Select Page

Coaches who have observed our students often comment that you can pick out IBTA students because they play a certain way. They are emotionally and physically under control, they are primary pivot foot players, they show hands preparing to receive passes, they play out of a ready position, they have explosive first steps, they are solid ball-handlers, and they land on balance using jump stops effectively. We call it being fundamentally sound! This month I wish to share our philosophy at IBTA concerning one of those observations, the use of jump stops, specifically the use of jump stops leading to a pull-up jump shot.


First of all, let me be clear on this point, I believe that great players must have the ability to shoot pull-up jump shots off of two foot jump stops and off a 1-2 step approach. It simply makes you a more complete offensive threat. The reason young players at the Academy always land jump stops leading to pull-up jump shots is because of our philosophy: Learning to play on balance is critical to reaching your full potential in this game. Therefore, our young players are drilled in perfecting this fundamental with game speed jump stop reps, reps, reps. Once our students show mastery as balanced players, which may take months and months of consistent training, we begin to integrate the 1-2 step approach off the dribble as an alternative and share the strengths with our students for including both types of footwork.

I firmly believe that teaching jump stops must come before teaching the 1-2 step because landing on balance is one of the hardest skills to teach. It is amazing how many older students, who are considered decent players, come to the Academy for the first time and when we take them through our initial warm-up, cannot land a jump stop on balance. Such an important fundamental, but yet it has never been stressed at any level they have participated in. So where do we begin those students; by having them execute jumps stops, jump stops, jump stops. Developing a strong fundamental foundation is a process and that process cannot be cheated. Unfortunately for many players, they have spent their careers cheating the process without ever realizing it.

We teach our students that landing jump stops is most critical for a shooter the closer he/she is to the basket, especially in the paint area. In this area, balance, strength and power are critical to success. Landing on a jump stop allows a player to utilize those three qualities most effectively. The paint is not a place for soft players, it is a place for hard-nosed, confident players who are students of the game and who understand that balance, strength and power are necessary to be a complete player. We also stress with our students that landing jump stops off of an explosive first step or dribble move allows the offensive player the opportunity to create more separation from the defender, and separation usually leads to positive results.

Once a player demonstrates mastery off jump stops, we begin to integrate 1-2 step footwork into their offensive arsenal. We introduce this fundamental for several important reasons. First of all, by integrating both into a player’s game, an offensive player becomes more versatile which keeps the defender even more off balance. It goes back to the analogy of a race, and how important it is for the offensive player to understand the great advantage he/she possesses. The more versatile your game, the greater your advantage in the race becomes. Secondly, players are slightly quicker off the floor as jump shooters. And when a defender is off balance and back on his heels, a quicker pick up to the shot is a huge asset. Finally, we believe that the 1-2 step approach provides momentum and rhythm for an offensive player. The further from the basket the offensive player is, the more important momentum and rhythm are in creating a successful shooting base.

Our goal at the IBTA is to develop complete players. Hopefully, the information in this tip will give you a greater understanding of offensive footwork, and the reason we teach the game in a particular sequence. Just reminder, you are only as strong as the foundation you build!