About a week ago, I was at an AAU girls basketball event promoting my recruiting service The Highlight Reel, Inc. Before I get started, if you have not heard about The Highlight Reel recruiting, you will soon. We are on the verge of breaking out on the national scene in a big way. Our six tiered approach to the college recruiting process, lower price point and high return on investment separates us from all of our major competitors. On average, we save college student athletes $24,000 per year and no one that has used THR (and I do mean no one) has received less than $11000 per year. It is amazing! So if you are interested in saving what could equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars on yours or your son or daughter’s college education visit www.sportshlr.com and check out what The Highlight Reel has to offer. And don’t forget to mention me, Rich Stoner, when you speak to someone.
Now, back to my original story. I was at Fordham and I got into what an important basketball skill development discussion with close friend of mine, Phyllis Mangina (the former Seton Hall women’s basketball coach). We were talking about skill development in general and then we got into finishing around the basket and how it is a major weakness in many players’ games. We determined that the inability to finish is a result of two factors: fear of contact and footwork, and since that time, I have been thinking about this conversation and have determined that one is a direct result of the other.
Simply put, players worry too much about contact. Watching countless games, I have come to the realization that as players drive to the basket they are trying to shy away from it. Consequently, they are missing more shots around the rim than they should be. As a player drives to the basket and tries to avoid contact they are actually putting themselves in an off balance position. This off balance position makes what was once a makeable shot into one that is significantly more difficult to make. As a result layups are missed because of the increased difficulty of the shot due to the off balance nature of the player.
The lack of balance caused by the player’s determination to avoid contact is where the connection is to the second issue, footwork. During our conversation, Coach Mangina brought up the fact that finishing around the rim needs to be built from the ground up. In other words, footwork is the key. As the player drives to the basket and approach the point at which they are going to finish, they must have their feet underneath them. Having their feet underneath them will give them a solid base and good balance and enable them to explode from their low position and finish at their highest point. Proper footwork and balance can only be achieve if the player is not worried about getting hit and trying to avoid contact.
Footwork is a facet of the game that needs to be developed and worked on daily. Players should work on a variety of finishing moves around the rim all with the focus on having their feet in a solid position underneath them. It would also help if a coach, trainer, or friend had a blocking pad that they could use to by physical with the player. This will force the player to get used to finishing with proper footwork and through contact.
Please let the Elite Basketball Training community know your thoughts on finishing around the rim by speaking up in the comments section below. And remember, we have a variety of skill development and sports performance based programs that are available at the new New Jersey Sports Academy so feel free to email me with any questions.
See you on the court!
Rich Stoner, USAW
Elite Basketball Training, LLC