When it comes to basketball, scoring trumps all facets of basketball as the most important component of a player’s skillset! Regardless of which position you play at and at which level, scoring is the essence of the game that will most contribute to your team winning. This article will explore 5 effective ways to score that can be used to elevate your ability to score and help adapt your physical structure to your game style!
The layup is one of the most fundamental moves of basketball that incorporate speed and finesse, also being one of the most accurate shots in a player’s arsenal. This shot is, although easy as can be taken near the basket, can be tricky as can lead to a travel violation and, therefore, a turnover. The layup is performed by catching the ball, taking two steps towards the basket, and releasing the ball before the third step. It is important to be careful that you do not travel in the process and so one trick is to see that the leg you take your first step with, ideally the same side foot as the side you decide to release the ball from, has its knee up when jumping after the final step. By following this, it only allows for one more step following the initial step and therefore is not a travel.
Examples of these are shown below.
There are also various combinations for layups that can be used to confuse the defense and keep the defense attentive. Such combinations can be made with three criteria in mind.
- Off the board or direct:
This involves either banking the ball into the basket or putting it indirectly. Such a variation can be effective if the defense has his hand covering one of the options, as this will allow the other to be free. The bank shot is released slightly towards the board instead of directly ahead and so if the defense puts his, or her, directly ahead to block, you can bank it, therefore avoiding the block and vice versa. Both types are shown below.
- Underarm or overarm:
The layup can be taken both underarm and overarm, with the choice depending on where the defender is positioned. If you have beaten your defender and the defender is trailing, an underarm layup is recommended because it provides more reach and coverage from the offense as the ball is ahead of you rather than above you. On the other hand, if the defender is in front of you, it is advisable to use overarm to try to reach above them, but also because if you use underarm, it is easy for the defender to reach and block the shot.
Both types are shown below.
- Direct or euro step:
This differentiates between the direction and approaches a player has towards the basket. A direct approach refers to stepping straight towards the basket which is used when you are in front of your defender as this allows for more speed and reach than the euro step. The euro step helps to create some time to release a shot over a relatively taller player. This is because such a move relies on quick agility rather than speed, and is performed by taking the first step in one direction and the second in the other direction. If performed fast enough, this will create a window in which the defense is leaning in the opposite direction you are going, allowing you to take a shot. Both types are shown below.
2. The Floater
The floater is a type of shot that contains elements of both layups and mid-range shots in that it uses the stepping technique of a layup but the distance of a mid-range shot. The floater starts with you in motion moving towards the basket. Around the free throw line, take a quick and long step forward as if going up for a layup. This causes the defense to move slightly back to block what he or she believes to be a layup. However, instead of taking a second step similar to the first one, as you would do for a layup, take a small step focusing more on going upwards. By doing so, there is now a significant distance from the defender and also height to beat out his possible recovery. Following this, the shot can be taken one-handed or two-handed overarm, however one-handed is recommended as it extends more and provides greater reach, granting the ability for you to score on much taller defenders. Finishing underarm would be useless as the ball will be easy to knock out of your hands by the defense, causing a turnover. Such a move is especially effective for guards as this incorporates their speed and also grants them a way to score inside over taller players.
3. Catch And Shoot
Although this method of scoring sounds relatively easy, there are many aspects of the shot that many players overlook. This shot involves catching the ball and directly shooting the ball to get the shot off before the defender can catch up to the shot. The most common problem and aspect that makes this shot invalid are that while practicing this shot many players take a dribble before shooting. This loses the value of the shot as it allows the defense to catch up in a real game and will not be effective as you will likely throw the ball without form in rush. The problem arises by the fact that players lose a split fraction of a second and are also turning their entire body while shooting, causing the direction of the shot to vary. By pointing your feet at the basket while receiving the ball, your body does not turn while shooting and there is no need to pivot, but rather jump straight into your shot.
4. Step Back Shots
Although the step-back shot is one of the most difficult shots of this list due to its change in direction, it is probably the most effective in creating space to shoot. This shot relies on both the speed and agility of the player. The shot first involves dribbling fast towards the basket, making the defender think you are going for a layup or floater. Then, suddenly stop and take a quick step backward, sending your defender towards the basket and you moving away from it, creating a large amount of space. Finally, land in a jump stops and shoot while jumping straight up to recover your balance. The reason that speed and agility is important is that if one isn’t fast enough, the defender will be able to recover the distance and block the shot. Due to this, the step back shot is commonly executed by a guard. (Want to know about guards and the other basketball positions? Click here.) Two key things to look out for is that you jump straight up and take a step back rather than a jump back as it is likely that the referee will call that travel. An example is shown below.
5. The Fadeaway
This shot is probably the most difficult but is effective for post players who are playing against larger or heavier post players. This shot, although can be taken in many ways, is most effective while posting up. Start the shot with your back facing the basket and posting up your defender. By doing so, you can try to gain ground without having to go away from the basket, but still, have an option if you are not able to body your way through. Following this, take a power dribble with your dominant arm and leg to push the defender as far back as you can to gain distance. However, as the defender is likely long, this will not be enough as they will be able to reach your shot. In this case, pivot on your back leg (Non-dominant leg) and turn towards the basket. When you have completely turned, instantly jump off your pivot foot away from the basket to create more distance before the shot. The turn helps to gain some momentum to make up for the fact that you are moving away from the basket. It is important however to shoot with your body facing the basket, including your hips, shoulders, and face. To achieve this, you can point your dominant leg towards the basket as well as this makes sure that your entire body is facing the hoop. Also, for this to be effective without losing too much accuracy, this move must be carried out near the basket where the shot requires less power while being released. An example is shown below.
With these five moves perfected, you can become an unstoppable scorer regardless of your size or physique. Don’t be surprised if the other team considers you a threat!