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Old 07-20-2010, 05:15 AM   #1
scm5
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Default Finishing in traffic...

I am more of an outside shooter, and I'm fairly quick and can get easy layups if there's a lapse in the defense. However, I don't excel at driving into traffic and finishing. I'm wondering how I could improve this aspect of my game.

Is it my mentality?
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

Finishing in traffic is a combination of things, much of it practice and some of it natural instinct. Firstly, you have to be strong enough to absorb contact from bigger players as well as athletic enough to get to the rim. Most of all, at least in my personal opinion and from my experience, you have to WANT to attack the hoop. You can't be overly afraid of opposing bigmen or you won't ever be able to effectively finish in traffic.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

Quote:
Originally Posted by High Roller
Finishing in traffic is a combination of things, much of it practice and some of it natural instinct. Firstly, you have to be strong enough to absorb contact from bigger players as well as athletic enough to get to the rim. Most of all, at least in my personal opinion and from my experience, you have to WANT to attack the hoop. You can't be overly afraid of opposing bigmen or you won't ever be able to effectively finish in traffic.

I agree oh and beat the guy thats gaurding you is key hit him with a nice cross then Rage to the basket like a spider monkey
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

It's a mentality and confidence thing. I have changed my mentality and now I attack the basket a lot more than I did... I've gotten my handle up too and that definitely helps. Fearing that you can't get by your man because of a weak handle is not good... but yea then it's all a matter of practice. If you aren't used to finishing over bigs, chances are you are going to have some failures at the beginning... but in time you will learn how to float it over them, be able to get around them with step through moves, or up fake em and then lay it in. Generally though, you are able to make a pass to an open teammate when when you beat your defender because help slides over... hopefully they can knock down the easy shot.

Last edited by Swaggin916 : 07-20-2010 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

There are a few things skill wise you can do to get better at it. I used to warm up just standing under the hoop throwing up layups, sort of like a lazy mikan drill, but I'd do it all sorts of goofy ways. Forward, Backward, Righty, Lefty, Inside Hand, Outside Hand, overhand, underhand, various releases and arcs. Try using different englishes too, catching the ball at different points on the board.

I was a big PG, 195 in HS, 215 in college, and just under 6 feet tall. And I was not a great athlete, but was certainly athletic. I could marginally dunk, meaning that I could get one once in a blue moon, particularly if I was at a playground where the rims may be a bit low, or a gym with an elevated floor that had some bounce. I always initiated contact. I usually enter a drive with two hands on the ball, and after contact spread out to find a release. My coach used to say I went into the lane like someone throws an egg. All balled up until I hit something, then splat in all sorts of directions. Also, I always jumped off of two feet. It allowed me to change directions last minute so that I could decide which direction was gonna work best for me rther than establishing a line that one foot jumpers usually do (unless you master that euro step). It worked for me, and I was always good at it. I didn't really become a good shooter until I got to college, and didn't get really good until after that even, when my legs started to go and I couldn't get up as well. But even then my multiple releases could get me off in the lane.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

Strong hands. Good body control. These are needed.

But yes a lot of it is mentality. You have to be confident in your ability to get to the rim and you can't be afraid to take a few shots. Another big thing is having touch around the rim. It's not necessary but if you can hit different types of shots (and with both hands) from around the rim then you can adjust to what the defense is doing.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

A lot of solid advice in the early goings here and really I can just echo what others have mentioned.

The key to my effectiveness when attacking the lane is my aggression. I understand that when I enter the paint the ball in my hand with a buildup of speed, everyone else is at my mercy. If they're contesting to block my shot, there's going to be a lot of contact (good contact, the "yeah sure, go ahead and get in my way if you're sure that's what you really want to do" contact). I like to bring it TO the defender in many instances.

The really cool thing about basketball is that aside from the rare play where a defender has stationed himself correctly to take a charge, any tough contact is going to work in my (the offensive player's) advantage. If a defender gets a running start from one side and I get a running start from the other and we meet with contact in midair, I'm the one that will get rewarded more times than not. Bask in the contact. Thrive in it. The art of finishing in traffic is heavily swayed toward the offensive player in the game of basketball.

I'd also reaffirm something else Thorpe was touching on, and that is the development and ability to knock down an array of shots around the basket. My feeling is one must develop a reliable range of shots and use only the shots you know you excel at when finishing in traffic. In my case, that means rarely using the combo of rising off of my right foot and finishing with my left hand in traffic. Even if I'm slicing to the rack from the left wing, I'll often finish righty just because I know it's reliable and provides me my best opportunity to score via my ability to rise highest off of the left leg and the ability to maneuver the ball while in the air.

