exceptional athletes that understand how to control their body in the air. It's important to get players, especially young players, to understand they must be on balance when they shoot because the chances of them making off balance shots are low.
- Pass on balance - On target passing allows the shooter to catch and shoot in rhythm with a fluid motion. Passes that are off target due to a player not stopping on balance can result in deflections, steals, non catchable passes, or bad passes that allows the defense to recover and take away the open shot.
- Pivot - Players that cannot stop on balance will have a difficult time pivoting without traveling. If the initial shot or pass is not there you want the player to be able to pivot for a second option. This can only be done if he/she is on balance with their hips dropped and knees flexed.
I have a link below that will show you some different drills I do with my players that teach them proper footwork on starting and stopping. It may seem elementary, because it is, and its needed at all levels. Depending on the player's skill level will determine how much time spent on these type of drills. In the meantime if you have any questions or comments please leave them below.