I’ve been out of commission recently due to eye surgery. Great to be back and writing about hoops again. During my down time, I have had the opportunity to watch our team closely. I have observed some of the best catch/shoot play that I have ever seen….talking about our own JJ Redick. He has been outstanding lately……just check the numbers. But as I watch him and really break down his play, I wanted to share my thoughts on what makes a great catch and shoot player.
1. MUST BE IN GREAT SHAPE……If you look at the analytics available, one of the things they measure is how far a player runs during a game. Shooting guards are almost always at the top of the list. They are constantly running from baseline corner to baseline corner. They are also defending those players. They are running around an unbelievable number of screens, both offensively and defensively. They must be in great shape to be able to does these things AND still have the leg strength to shoot.
2. UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF “The Offense Says Go”……..You don’t have to be the quickest or fastest player to be effective in the catch/shoot game. JJ would not win many foot races, however, what he can do is get open for his shot because he understands this concept. If two players are going to race, say from baseline to half court, and one of the players gets to say “GO”, chances are very high that the players saying “GO” will win. The same is true for the catch/shoot player. The OFFENSE says “GO”…….he determines when to start his movement. This includes Stop/Go movement, and Change of Pace movement. One of the best at this in recent years has been Rip Hamilton. AND ALWAYS STAY LOW, LOWER THAN THE DEFENDERS STANCE!!
3. Win the HAND BATTLE……Great catch/shoot players use their hands to gain separation from the defense. Not pushing off up high from the defender, but using his hands down low, where the officials cannot see, to help get open.
4. GREAT FOOTWORK………They understand when they are OPEN for the shot, and when they ARE NOT open to shoot. If they are open, they are ready to shoot with their INSIDE foot down first, and the outside foot coming down second. This is the quickest, most efficient footwork to get the shot off quickly. This footwork applies to any Catch/Shoot situation where the players is coming UP FROM THE BASELINE. It could be an curl, wide angle pin down or 45 degree angle pin down. When coming from the opposite direction, into the offensive zone FACING the basket, the most efficient footwork would be catching the ball Left/Right, ( for a right handed shooter, the opposite for a left hander shooter), with the left foot becoming the pivot and the right foot being the free foot. This enables the player to have his DOMINANT pivot foot down if he does not shoot. This helps to cut down on turnovers. This would apply when running lanes, receiving a skip pass from the post, a drive and kick pass, and any swing pass.
5. AMNESIA…..A great Catch/Shoot, (or ANY shooter), must forget the last miss and have confidence that the next one is going in.
6. ABLE TO SHOOT OFF BALANCE……We all teach being on balance, with shoulders square to the basket, when shooting. Good teaching points, but not always possible. When you are being chased by a defender, and the time to get off a shot is minuscule, you will sometimes be off balance, fading, or falling back. If you don’t really believe this, watch players play. You will see what I mean.
7. READ THE DEFENDER……..Great Catch/Shoot players must know how the defender is playing him. Don’t watch the ball, the ball will find you. Learn to watch and read how the defense is guarding you. Are they forcing you out one side? Are they shooting the gap on a down screen? Are they lock and trailing? If you are in the deep corner, are they top-locking you? All of these reads require you to react accordingly. Learn to read the defense, and know what your best reaction should be.
The next time you watch a great Catch/Shoot player like JJ, pay attention to these details. The little things always make the difference