Shooting a Basketball - Should You Use Inside Pivot Foot or Strong (Permanent) Pivot Foot?

Question:

We coach youth basketball, what about inside pivot vs strong foot pivot all the time? Is there really a better way for shooting consistently? What is your theory on this? Which do you think is better?




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Answers and Comments

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Joe Haefner says:
9/16/2009 at 4:04:14 PM

Personally, in almost all half-court situations and shooting off the dribble, I use and teach the inside pivot.

I believe when making a cut or running off of a screen, it’s easier and quicker to shoot off the inside pivot foot with some repetitions. I think it also helps with developing a rhythm for the shot.

With youth players, I would definitely the inside pivot. Many players have to overcome being one-footed, just as they have to develop ball-handling skills with their off hand. By learning to use both feet well in pivoting, you make yourself much harder to guard and you are effective from more places on the court.

However, some might argue that if you are coaching a player at a higher level and he is very successful at using his strong pivot foot, you may not want to change his footwork. But would a change in his footwork enable him to get off more shots? Would it enable him to shoot a higher percentage? That’s what the coach and player have to decide.

I’ve noticed that when I play, I tend to use my strong (permanent) foot when I stand-still shoot, perform a flare cut, and shoot off of the break. Not saying it’s the right thing to do, just something I noticed that I’ve become accustomed to doing.

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Andy Crane says:
9/18/2009 at 2:28:02 AM

I'm a firm believer in a permanent pivot foot when it comes to a player making any catch on top of the floor. As for coming off screens from the bottom of the floor or beneath the level of the screen I like players to catch the ball on their inside foot. The only disadvantage to this that I see is that when reversing the ball you can't pivot across your defenders body (aka "vicious pivot"). In girls basketball we have an epidemic when it comes to girls understanding the importance of opposition with their footwork. So many right handers catch the ball with their right foot as their pivot. Opposition provides a player with balance!!! This is one of the BIGGEST problems that I've had with current and former players. Often times these players who catch on the same pivot foot as their dominant hand are prone to traveling and can't go anywhere when they need to put the ball on the floor. The easiest way to eliminate this bad habit from our players' repetoires was to enforce the rule of having a permanent pivot foot.

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Joe Haefner says:
9/18/2009 at 9:00:37 AM

Great points, Andy. Would the players be more effective with their weak pivot foot if their youth and high school coaches worked on it more?

When I play, I actually do it exactly as you explained. With a trailing defender, I'll use inside pivot (can't slow down to use strong pivot, otherwise shot might not be open anymore), but when forced out to the perimeter, I'll use my strong foot because I feel more comfortable and can be more aggressive.

If you're seeing mistakes at the college level, permanent pivot foot would be a good rule to use.

However, a youth coach should be less worried about the kids making mistakes. Actually, if they aren't making mistakes, it means they're being too controlling and not allowing their players to expand their game. Youth level - good to make lots of mistakes - that's how they learn. College - not good to make lots of mistakes - that's how you lose games and get a permanent seat on the bench.

I like to teach both inside & reverse pivots.

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Megan Kennedy says:
10/8/2009 at 7:46:45 AM

I believe in the inside pivot and can't imagine using the same pivot foot everytime without it being awkward. If not using the inside pivot, then a 'bounce' or 'hop' into shots would be the next best bet. As the player turns, they quickly bounce off the floor or hop and land on both feet square to the hoop. I've seen this taught and used effectively as well.

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Eric Legg, M.D. says:
10/12/2009 at 10:33:32 AM

I coach girls basketball and prefer the inside pivot, especially for perimeter ball handlers.Girls spend less time in the "air" on shots within 10 feet and need to get square to the basket quickly. Girls also drive to the basket more versus shooting over the top in close and the inside pivot provides a quicker and more protected route to the hoop. However, I have seen players that have developed a strong permanent leg and use it effectively.

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John says:
10/12/2009 at 3:14:53 PM

As with everything you instruct, you need to "show" the reasons behind it. The ability to attack the basket off of a catch with either foot is invaluable. Snapping through and stepping across to shield the ball as you make your first step towards the basket separates the good players from the great players. I say instruct both feet.

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Tristan Thomas says:
11/20/2009 at 10:06:03 AM

I agree with John. When a player comes off a screen into his shoot with a "1 2 step"(pivoting) it is much harder to come into your shot at full speed. But if you come off the sreen and into your shot wit 2 feet you have better BALENCE! Therefore like John said if the shot isn't there, you can attack the basket with either foot. And with explosion and power.

With the "1 2 step" once you come off that screen it is hard to atack to basket. Because before your attack you will have to shift your body weight to explode in the direction you want. In the "2 foot" shoot you can automatically put the ball on the floor either way with the ability to explode at full speed.

This split second difference between comeing into your shot with a 1-2 shot or a 2 foot shot separates a good shooter from a great shooter! Or a good take from a great take!

However i'm not hating on the 1-2 step. I'm a firm believer in shooting in the way that's most comfortible and that your used to. So if a player's shoot is a 1-2 step and has been there whole life, then that's fine, because thats what there comfortible with(only if they're performing good). But i don't agree with introducing to 1-2 step shot off any screens into a players game.

One final point I would like to make about shooting. If you are shooting off the dribble, I recommend shooting a 1-2 shot(for a quick shot). Because if you take a dribble and end in a jump stop then you are that much slower, and your help side defense has that much longer to close out on you. So in order for you to have a fast shot off the dribble after a ball fake or something, I perfer the 1-2 step.

-Tristan Thomas

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Coach Rude says:
10/21/2013 at 1:33:21 PM

When shooting, I prefer to teach dominant foot and then when going towards their non-dominant side, i prefer to teach a two footed jump into the shooting stance.

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Jon Sanders says:
3/23/2015 at 1:14:39 PM

It's definitely weak-hand pivot foot unless coming off a screen or curl.

If you jab with your weak-hand foot, you are no longer in a true triple threat. And if you do back that foot up to get into a shooting stance, you've just made a negative step that the defense can converge in on to take advantage of. And as stated before, switching pivot feet a ton causes weaker players to travel.

All in all, look around... Great players use a dominant pivot foot; weaker players tend to switch a lot. It might be a coincidence; it might be an enormous facet that is the driving force behind the creation of great players???

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Coach Mark says:
5/13/2015 at 11:26:28 AM

I am just happy when a coach has a philosophy on footwork. Since balance is the most important aspect of basketball it amazes me that more time is not spent teaching footwork. I believe that permanent pivot not only improves balance but puts the shooter in a more explosive position on the catch since they are jumping to (skimming the floor) the ball thus getting their legs into the shot. On the girls side the athletes spend a lot of time on the perimeter standing straight up. If they step to the pass they have to catch it and then bend down and come back up to shoot (not very efficient since most high school girls do not elevate that well on their shots). Permanent pivot also known as catch face or square in the air already has the shooter down and ready to use their legs in the shot. Also in inside pivot, if a right handed athlete is moving to the left they have to get their right foot down (pivot foot) and swing their left foot around stopping it slightly behind the right foot (about two inches) in order to start the shooting motion. Again not efficient and does not lead to a quick release. Finally when permanent pivot it mastered your athlete will be squared up facing the basket on every catch thus being able to see the post player pinning their defender and getting the big the ball on time which makes everyone happier. I know keeping your bigs happy is a whole other post but I digress. On the negative if your athlete gets lazy and hop after the catch the ref can get call for a travel. Agree or disagree I enjoyed reflecting on my philosophy. Finally if you want to see the best shooter who ever incorporated permanent pivot, youtube Ray Allen.

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