*Authors: Christopher Q. Williams*, Liana Webster, Frank Spaniol, and Randy Bonnette
12214 Brightwood Dr.
Montgomery, TX 77356
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of foot placement on the jump shot accuracy of college basketball players. Participants were 11 female NCAA Division I basketball players. The two point shooting protocol adapted from Pojskić, Šeparović, and Užičanin (2011) was used to identify foot placement and evaluate accuracy for each subject. For each jump shot attempt, foot placement was recorded as either in front (in a dominant staggered stance), even (in a neutral parallel stance), or behind (in a cross-dominant staggered stance). Each attempt was also recorded as either a make or a miss. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to evaluate the differences in jump shot accuracy for each of the three foot placement positions. A one-way ANOVA (p < .05) revealed no significant differences for any of the three positions. The results of the study suggest that foot placement does not have a significant impact on jump shot accuracy. However, college basketball players favor the use of a dominant stance during the jump shot. This study offers new insight into the role of foot placement in shooting accuracy. Attention should be given to foot placement when coaching players or analyzing their jump shots. Keywords: staggered stance, shooting accuracy, shooting percentage
Basketball is played by more than 450 million people worldwide, and its popularity is only increasing (Kachanathu, Dhamija, & Malhotra, 2013). The foundation of many dynamic sports is correct footwork and balance. Athletes who lack proper footwork will find it difficult to execute advanced techniques or skills with proficiency. This is especially true in the game of basketball. Combined with footwork, basketball includes several different elements that influence the success of individual players and teams (Wissel, 2012). The measure of jump shot accuracy can be seen as one of the most significant aspects of this success (Oudejans, Karamat, & Stolk, 2012; Shea & Baker, 2013).
The phases of the jump shot begin with preparatory foot placement (i.e. balance), followed by a brief counter-movement of the lower body creating force and upward momentum (i.e. jumping), and end with a release of the ball and landing (i.e. follow through) (Baechle & Earle, 2008; Knudson & Morrison, 2002). The vast majority of methods to improve jump shot accuracy focus merely on the athlete’s upper body mechanics and shooting form during the follow through phase of the shooting process (Oudejans et al., 2012). On occasion, a technique to develop jump shot accuracy will emphasize correct lower body mechanics such as footwork, balance, and postural control during the balance phase (Asadi, Saez de Villarreal, & Arazi, 2015), but rarely concentrate on the importance of foot placement in the process. Athletes can also choose from an abundance of commercial products, ranging from videos to devices, that all claim to improve a player’s jump shot accuracy (Krause & Brennan, 1997). However, most of these tools lack emphasis on foot placement as the foundational aspect of correct footwork during a jump shot.
Previous studies that have investigated the basketball jump shot have focused on the effects of angular momentum, shooting kinematics, release angle and speed (Elliot, 1992; Miller & Bartlett, 1993, 1996), ball release height, joint angles when shooting versus an opponent (Rojas, Cepero, Ona, & Gutierrez, 2000; Okazaki & Rodacki, 2012), visual control and contextual information (Oudejans et al., 2012; Oudejans, Langenberg, & Hutter, 2002; Stöckel & Bresli, 2013), projection angle (Hudson, 1982), the effects of gravity on the ball (Fontanella, 2007), balance and stability (Spina, Cleary, & Hudson, 1996), and changes in shooting patterns in relation to distance (Liu & Burton, 1999). The results of the aforementioned studies all detail either overall patterns or how actions at the end of the shooting phase affects the accuracy of a shooter. Although Elliot (1992) and Spina, Cleary, and Hudson (1996), examined foot placement in basketball players, no study has exclusively explored the possible effects of foot placement early in the shooting motion. Thus, the present study aims to provide unique evidence on how a player’s foot placement affects respective jump shot performance and accuracy.
While there is an abundance of research on the effectiveness of various shooting techniques in basketball, there is a void in the literature when it comes to the effects of foot placement on jump shot accuracy in particular. Understanding the most effective foot placement for shooting accuracy in the jump shot will contribute to the knowledge base on basketball shooting mechanics and directly benefit individuals interested in developing better basketball players. This includes athletes, coaches, shooting experts, and other entities that have a vested interest in basketball players’ performance. The results of this study will inform the practices of the basketball community, allowing them to allocate time and resources towards developing techniques that lead to optimal performance.
