Measure Your Success By Your Effort

Footwork Makes You Smarter

Friday, January 21, 2011

Negative Steps & 3D Space

There is no denying that some of the best athletes in the game of basketball are in North America. I think you could also say that the better skilled athletes in terms of footwork are coming out of Europe. I heard Jasmin Repesa, says at a clinic “basketball is first step”.

I see such a poor understanding of footwork and creating three 3D space in the NCAA. Many players can not pivot off of either foot in any situation. Heck some coaches still talk about dominant pivot foot. I see countless negative steps. Imagine how fast these players would be if they did not take a negative step before moving forward. Taking a negative step (step back before moving forward) is not only inefficient but it makes the defender’s job easy. Firstly, the defender has more time to react, and secondly it’s an easy read. As a defender I know what way you are going to go, if I see you negative step. I know what direction you will be pushing off toward.

You must let your feet get you to a spot where your hands can take a shot. You must not only be able to create space on the floor, but also be able to understand the space you’ll need in the cylinder of air that surrounds you. That is your 3D space.

With all the athleticism in the NCAA, there is a real, push on attacking the rim. Attacking the rim if fine, but watch and see how many shots go unfinished because of a lack of composure. That lack of composure is a direct result of not know how to create 3 dimensional space, lack of being ambidextrous, and what I like to call a lack of ambipedtrous.

It makes you wonder where we will be, when Europe starts producing better athletes, that are also skilled.

If there is anything I can help you with don’t hesitate to contact me
Coach Paul


Unknown said... please watch and reply what is your take on this. Especially the "Negative step" that u are talking about. Hope u reply. Thanks coach paul!!

Coach Paul said...

Hey Francisco;
There is a lot going on in that video. Incredible athletes.
They are talking about not being flat footed. That’s a given. I like to say to my players have active feet. On defense and offense. If you are moving your feet and up off your heels on defense you can jab at and make the offense player react to that. Same holds true when you are balanced and off your heels on offense.
If you want to see a negative step have a look at the Sacramento player number 3 at ~ 1.29 mins in the video. He receives the ball at the top of the point line. He steps back with his right foot, before moving left? Why. It’s not a shot fake. Players do not step back with one foot to take a shot from there. It does buy the defender some time.
Hope this helps
Coach Paul J. Patrick

O'Neill Family said...


Thanks for your thoughts. I am interested in learning more about footwork to teach to my players. In the video they reference the step back (negative step) to prepare for the more explosive move. I think of the negative step as the best way to get my players hips lower, and then bring their shoulders in a position to attack a defender at his hip level. Do you know of a better way to teach it? I think young players today attack while to high.

I agree the European players are more fundamental, but I think the American players are paying attention. A lot of them are studying and bringing European style to their games.

Coach Paul said...

Check out Footwork Makes You Smarter. You will see part of what we use as warm
ups at the beginning of practice. Note that you can become explosive without
losing time making negative steps.
There are some videos showing some of those footwork exercises. A great resource
to all things footwork is Ganon Baker. Gaon is a good friend and an amazing
resource for teaching at all levels. Like Ganon, I think it's more important to
teach players how to play the game and not pigeon hole players into positions. I
always teach all my players the same skills.
Hope this helps
Coach Paul

damerit Brown said...

Hello coach Paul,im a upcoming JR at Flagler college. I think the negative step is hurting my game and I didn't even realize it. I studied guards game and I practiced their moves so much its to a point where just about every dribble move is done with a negative step. I worked on it with one of my coaches to take it away and my game improved immediately. my coach switched schools so I kinda started to get the negative step back. Is there anything I can focus on or any drills that can help me master the footwork aspect and to help with 0 negative movement ? I want to have it down pack by season to really turn me into a different player . so can you please help me out? thank you