Finally, there's certainly some trees out there that tend to nullify a lot of what we know about attacking the lane. Really tall fellows can disrupt things. This is why I'd suggest at least a few of your weapons at the rack include a quick release glasser and a reliable runner/floater.
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

get physical or learn how to shoot runners and floaters.
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

Quote:
Originally Posted by devin112
get physical or learn how to shoot runners and floaters.

Thanks for the replies!

I pretty much live with either pull ups, open layups, floaters/runners, or pump fakes around the basket, sometimes followed with a little spin move. I pretty much try everything to avoid contact.

I've been trying to finish in traffic more often recently, but have been jacking up pretty horrific shots sometimes. I do think I'm getting better, but my natural reaction is to avoid all contact, so I contort my body and put up a sometimes awkward shot.

I need to get over this mental block!!!
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

Quote:
Originally Posted by High Roller
Finishing in traffic is a combination of things, much of it practice and some of it natural instinct. Firstly, you have to be strong enough to absorb contact from bigger players as well as athletic enough to get to the rim. Most of all, at least in my personal opinion and from my experience, you have to WANT to attack the hoop. You can't be overly afraid of opposing bigmen or you won't ever be able to effectively finish in traffic.

I'm not sure I'm strong enough to absorb the contact. I'm 6'0 and about 155-160lbs.

I'm not afraid of opposing bigmen, I think I'm just afraid of contact.
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

Quote:
Originally Posted by scm5
I'm not sure I'm strong enough to absorb the contact. I'm 6'0 and about 155-160lbs.

I'm not afraid of opposing bigmen, I think I'm just afraid of contact.

You can't be .
I'm a PG , not tall and not athletic (not very atheletic) and most of the times i try to finish at traffic .. you have to guaranteed some body control to put the ball in the basket man .
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

Controlling the spin on the ball can help too. Because you don't always know the angle you're going to approach the basket at it's good to know how to spin the ball off the board from various angles.

Another thing is to learn to use the basket to your advantage. One of my favorite moves is to go under the basket because if the defender is on the close side of the rim, you are protected from being blocked by going to the far side.

Just getting used to contact and positioning your body between the defender and the ball will improve your ability to finish immensely.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

Expect the contact each time you go to the basket. Don't let it surprise you.

I dislike getting fouled, and try my best to defend without fouling - especially when with pickup basketball there's no refs and no free throws, fouling is just a cheap way to stop somebody. Still, it's extra bragging rights when you do manage to finish despite getting fouled.

I've found that the first thing you have to worry about is players from the side reaching in to hack the ball loose from your grip once you pick up the dribble and drive in. Holding the ball to the side without the defenders, turn your body away from them, or if that's not possible, holding it like a football, cradled and protected between your arms. Then going up, it's good to have some gimmick to outsmart the defenders, whether it's speed, hesitation, elevation, shot fake, double clutch, deceptive footwork, or extension, or some combination of those. And get in the habit of just flinging it, flipping it, tossing it towards the basket once you feel that contact and get knocked off course, spun around.

Some players I've noticed wait a half second after the bump or hack to gather themselves before attempting the shot to get better accuracy, let their momentum carry them through it. That's what I do if I get smacked on the arms, regather and follow through.

Another thing to remember, getting fouled can really throw you off balance, so practice taking off balance shots. Contrary to what you've said OP, if you can avoid the contact without disrupting your offense too much, that's a good thing because finishing after contact can be very difficult, make things easier on yourself when possible. But when it can't be avoided, have the mindset and the skillset to give yourself a good chance of scoring anyway.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:46 PM   #14
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

If you go in hard you'll have to expect to get hit. Learn to love the contact. Every time I drive in I'm looking to create contact and basically I intend to collide with the defender before attempting a shot. It forces them to back off, causes their fouls to build up and helps you get to the line. The contact is invaluable to any player especially those who are looking to score.

Rake2204 said it best, you have to 100% commit to attacking the lane and it's better if you intend to draw a foul. You can easily average around 10 free throws in a game because of this and that is so useful to a team because not many people like to play recklessly.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: Finishing in traffic...

look at Derek Fisher, he often goes to the bucket looking to draw a foul, the priority isn't mainly to make the shot but to get to the line, get easy points and get the other team in foul trouble.
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