Foot placement refers to the position of the shooting side foot in relation to the non-shooting side foot when the shooter is facing the goal, in a loaded, balanced state in preparation for the shooting motion. The “shooting side foot” is the foot that is on the same side as the shooting hand (ipsilateral) (Kladopoulos & McComas, 2001; Liu & Burton, 1999). Foot placement is defined as the placement of the shooting side foot in one of the three positions: in front (in a dominant staggered stance), even (in a neutral parallel stance), or behind (in a cross-dominant staggered stance) (Knudson, 1993). Therefore, for a right handed shooter, the dominant foot placement is the right foot in front of the left foot (see Figure 1).
The jump shot is the most commonly used scoring attempt in the game of basketball. The jump shot is an attempt, beyond two meters of the rim, to score the basketball. A jump shot attempt includes jumping or leaving the ground, combined with releasing the basketball towards the rim.
Jump shot accuracy corresponds to the number of jump shots made relative to the number of jump shots attempted. A made jump shot is a successful scoring attempt that includes the basketball leaving the player’s hands, entering the rim from above, and completely exiting the net below.
Shooting percentage is the percentage of successful jump shots, calculated by dividing the number of jump shots made by the total number of jump shots attempted.
Previous studies that have investigated shooting and the jump shot in the game of basketball have produced minimal evidence for the effect of foot placement on jump shot accuracy (Elliot, 1992; Miller & Bartlett, 1993, 1996; Okazaki & Rodacki, 2012; Oudejans et al., 2002; Rojas et al., 2000; Stöckel & Bresli, 2013). Nevertheless, previous studies dedicated to basketball and the biomechanics of athletes give insight on the potential for a relationship between the two (Liu & Burton, 1999; Spina et al., 1996). Studied have indicated the importance of footwork for athletes (Hales et al., 2008; Kachanathu et al., 2013; Knudson, 2007), the prevalence of the jump shot in the game of basketball (Hay, 1994; Hess, 1980; Oudejans et al., 2012), and the significance of jump shot accuracy (Podmenik, Leskošek, & Erčulj, 2012; Shea & Baker, 2013; Zambová & Tománek, 2012). This suggests that foot placement is a factor in jump shot accuracy. The following review of the literature discusses the prevalence of the jump shot in the game of basketball, jump shot accuracy, footwork and foot placement used during a jump shot, and the role of foot placement in jump shot accuracy.
Jump shot prevalence and accuracy. The act of shooting is the most used technical scoring action in basketball (Hay, 1994). Offensive shot attempts, such as lay-ups, free-throws (set shot-non jumping), and two or three point jump shots, are amongst the various ways to score points during a game. Of all of the possible scoring actions in the game of basketball, the most commonly used and therefore the most significant – is the jump shot (Hess, 1980; Oudejans et al., 2012; Schmidt & Lee, 2014). It has been found that over 60% of field goals in a basketball game will come from jump shots (Oudejans et al., 2012). Podmenik, Leskošek, and Erčulj (2012) strengthen this observation by noting that a jump shot will generate about 41% of all points in a match.
Combined with the overall frequency of the jump shot, Oudejans, Langenberg, and Hutter (2002) summarize the complexity and the differences in the jump shot by stating, “hitting a jump shot in basketball is an amazing accomplishment ….the body is in full motion and, the distance to the target is never exactly the same from one shot to the next” (p. 457). The shooting technique used will also differ according to an individual’s height as well as position (Podmenik et al., 2012). Players tend to be assigned specific playing positions on a team, and it is expected that the player’s shot attempts will come from the area of the court in which the respective position requires (Miller & Bartlett, 1996). Although basketball literature commonly promotes the use of similar shooting mechanics amongst all players, it is possible that players of different positions will vary in mechanics. It has been found that players who typically shoot from longer distances have adapted their techniques to account for such distances. Guards who play farther away from the basket demonstrate the ability to adjust shooting mechanics with consistency, in respect to distance, in contrast to centers who naturally attempt shots from a closer range (Miller & Bartlett, 1996). Nonetheless, the jump shot remains the most significant action of any one basketball player.
