Quickness helps, but you don't need a sudden infusion to go the hole successfully. ESPN college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb says your jump shot and self-awareness on the court can actually help. Here's how:
- Use leverage.
Watch your defender's balance and try to throw him off with a head or ball fake or by flexing your knees. Whenever he rises up, you drive past him since he's lost his center of gravity, says Gottlieb. Have your first step be past his lead foot and give him a slight bump on the way by him to create more space.
- Work on your shot.
At the start of a game, he's going to give you room. "Nobody wants to get beaten off the dribble," Gottlieb says. Knocking down your shot will force him to play you tighter, opening up the drive option. When it's there, take him out to a wing. In most pickup games, there's no help on the sides, so it's open space once you beat him.
- Know your position.
Catching the ball between the top of the key and three-point line puts you in no man's land with "help defense" not that far away. Starting your move from there is not impossible, but you're less likely to have success. On the flip side, you don't want to be so far out that it takes away the threat of your jump shot, Gottlieb says.
- Add three exercises to your workout
You can improve your ability to drive to the hoop in the weight room. Three key moves for any player:
|Front Squats: Pushing up out of the squat position improves your ability to extend your hips, allowing for a greater transfer of force, or push, from the ground. This translates into a more explosive first step, says Chang Lee, a performance specialist at Athletes' Performance in Los Angeles. And driving to the hoop is all about first-step quickness.|
|Lateral Cable Chops: You'll feel this move working your triceps, abs and shoulders, but it's primarily about learning to rotate your hips. The weight transfer will help with the change of direction needed for an aggressive first step, Lee says.|
|Incline Bench Press: Improving shoulder and core stability will help when fighting through traffic, Lee says.|
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Abbott Nutrition strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program and perform exercises under the supervision of a certified fitness trainer or conditioning coach. The effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition should be determined by your health care professional. The suggestions here are in no way intended to substitute for medical advice.