The key to developing youth basketball players is not by having them mirrors the greats, such as LeBron James, Lisa Leslie, Michael Jordan, or Diana Taurasi. While all of them certainly serve as great role models, younger athletes that compare their own abilities to superstars will be disappointed more often than not. Instead, train with a purpose. Develop basic skills and fundamentals that set up youth basketball players for the best chance of success. That being said, one effective yet slightly unique skill is the floater shot.
Floaters are typically used by smaller players on the court who attempt to drive the lane and put the ball out of the reach of taller opponents. Today, however, this technique is used by nearly every player on the court, and there are a few variations of how to perform this shot.
The Jump Stop Floater
For beginners, the jump stop floater is usually the easiest technique, as it consists of planting both feet, allowing for more control of the ball. Coming to a quick stop after jumping gives players the ability to make an array of decisions. Once can pump fake, pass the ball, or make contact with a defender in an attempt to draw a foul.
When attempting a floater, however, this can be a bit more time consuming in terms of generating the shot, as you’ll have to “reload” your shot once you are ready. Be sure to bend your knees and stay low to generate enough momentum for an upward shot upon jumping.
Jump stop floaters are best in situations where the defense is already set, and your shooting lane is not open. This gives players the option to shoot, pass, pump fake, or charge depending on the situation in front of them.
The Running Floater
A move frequently used by Steph Curry, the running floater is somewhat of a pseudo-layup, as proper technique involves shooting on the move and leaving the ground from one foot; a great shot style when faced with a closed passing lane. This allows you to quickly get your shot off before the nearest defender has a chance to try and block it.
For an optimal running floater shot, do not attack the rim at full speed. Once you are in the paint, go up as if you are about to perform a layup. Then, at the peak of your extension, gently flick the ball with your wrist. Your shoulders should be square with the rim for the most accuracy, and the ball’s arc should be slightly higher than your average shot.
The Euro Step Floater
Perhaps the most challenging of the various floater shots, the euro step requires a significant amount of leg strength, balance, and coordination. This is a move almost exclusively seen at the professional level, though some collegiate athletes have mastered it as well. A typical euro step floater involves attacking the rim, side stepping the defender, then jumping back or off to the side on one foot. Like all floaters, the ball should then be released at your peak over the defenders reach.
Floaters can be fairly difficult for beginners or less experienced players, but having this move in your arsenal can prove highly beneficial for in-game situations. Try any number of these shots, and know that it will take practice to perfect it before you are able to find your perfect touch.