Shooting accuracy is critical to success in the game of basketball, as it is a recognized measure of the quality of a player and team (Podmenik et al., 2012; Zambová & Tománek, 2012). The rise in basketball data analytics (i.e. original metrics for analyzing overall team and player performance) has significantly influenced team decision making strategies and processes (Shea & Baker, 2013). As mentioned earlier, an individual’s jump shot accuracy can be greatly affected by the nature of their playing position (Miller & Bartlett, 1996). An additional factor that plays into the aspect of jump shot accuracy is the added pressure of a defensive opponent. It has been proposed that some untrained players may alter shooting techniques versus an opponent, causing jump shot accuracy to suffer (Rojas et al., 2000). Jump shot accuracy can therefore predict who the experienced and better players are. Once identified, those individuals may have a better chance of playing at higher levels in the sport.
Jump shot accuracy directly influences the success of a team as it directly correlates with shooting accuracy. Previous research has shown that the free-throw, field goal, and three point percentages are the determining factors of winning and losing teams (Trninić, Dizdar, & Lukšić, 2009; Pojskić, Šeparović, & Užičanin, 2009). Understanding that field goals and three point attempts are consistently taken as jump shots, it is apparent that jump shot accuracy can be viewed as the most important statistic of a player and team (Shea & Baker, 2013). Accordingly, at the end of a contest, the team with the highest shooting percentage generally wins. Thus, the jump shot is undoubtedly the primary offensive weapon in basketball, and the accuracy of the jump shot is central to success (Spina et al., 1996).
Footwork and foot placement. The importance of footwork and balance are not exclusive to the jump shot alone. Footwork and balance are paramount to the success of athletes at any level. Balance ability is vital for an athlete to reach peak performance and is a key factor in talent identification, since dynamic balance is required to create adequate power and strength (Kachanathu et al., 2013). In addition to balance, the biomechanics of footwork that affect the base of support and the center of gravity is also important (Hales et al., 2008; Knudson, 2007; Spina et al., 1996).
In basketball, footwork and balance are crucial to shooting a proper jump shot (Wissel, 2012). A strong base of support will decrease unnecessary horizontal movement of the shooter, therefore keeping the body in line with the rim target to create an accurate shot. It has been proposed that a base of support roughly shoulder width apart and slightly staggered with the shooting side foot in front provides the most stable base for the jump shot (Knudson, 1993). The findings from a similar study, where players shot after dribbling, discovered that players used a 12-cm stagger with their shooting side foot ahead of their non-shooting foot (Elliot, 1992).
Most research suggests that jump shooters utilize a dominant staggered stance (Knudson, 1993, 2007), yet it may not be necessary for advanced players. One study explored the importance of balance and base of support during the shooting motion between two subjects; it was found that the advanced subject used a parallel stance when shooting after the pass, while the novice subject used a slighlty dominant staggered stance with their shooting side foot 9-cm ahead of their non-shooting foot (Spina et al., 1996).
It is apparent that proper footwork and balance when performing a jump shot is a common characteristic of successful shooters. The research also demonstrates that foot placement is a fundamental element of proper footwork and balance. Basketball literature supports the belief that a parallel or dominant staggered stance, rather than a cross-dominant stance, is preferred depending on the level of play and experience (Elliot, 1992; Knudson, 1993, 2007; Spina et al., 1996). However, the literature fails to arrive at a definite conclusion on the significance of foot placement for the success of jump shooters. This may explain why the majority of coaches today still simply continue to tell athletes to “square up” their body to the basket, but never give any detail on foot placement (Knudson, 1993, 2007).
Foot placement on jump shot accuracy. The increased emphasis on the relationship between shooting percentages and the success of a team has compelled many in the game of basketball to seek out the most efficient methods to improve shooting accuracy. To date, most approaches concentrate on the finishing action of the jump shot with few paying close attention to the actions well before the release of the ball. The basketball research that has attempted to explain the connection between footwork and jump shot accuracy suggest that further examination may discover a possible link that foot placement can lead to increased accuracy (Knudson, 1993; Liu & Burton, 1999; Oudejans et al., 2012; Spina et al., 1996). A study examining the significance of biomechanics and balance suggested that accuracy is dependent on good balance, as the correct balance necessary for a jump shot is accomplished by keeping the center of gravity over the base of support; it was also concluded that greater stability (i.e. balanced center of gravity and vertical trunk inclination) is related to higher skill (Hudson, 1982).
