The Great Shooting Footwork Debate: Hop vs 1-2

                To hop or 1-2, that is the question.  I don’t think that Shakespeare had that in mind when he wrote Hamlet, but for us coaches and the need to develop good shooting fundamentals in our players, it is the question. Some of the shooting gurus you’ll see out there, advocate one exclusively over the other. Traditionalists seem to prefer the 1-2 while the newer generation prefers the hop.  This is where the debate begins…

                I read much on this subject and I offer a different point of view.  Why not use both? I think the situation in a game against a defender and how he or she reacts generally dictates what the defender will use when working for that jumper.  So to help, here’s a general chart to help your players know when to use the hop and when to use the 1-2. Each has their advantages and disadvantages so your players have to know how to react and think quickly on which to use.  However, knowledge in this case comes through repetition in your drills and daily workouts.




Best way to get quick shot off pass

Quickest shot off the dribble

Best to use when spotting up or waiting weakside

Use off the dribble if defender is close

Give shot fake and defenders completely flies by

Give shot fake and defender is still close

Can use with crossover step into a hop back shot

Can get off shot very quickly off crossover step out of triple threat

Use to create space if defender crowds off dribble

Use in transition pull-up, tendency to lean into shot

Use in transition pull-up, better balance and lift in shot

Usable of pin-down screens, slightly quicker in this situation

Usable off pin-down screens, not as quick but better balance and lift



                The chart above is just some general rules. As a coach, I believe we should encourage the development of both styles of shooting footwork to develop our players fully in the realm of shooting the basketball, the most important skill to develop. I am sure the debate on this will continue to be prevalent in player development.  All I am encouraging is to analyze both for their utility and to not use one exclusively over the other. 

Scott Hamby

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Tags: 1-2, Hop, footwork, shooting


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Comment by Scott Hamby on February 12, 2013 at 3:05am

No Problem,coach V Hijacking of any of my threads are welcome at any time...

For free throws, I analyze the players' shotline and release and adjust accordingly. For me personally, I angle my foot right just to the right of the nail and stagger my left foot back, similiar to Carmelo Anthony.  My shot line seems to align best this way...

Comment by Richard Lauer on February 12, 2013 at 12:18am

On a free throw I've always taught, and used, to put the foot on the hole in the floor, where the compass was put when they drew the circle. I'm pretty old school!


Comment by Marcus Bray on February 11, 2013 at 11:22pm

When I played, I had the center of the rim between my legs. As a coach, I teach to find the nail. Toe to the nail, elbow over the knee, shooting arm in middle of hoop.

Comment by Coach V on February 11, 2013 at 9:10pm

Ok, hijacking this excellent thread for a debate on footwork for free throw shooting.  What do you guys teach, line your shooting arm up with the center of the rim so you don't have to shoot the foul shot across your body or have the center of the rim splt between your legs?  I personally straddle the middle of the imaginary line.

Comment by Jorge Arede on February 2, 2013 at 12:48pm

Hi Scott,

Absolutely, i agree with you 'cause are different environments. You spoken about a interesting thing that is plyometric 'cause in my opinion hop allow to make best use of the elastic energy. To teach jump shot is necessary to have a lot of patience 'cause sometimes guys and girls have a lack of strength that avoid to make a jump shot. Jerry Krause told about it and he told that it's important when player receive the ball in the perimeter make a little jump an not pivot-square up.

Comment by Scott Hamby on February 1, 2013 at 10:11pm

Hi Jorge,

That's a interesting theory by the coach but walking in the street is a little different than jumpshooting, slightly more dynamic. Shooting is an aiming and a plyometric activity..Building strength in the toes will help players grasp the hop. I think the hop can be taught at all level but it takes patience. Officiated a middle school girls game where several players used the hop..but this is a well-coached team so I suspect the coach emphasizes it, just like those that emphasize the 1-2 or pivot-square up...

Comment by Jorge Arede on February 1, 2013 at 7:11pm

Hi Scott,

Nice subject that you brought us. I think that athletes must have access a lot of solutions to solve the game' problems, so i agree that we can teach both. In the last Clinic that I went there was a Spanish Coach that had a curious thesis, so he don't teach a jump stop 'cause is unnatural movement. For example, when we go in the street and stop to speak with anyone we don't make a jump stop but a two-count stop, right? What you think about it? Thanks. Greetings. Any question please contact me through:

Comment by Scott Hamby on January 31, 2013 at 2:08pm

Coach Raunig & Coach Lauer,

I can't say that I completely disagree with either of you but I do contend that the hop can be used by women and can be effective. Sue Bird, Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, and Simone Augustus all use the hop and are very effective. It does take practice and a certain amount of timing, I will admit that. Could you still 1-2 step if the pass was errant? I think the hop can be very useful in this situation to side or back hop to catch that pass and go into a shot provided the shooter is in their range and the defense hasn't closed out and taken away the space to shoot. Even if the shot is taken away, catching in a hop allows either foot to be used as a pivot or you can attack off the dribble with a open or cross-step. The pivot square-up and 1-2 (which I think are practically the same, all that is different is the angle) are great for quick shots off the dribble, while the hop can be used to create space off the dribble as well.  It's a hot topic, and there are entities on both sides of this, but I do agree that you have to use what's best for your players but I think if you limit it, you are taking a weapon away from their repertoire..

Thanks for the feedback,it's always welcome



Comment by Linda Raunig on January 31, 2013 at 11:40am

I do not believe the hop is the choice for girls and women.  When a player hops all their momentum goes down into the floor and the result is very little lift.  Instead I am a big believer in keeping the butt down, planting the inside foot at the catch and front pivoting.  I have seen the fg% improve dramatically once a player consistently uses the front pivot.

The players in our league that use the hop are consistent in two things - low shooting % and being called for traveling.  So often they catch the ball with a foot down and then hop and this is a travel.


Comment by Richard Lauer on January 31, 2013 at 11:23am

I've used both. It seems, though, that, when playing the hop worked best in fasr break situations and nearer the basket. Injury comes into the equation too. I think, generally , for high school kids the 1-2 is best and planting the inside foot on the square up. Seems to be more balance and you can actually do more things from the position---like pass!  It feels like basketball has gone more to "forcing the defense into allowing a decent shot" and away from getting a great shot.


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