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Basketball Hook Shot

By James Gels, from the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @

The "Classic Hook Shot"

The hook shot came into being over half a century ago with George Mikan and the Minneapolis Lakers. This shot is used mainly by post players close to the basket, near the blocks or in the paint. The post player receives the ball inside with his/her back to the basket.

Dave Cowans
Dave Cowans classic hook shot

The original "classic" hook shot is started by pivoting sideways on the non-shooting foot (the left foot with a right-handed shot) with the foot remaining on the floor. The body is turned sideways to the hoop with the off-shoulder pointing toward the hoop. Keep your body between the ball and the defender.

The ball rests on the shooting hand, while the non-shooting hand is on top of the ball initially (before the actual shot). The shooting arm's elbow is "locked" into position next to the body and the shooting arm is extended away from the hoop and the defender on about a 45-degree angle.

This is a one-handed shot. The shooter must turn his neck and head to look at the target. The shooting motion is begun by a lifting of the shooting arm up and over, or "from ear to ear". Like any good shot, the ball is released from the fingertips with a snap of the wrist.

The off-arm can be held up to ward off the defender, but you cannot push or "hook" the defender with that arm. After releasing the shot, the shooter should immediately become a rebounder, pursue any missed shot and power it back up to the hoop.

The "Sky Hook"

Like most things, the hook shot has evolved over the years. Kareem Abdul Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers turned it into the unstoppable "sky hook" in the '80's.

The 7-footer would catch the ball, and pivot on the non-shooting foot, but instead of keeping the foot on the floor, would jump off the floor while extending the shooting arm high. About the only way defenses could stop this would be to deny Kareem the ball, double-team so that he couldn't get into the motion of the shot, foul him, or just hope that he would miss one occasionally.

Footwork is very important in correctly and consistently executing the sky-hook. When making the move to the middle, the inside foot (left foot for right handed shooters) must be planted parallel to the baseline. If the foot is over-rotated and is planted more than parallel (i.e. pointed towards the baseline), this will cause the shoulders to over-rotate, exposing the shot for a block. If the foot is under-rotated and planted pointing towards 1/2 court, this will not allow for proper balance.

The same principles apply for a sky hook to the baseline side. If the post player is on the side of the lane and turns to the baseline to execute the sky hook, the foot must now be perpendicular to the baseline. The same rules apply as above .. if your foot is pointing more towards the lane, you are exposing the shot. If it is pointing toward the corner, you lose balance.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sky-hook

See this video of Kareem and his devastating "sky-hook", courtesy of YouTube.

The "Jump Hook"

The modern-day jump hook merges the techniques of the old classic hook shot with the jump shot. The ball is received usually with the back to the basket. The shooter pivots and the body is turned sideways (perpendicular) to the basket with the shoulders in a line toward the hoop.

The shooter jumps up off both feet much like a jump shot. Instead of extending the shooting arm outward and away from the hoop (as in the classic hook shot), the shooting arm extends vertically and high with the ball above the shoulder. The head is turned so that the shooter can see the target. The ball is released from the fingertips with a snap of the wrist, much like a jump shot.

Learn to shoot the jump hook with either hand.

The jump hook is an important weapon that any great post player ought to include in his arsenal. A good low post player can keep the defender guessing by mixing up the jump hook with the baseline drop-step move, the up-and-under move and the turn and shoot move. See Post Moves.

Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan jump-hook

See this video of the jump hook.

Also see: The Hook Shot, Explained by Hal Wissel

Hal Wissel has five excellent shooting DVD's that will take players and coaches to the next level. The second of these DVD's "BASKETBALL SHOOTING - Off the Pass, Off the Dribble and In the Post" does an excellent job of teaching the hook shot, and various post moves.

Helpful DVDs:

Coach K teaches post play!

Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball - Developmental Drills for Post Players
with Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University Head Men's Basketball Coach, NABC "Coach of the Decade," 12X NABC "Coach of the Year," Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2001), 5X NCAA National Championships.

and Steve Wojciechowski, Duke University Assistant Basketball Coach, National "Defensive Player of the Year" ('98), 2X "All ACC," holds Duke's 2nd highest single season steal total (82)

For the past 25 years, Duke has been known for some of the toughest post players in the country - they have all studied and practiced the developmental drills presented in this excellent production... (more info)

Price: $44.99
Buy Now

Pete Newell's Big Man Moves and Skill Development

Pete Newell's Big Man Moves and Skill Development
with Pete Newell, Basketball Hall of Fame ('79), Gold Medal Olympic Team ('60), NCAA Championship ('59), NIT Championship ('49), and Mike Dunlap, Metro State College Head Coach, 2X D-II NCAA Champions.

Coach Pete Newell has spread his "big man" basketball principles across the world through his famous camps and clinics, having taught some of the game's best-ever post players such as Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson, and Bill Walton. Coach Dunlap has also used these "Pete Newell" principles to transform the Metro State program into one of the powerhouses of Division II basketball. In this demonstration-clinic presentation, Coach Newell includes over 20 areas of big man development including pivoting, getting open, power moves, counters, psychological attitude, and 14 big man moves. Newell teaches virtually every move to get open, seal defenders, get jump shots and hooks shots, how to attack the basket, and how to finish strong. He also teaches and demonstrates the technique of the pick and roll, as well as all of the counters and reads to keep the defense guessing and off-balance. Everything taught in this basketball DVD can be incorporated into individual and team workouts and used at any point during the pre-season, in-season, and post-season for any age or skill level.... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

5-Star: Becoming a Champion Basketball Player: The Post Player

5-Star: Becoming a Champion Basketball Player: The Post Player
with Five-Star Basketball Coach/Instructor and L.A. Clippers NBA Scout, Evan Pickman. This excellent DVD, featuring instructional techniques and methodology employed at the legendary Five-Star camps, will show you what it takes to be a "Champion" Five-Star post player (Carmelo Anthony, Elton Brand, Brad Miller, and Rasheed Wallace are a few notable Five-Star post player alums)! How to move to get position, how to "play big", how to develop great footwork, how to dominate on the boards, and the keys to finishing strong are all covered... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

Steve Alford's Ultimate Big Man Development Drills

Steve Alford's Ultimate Big Man Development Drills
with Steve Alford, UCLA Head Coach, former University of New Mexico Head Coach; former University of Iowa Head Coach.
In 55 minutes, Coach Alford presents one of the most thorough and comprehensive big man development videos ever assembled! This video demonstrates the critical areas of big man development in a competitive practice environment: agility drills, catching, posting techniques, low post footwork, rebounding, and defending the post. Beginning with fundamentals, Alford demonstrates proper techniques for receiving the ball in the post, making post moves, and going strong to the basket. In all 13 competitive drills are demonstrated that Alford uses every practice to develop his post players into rebounding "machines", as well as solid low post defenders. Everything presented can be incorporated into individual or team workouts... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

Becoming a Complete Post Player

Becoming a Complete Post Player
with Tony Bergeron, East Longmeadow (MA) High School Head Coach; Five-Star Basketball Instructor
Tony Bergeron, Program Director for Five-Star Basketball Camps, delivers a collection of skills and drills to help you develop a dominate post player. It all starts with strong body movements and footwork in the post, which are a pivotal part of being successful in both offense and defense. Coach Bergeron teaches you specific post moves such as front and reverse pivots, rip throughs, and jump stops; as well as corresponding drills for players to utilize them in the post. Scoring in the post is an essential skill for a complete post player.... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

Copyright © 2001 - 2016, James A. Gels, all rights reserved.

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