There are several reasons why a shooter may lack proper form and accuracy, and lack of correct footwork may be the biggest cause. This is commonly due to the lack of comprehensive training to develop accurate shooting mechanics (Fontanella, 2007), including footwork and foot placement. In their study investigating the actions prior to the jump shot, Oudejans, Karamat, and Stolk (2012) concluded that actions preceding the jump-shot affect shooting percentages and result from biomechanical actions on the dominant or non-dominant side. During the jump shot, the mixture of foot placement, footwork, and balance all have a substantial influence on the actions prior to the take-off (i.e. the first instance in which foot-ground contact is broken) (Miller & Bartlett, 1996). The staggered stance recommended by Knudson (1993), along with the parallel stance for experienced players, is suggested to offer the best scenario for beneficial foot placement leading to a controlled take off and an accurate jump shot.
A majority of training emphasizes the actions and mechanics of the upper extremities and the final phase of the jump shot. Hence, there appears to be an opportunity to further increase the jump shot accuracy of players and teams by concentrating on the fundamental aspects of footwork, specifically foot placement. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of foot placement on the jump shot accuracy of college basketball players. It was hypothesized that college basketball players who place their shooting side foot in front (in a dominant staggered stance) when preparing to execute a jump shot will perform significantly better on jump shot accuracy than players who place their shooting side foot even (in a neutral parallel stance) or behind (in a cross-dominant staggered stance).
This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for research involving human subjects and all active participants’ informed consent was obtained. Participants were 11 active National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I women’s basketball players (M ± SD: age = 19.27 ± 1.35 years; height = 174.80 ± 11.79 cm; body mass = 69.85 ± 22.99 kg, body mass index = 22.86 ± 5.93 kg/m2) at a university in South Texas (see Table 1). The active subjects were currently medically cleared and were without any neuromuscular disease or serious injuries hindering athletic movements. Of the 12 players who consented to participate, one potential subject was not medically cleared on the testing day, and therefore did not participate. Nine players identified as right hand dominant shooters and two players identified as left hand dominant shooters. All players had at least five years or more experience playing basketball.
The two point shooting protocol (2 PTSP) measured the performance of the subject’s jump shot accuracy. The tests were conducted and adapted in accordance with the guidelines of the Pojskić, Šeparović, and Užičanin (2011) “S2P – two point shooting without fatigue protocol” (p. 26). The shooting test took place indoors on a NCAA regulation basketball court at a university in South Texas, with NCAA regulation women’s sized basketballs (72.4 cm in circumference).
Research by Pojskić et al. (2011) set out to determine new valid and reliable testing measures for basketball jump shot accuracy that would simulate similar physiological conditions during a competition. The jump shot accuracy tests were paired and categorized by the three common shots taken in the course of a basketball game which include; the free-throw, two point, and three point shot. Each of the three shooting sessions included a test with and without a fatigue protocol (i.e. subjects performed a two point shot test under game like conditions that produce fatigue and performed a separate two point shot test with minimal movement). Small variations during the free-throw shooting protocols were reported. These minor variations may have been caused by participant’s familiarity with free-throw procedures, resulting in unrealistic proficiency, which may be misleading or unrepresentative of genuine competition accuracy. Conclusions from the study found “that the most reliable tests are those that were performed from short distances in physiologically and structurally low demanding conditions” (Pojskić et al., 2011, p. 31), such as the two point shooting test without fatigue protocol. Therefore, the reliability of the 2 PTSP has been established (Pojskić et al., 2011). Additionally, the 2 PTSP’s accuracy was strengthened by having participants perform a jump shot immediately after receiving a pass instead of shooting after dribbling (Oudejans et al., 2012).
A spreadsheet containing a shot chart was used to document participants’ foot placement and jump shot accuracy in real time. The sheet contained each subject’s unique number, identifiable information, dominant hand, and group number. The sheet also included a complete shooting chart and diagram for each of the three trials for each subject.
Testing day preparation. Approval from the coaching staff and the athletic facilities administrator of a university in South Texas were obtained to utilize the athletes, equipment, and basketball court for the research study. The researcher met with the potential participants during the team’s summer workout orientation, which took place two weeks prior to the research study. The purpose of this meeting was for the researcher to explain the study, and for participants to sign informed consent agreements and fill out a participant information sheet. The information sheet included optional demographic information, such as age, sex, and race/ethnicity, as well as basketball specific information including, height, weight, classification, position, and dominant shooting hand. Participants were instructed to wear standard basketball clothing, shoes, and any necessary injury prevention equipment on the testing day. It was recommended that participants get adequate rest and nutritional intake prior to the study.
