Footwork and Shooting on the Move in Basketball

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Shooting the basketball on the move at a high percentage has a lot to do with footwork and body control. If you are not able to come into your shot the right way and get your body squared up to the basket, you will not be very successful as a shooter. It is a much different feel from just standing, catching, and shooting the ball. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before the player ever touches the ball. Here are three tips that you can use to become better at shooting on the move.

Set Your Defender Up Every Time

Before you ever use any type of screen, you need to set your defender up. Don’t solely rely on the screen to get you open; you also need to help the process. When you set your defender up, you need to first take them away from the screen or step across their body before going. This is important because if you can get the defender to think you are going one way, but then actually going the opposite way, you will be able to get a step on them. Being able to get this step on the defender means getting a better look at the potential shot.

It will also allow you to read the defender better and understand what type of cut you should make. This will enable you to determine whether you should curl cut, straight cut, or fade cut. This only happens, though, if you can first set up your defender before receiving the screen.

Change of Pace

You also want to change up your speed when moving towards a cut or screen. Get the defender to relax by moving slowly, and then explode to use the screen. One of the biggest things that younger inexperienced players struggle with is always playing at the same speed. They think, “I need to be as fast as I can all the time!” This thought process is wrong, though, and it is also easier for the defense to guard. Before using a screen, you want to get the defender to let down their guard and relax. You do this by going slow and then shifting right into high gear and attacking the screen.

If you can pair up both selling your cut and also changing up your speeds, you will be very difficult to guard. This comes down technique, and then having the discipline needed to execute the movement.

As a basketball trainer in Tampa, Florida, I spend a lot of time with my players moving off of the ball. I want them to recognize when and where they can be cutting, spacing, and using off the ball screens. So as you are watching different basketball games, be a student and watch what is happening off of the ball. This will help you better understand and recognize what you should be doing as you are playing. The more you can understand the game, the more it will slow down for you.

Footwork Before the Shot

As you catch the basketball, your footwork and body must be getting you squared up to the basket. If you catch the ball and your body is still drifting away from the basket, you will be drifting as you shoot the ball as well, and that is not good. I like to use the term, “Get out, so you can get back in.” This simply means that you want to get your body’s momentum out off of a down screen as quickly as you can so that you can get it moving back in towards the basket as you are catching the ball. This is extremely important to shooting a high percentage on the move.

The better you are able to do this, the higher the percentage your shots will be. And this isn’t just for shots off of a down screen, but any time you are catching the ball. You should already be thinking about what you are going to be doing next. Catch the ball in an athletic stance with your momentum moving towards the basket, and good things will happen.


As you can probably already tell, all of these tips are things that need to be done before the ball gets to you. Your shot preparation has a direct effect on your actual shot, and they need to be valued if you want to be a great shooter.

With getting up shots, you must be spending time developing your footwork, working on your leg strength, and so on. This may mean spending more time in the weight room, doing bodyweight exercises on your own, or whatever, but the more you can improve your footwork and strengthen your legs, the easier it will be to shoot on the move.

By Kyle Ohman –