Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Thrive3 footwork

Luke Meier

Thrive3 shooting footwork series (YouTube).

You need to be able to use 1-2 footwork, the hop, and more - there are actually 9 ways you need to set your feet, based on the situation and timing.

1. Spot-up - 1-2 (Celtic 50 drill)
2. Spot-up - hop (
Doubles-Singles drill)
3. Spot-up - silent feet (42 drill)
4. Pull-up - stride stop (Back-pedal pull-ups)
5. Pull-up - hop (High ballscreen drill)
6. Pull-up - freeze (Freeze 50 drill)
7. On the move - inside foot (Elbow shooting)
8. On the move - hop (Elbow shooting)
Also see Skills Checklists - Footwork (Shooting, One-dribble pull-up) and the playlist Shooting footwork.

1) 1-2 step spot-up

See YouTube video - Spot up like Steph Curry.

Spot-up catch and shoot - pretty much stationary, not dribbling or moving, just waiting to catch.

Teaching points for the 1-2 - start in a staggered stance (left foot forward for a rightie), step into the shot as the pass is coming, take a short step with the lead foot (before the catch) and a longer step with the back foot to get squared up (as we are setting the ball into the shot pocket).

A variation that you see a lot is when the shooter has their front foot in a stationary position, they're not going to take that first small step, their front foot is set, on the catch just set the rear foot.

Spot-up drills are the easiest to do on your own, they're just catch and shoot from different spots on the floor.

Celtic 50 drill (shown)

5 spots, make 10 from each spot, count total takes.

See Shooting - Eastman Celtic 40, also Tauer form.

2) Hop spot-up

See YouTube video - Kyle Korver catch and shoot.

The hop is the second type of footwork you can use on a spot-up shot. Teaching points - a low, quick hop so we're quick into our rhythm dip; don't jump too high, it's too slow. As soon as you catch the ball you're bringing it into your shot pocket and bending your knees at the same time, then right up into your shot.
See Footwork workout with Jordan Lawley (foot replacement - hop off two), Master elite shooting footwork (anchor foot, 3-step stride stop), Sprint-through shooting (3-step footwork).

Doubles-Singles drill

A great drill, 5 spots, make two in a row from each spot, then make one from each spot coming back, if you can beat the drill consistently in under two minutes, then challenge yourself by setting a lower time (for college guys, they use 75 seconds).

See Shooting - Celtics, Tony Watson series (Splash brothers), Eagle.up

3) Silent feet spot-up

See YouTube video - NBA shooting secret.

The last way to set your feet in a spot-up situation is what they call "silent feet". Your feet are completely set, all you do is catch and get directly into your shot without any step or hop. This footwork is most common in the NBA when players are shooting corner 3s and have super-limited space.

Teaching point - your rhythm dip is the only source of momentum or power, make sure you bend your knees and drop your hips as you bring the ball to your shot pocket.
See Footwork workout with Jordan Lawley (catch in a wide stance).

42 drill

Start in a corner, you have to make two shots in a row 4 separate times, the drill is over if you miss two shots in a row. On any miss you have to sprint to the opposite corner; if you make 2 in a row you get to jog to the opposite corner. Move from corner to corner working on silent feet.

Adjust the difficulty based on your skill level. If you are a good high-school player, you should be able to beat the drill in less than 3 minutes [i.e. start over if you miss two in a row].

See Shooting - Grinnell 11, 2 miss and out, also YouTube video - 5 shooting drills by yourself (Baseline sprint 3s).up

4) Stride-stop pull-up

See YouTube video - Bradley Beal stride-stop pull-up.

Most commonly you're trying to stop as quickly as possible, or trying to cover ground and create space from your defender. It can be out of triple threat.

Teaching points - if dribbling with the right hand, pound the ball out in front and reach with the left foot, the dribble and left foot should hit the floor at the same time, then step with the right foot into the shot. The dribble is part of the shot, don't dribble back between the legs because you're not covering ground and have to pick the ball up to get squared up.

It's really important not to hop, you're not selling the drive as hard, and it gives your defender an extra second to get back in the play.

See How to shoot off the dribble (boom 1-2, not a hop or 1-2-3).

Back-pedal pull-ups drill

Can use a rebounder and passer with two balls. Start behind a cone, if on the right side, catch with the right foot forward, push off the front foot and reach with the back foot, trying to cover ground, pushing the dribble out, setting the feet left-right, take the shot, then back pedal, get your feet set on the left side of the cone with the left foot forward, explode off the left foot, reach with the right foot, setting the feet right-left into the shot.

Go for one minute or 10 makes, whichever comes first. If you can beat the drill on a consistent basis, bump up the number of makes. You can do the drill from any spot on the floor, and even move the cone behind the 3-point line.

