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Three Ways You Can Improve Your Game Through Better Footwork

3 min read

By Darnell Ford, My Sky Elite

Footwork is important in every position, on every part of the floor. 

The game is changing. You now have bigs and post players who can handle the ball and shoot. Coaches are looking for players that can step out. Strictly back-to-the-basket post players are few and far between now. And guards are expected to be able to play in the post, too, to exploit mismatches. Basically, you don’t want to limit where you can get your shot off and where you can get to on the floor.

When I’m working with a player, I always start off very simple. Any move we do, I’ll break the move down step-by-step on what a player has to do to get past their defender.

Darnell Ford basketball clinic footwork

If you work on your footwork, you can get into your shot a little quicker and get to your “Hot Spots” on the floor.

The “Drop" 

Where and how should you use the "Drop"?


A lot of players, when they make a move, like to step left-to-right or right-to-left into their move.

I don’t believe in the One-Two Step when going between the legs. The “Drop” is a lot quicker and it gets you into your shot if you drop your legs.

What I mean by “Drop” is simply dropping your hips into an athletic stance as you make your move, so both feet would move at the same time instead of one foot. This puts you in quicker state to get past your defender by dropping both feet at the same time.


In Shooting I believe that it’s the same thing. You drop your feet right into that same position. The shot will get off quicker and it’ll be a little more accurate than doing the one-two step.

So we base all of our moves going into that drop. There are times that it’ll be beneficial to use the one-two step, but we focus on the drop.

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Repetition is Key

We do a lot of ladder work, and we break down footwork step by step. For footwork for shooting, we are doing work without the ball to start. The players do reps, reps, and more reps until they get comfortable with what we are trying to do.

As soon as they start feeling comfortable, we’ll do the move step by step. Everything starts off with dropping.

Hot Spots

Half Court with hot spots

What we really base our moves off of is getting to the Block, the Middle of the Lane, and to the Elbows. Being comfortable in these three zones on the floor gives us a wide range of options.

1. Elbows

I try to force my players to get to the elbows for one-dribble pull-ups. Getting to the elbow allows for one of the easiest shots to get off. If you’re shooting three’s, it’s deep, and if you’re hitting them, defenses like to close out really fast so if you can develop that one-dribble pull-up after your pump fake, now you’re deadly player. Now you’re keeping the defense off balance. I like to get my players to the elbow, attacking to the middle of the floor and lane.

2. Middle of the Lane

If you can get to the middle of the line, you give yourself a lot more options.

3. The Block

Get to the block. At the block you get more fouls called and shoot a higher percentage.


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