Here at Dr. Dish, we always stress the importance having your feet shoulder-width apart in order to create a solid basketball shooting base. This allows you to transfer the most energy from your legs as you elevate over your defender to release your shot. However, when it comes to the angle of your feet in relation to the basket, players at elite levels don't always have the same style. Below are 3 different ways that professionals place their feet while shooting a jump shot.
1. Dominant Staggered Stance
(Left Handed) (Right Handed)
This stance is probably the most common stance used by basketball players of advanced levels. With this stance, the shooters foot on their dominant side is slightly closer to the basket than their non-dominant foot. Some coaches teach their players this footwork because they believe that this footwork will naturally point the players shooting hand towards the basket. In theory, this promotes a more accurate shot as well as giving a shooter a shorter distance to shoot the ball.
Stephen Curry is a perfect example of an NBA player that utilizes this foot placement, as seen in the photo below.
2. Parallel Stance
The parallel stance is a very straightforward and old school styled stance that was more popular when the game of basketball was first being taught, but there are still players at the elite level that use this style of foot placement. The theory behind this style is that by squaring both feet up to the basket and having both feet the same distance from the basket will promote the most chance of getting an accurate look at the basket. A good example of a current NBA player using this style of foot placement is Klay Thompson. As you can see in the photo below, Thompson's feet are parallel to each other as he elevates and starts his shooting motion.
3. Cross-Dominant Stance
(Left Handed) (Right Handed)
The cross-dominant stance is not a stance that it promoted by many coaches because it is an unorthodox style that goes against what most basketball trainers and coaches teach. In this stance, the non-dominant foot is slightly ahead of the dominant foot as a player is starting to elevate. Here at Dr. Dish, we could not find any professional players that consistently use this style. However, there are examples of players using this style occasionally, as is the case with Michael Carter-Williams below. You can see that the left foot is very slightly ahead of the right foot as Carter-Williams starts to elevate.
So what style does Dr. Dish suggest?
In short, whatever is most comfortable for you! There are professional and collegiate athletes that have been able to shoot very consistently, regardless of the style of foot placement that they use. The one thing that they all have in common, however, is that they keep their feet shoulder-width apart. Another good example of an unorthodox shooting style can be seen when looking at Dirk Nowitzki's free throw.
As you can see here, Dirk's knees are bowed in, which many would say is not representative of good shooting form. While his knees are bent inwards, his feet are still shoulder-width apart. He still has solid base to shoot from.
While his form might be unorthodox, his .879 Career Free Throw Percentage goes to show that as long as you have the fundamentals down, you can have your own style and still be a consistent shooter.
Want some more tips on how to improve your jump shot? Click the link below!