See Shooting - Triangle elbows, Rick Carlisleup, Beat the closeout.

5) Hop pull-ups

See YouTube video - Quick release pull-up.

Teaching points are similar to a hop spot-up, a low quick hop, bending knee, sinking hips, motion into the shot pocket is synced up for a good rhythm dip.

The first situation where you use hop footwork off the dribble is a couple of ballscreen scenarios, e.g. on a high ballscreen,

a) As you start to use the screen, your defender goes under, you make that read and hop low and quick into a shot behind the screen, using a hop because you would have to take another dribble to get into a stride stop (1-2).

b) The screen defender is playing soft [drop coverage], as you get to the level of the screen and your defender is behind you, hop off the screen right into a shot, again avoiding the need for another dribble to get into a stride stop.
See DJ Sackmann with hop footwork shooting (your defender goes under a ballscreen; 1-2 all the time is tough), Art of dribble pull-ups (a 1-2 is quicker, use a hop when out of rhythm or can't get to 1-2; sometimes need outside-leg 1-2), 1-2 pull-up vs. hop (use a hop for balance when no one is around, always hop off the inside foot).

High ballscreen drill

Use a defender if possible (on you, then on the screen). Hop behind the screen, then hop with the screen defender playing soft. Make 5 of each coming off the screen to the left then to the right, for 20 makes.

See Tactics - Hanlen ballscreens, Shooting - Dave Smart sidescreens, Sackmann ballscreens.up

6) Freeze dribble

See YouTube video - Freeze dribble shot, also Stephen Curry freeze series.

Freeze footwork is another way to set your feet off the dribble. Sell a drive, then rise up into a shot.

If dribbling with the left hand, jab forward with the left foot as you drop your shoulders and hips to sell drive, eyes on your defender, your defender steps back or freezes, step with the right foot into a shot. Jab with a little bit of change of pace, hesitate (skip on the right foot).

Freeze 50 drill

To start, work on 1-2 freeze technique without shooting, isolate your footwork and change of pace, sell the drive.

Then make 3-point freeze pull-ups from different spots on the floor, e.g. make 5 shots from 5 spots with each hand, for 50 makes. Whatever you have, you've got to make it work, because the drills don't work unless you do.

See Shooting - Altizer 7-minute challenge (Size-up 3s), also Guard workout (Shot creator).

7) Inside foot on the move

See YouTube video - Get space for catch and shoot.

You're on the move, e.g., coming off a screen, the foot closest to the basket is going to be the lead foot.

Teaching points - reach with the inside foot, run through the catch, meet the ball, and round off your footwork so that you catch and square up at the same time (don't catch then pivot).

Elbow shooting drill (inside foot)

Move from elbow to elbow around a cone, squaring up on the inside foot. Here the shooter reaches with his left foot, left-right into the shot, will then come back around the cone right-left into the next shot.

Shoot for makes in a certain time, or a percentage, e.g. make 8 out of 10. Can also move from the wing to get short corner and elbow jumpers.

8) Hop on the move

See YouTube video - How to shoot with balance on the move.

There are times in a game when you meet a pass and can't get into inside-foot footwork, it's much easier to hop rather than stutter-step to get to your inside foot.

Teaching points - low and quick hop, squaring up in the air.

Elbow shooting drill (hop)

Elbow to elbow shooting, sprinting around a cone, working on hop shooting on the move (note - he hops off the left foot going both ways).

Scoring is +1 for a make, -1 for a miss, set a score that you need to beat, like +3 or +5.
Steph Curry will catch L-R curling over his left shoulder, and use a hop curling over his right shoulder, see Shooting - Curry on the move.

9) 1-2 going away from the basket

See YouTube video - How to square up going away from the basket.

Coming off a downscreen or pin-down, if your defender runs right into the screen, you want to cut directly behind the screener's back pocket (a pocket cut). It's very hard to go inside foot or hop all the way back around to get square to the rim, so use 1-2 footwork.

A rightie cutting to the left wing will sprint behind the 3-point line, plant his top foot (right foot), then push back into 1-2 footwork (left-right), positive momentum back to the basket.

The footwork is different cutting to the right wing, plant the top foot (left foot), open up on the right foot, square to the rim, then step forward into the shot with 1-2 footwork (left-right).

Pocket cut shooting drill

Use a passer and rebounder. For one minute each, make pocket cuts on one side of the floor, then on the other side, then alternate sides. Count makes.
On a straight cut to his right, Curry catches on his outside (right) foot, reverse pivots into a L-R shot, and on a cut to his left will reverse hop off the outside (left) foot. See Shooting - Curry on the move.
Augie Johnston - 3 drills to improve footwork - catch with your back to the basket, outside-foot reverse pivot jab shot; spin back baseline; shoulder fake baseline, front pivot middle.

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-23 Eric Johannsen