November 26, 2004, Newsletter Issue #190: AVOIDING THE BLOCKED SHOT

Tip of the Week

In a "catch and shoot" situation. A player must KNOW if he is open before the catch. If he KNOWS he is open, he should rise into the shot. As he is heading towards the pass, plant the inside foot, square to the basket and "step into" the shot. Quickness is the key to getting off a good shot. If there is any question that he is not open for a shot, he probably shouldn`t shoot it.

Being "Shot Ready" requires a few things. First, a player must always expect the next pass and PREPARE to be an effective reciever. To do so, the player must be in the proper STANCE, with the HANDS and FEET ready. Proper STANCE requires knees and waist to be bent with FEET facing the basketball and your "shooting foot"(foot on the side of the hand that you shoot with) a little behind your pivot foot. As the reciever is about to catch the pass, the HANDS should be above the waist with the fingertips facing upward. This will allow the player to get the ball into the "shooting pocket" as quickly as possible. Upon catching the pass he should plant the "pivot foot" and step into the shot with the "shooting foot". This way the shot starts with the feet, extends through the knees and waist, then involves the shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingertips. This should be one fluid motion, concentrating on an effective "upforce". This is a term often used by Tom Norland who has a great website on shooting at

Once a player has made a commitmenty to drive to the basket, a few of things can help avoid the blocked shot. On drives, generally it is the "help" defenders who block the shot rather than the player guarding the shooter, so be aware of them. Do what you can to throw off a shotblockers timing, such as releasing the ball a little sooner or waiting and making a shot fake first. On power layups, your shoulders should be parrallel to the backboard instead of facing the basket. This helps protect the ball a little better. A term to remember is BODY-BODY-BALL. You always want to have the defenders BODY, then your BODY, then the BALL. This way your body is protecting the shot.

Of course another good idea is to work on your "mid-range" game by coming to a jump stop and shooting a little jump shot BEFORE you get to the shot blocker. Why be "courageous" and risk a blocked shot if you can shoot an open one. Remember to be sensible when you are driving to the basket and be aggressive but not reckless . Avoid the blocked shot and shoot the open one.

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