Prior to testing, the researcher and assistant prepared the gym and labeled court areas in accordance with the 2 PTSP. Each of the five designated shooting spots were labeled with a visible piece of court tape arranged in an “x” pattern, a set distance of five meters (5m) from the center of the basketball rim’s vertical projection onto the floor. The five designated shooting spots were located in the following general court areas; Position I-right baseline, Position II-right wing, Position III-free-throw, Position IV-left wing, and Position V-left baseline (see Figure 2).
The researcher and one assistant served as data collectors. The assistant was a kinesiology faculty member with basketball playing experience. In a brief training session days before testing, the researcher trained the assistant on the purpose of the study, how to determine foot placement, proper protocol procedures, and how to score each jump shot attempt on the shooting chart.
Testing day procedures. The purposive sample group of 11 women’s basketball players were observed and evaluated. Participants were separated into groups of two or three by similar playing position. One group contained three guards, one group contained three guards/forwards, one group contained three forwards/centers, and one group contained two guards for a total of four groups. The compatible group sampling attempted to control extraneous variables that may arise from differences in playing position such as, overall speed and height of pass delivery. The participants were coded using their respective positions and assigned a unique number. Each participant’s unique number identified subjects when recording data to ensure confidentiality.
All testing procedures took place on the same day during one session. The researcher directed and supervised all testing day activities. On the day of testing, the participants were reminded that they had no obligation to participate and could terminate involvement at any time. Subjects were informed of their pre-assigned groupings and shooting stations during testing. Next, the subjects received a briefing of the warm up and testing procedures. After verbally acknowledging understanding of the participation requirements, each participant received a regulation NCAA women’s basketball.
Prior to the start of the shooting test, participants completed a self-guided individual warm up including dynamic stretching, preparatory ball handling, and shooting drills for ten minutes. At the conclusion of the warm up, participants reported to their assigned shooting stations with fellow group members. The researcher was assigned two groups with three participants each. The assistant was assigned one group of three participants and the one group with two participants. The researcher and the assistant each took their two groups to opposite ends of the gymnasium to begin testing. The tests were conducted simultaneously at separate baskets at opposite ends of the basketball court (i.e. total of two groups active at a time). One group was tested while the following group rested on the sideline. Participants were permitted to leave once data was collected on all three participants in the group.
The 2 PTSP was executed precisely the same for each participant using the following procedures: A complete protocol included a total of 30 jump shot attempts. The 30 jump shot attempts consisted of three trials of 10 shots per trial. Each of the trials of 10 jump shots was further broken down into two shots at each of five designated positions. One participant completed all three trials consecutively, while the other two subjects served as rebounders who passed the ball back to the shooter. Two basketballs were in circulation at each shooting station; ensuring that a ball would be readily available for the shooter at any given time. It is important to note that subjects attempted a jump shot at the free-throw area during the test, in contrast to the common set shot (non-jumping) technique. Participants began each trial from the right baseline, Position I, and continued by attempting two consecutive jump shots at each position in sequential order, ending at the left baseline, Position V (see Figure 2). After completing the first trial, the same participant moved to the starting position and began the second trial. Once the participant completed all three trials, they moved to the position of rebounder and passer. The next participant, who was previously a rebounder and passer, moved to Position I and prepared to begin the protocol. There was no time limit for the subjects to complete each trial and no rest time between trials. There was a rest time of one minute between protocols, allowing the participants, researcher, and assistant sufficient time to prepare for the next protocol attempt. The observation gym scoreboard was used to keep track of time during the warm up, rest time between shooting protocols, and the test. Each group was considered to be finished when each participant in the group completed their respective protocol.
The researcher and assistant used a detailed spreadsheet to record jump shot data for each individual during the shooting protocol. During the protocol for each participant, the researcher and assistant positioned themselves under the rim facing the shooter, and documented the foot placement and the accuracy for every jump shot attempt. Foot placement was recorded as dominant, parallel, or cross-dominant for every shot attempt. Simultaneously, each shot attempt was recorded as made or missed. All participants completed the protocol and data from all 11 participants were used in the analysis.
The design of the study was a non-experimental causal-comparative design. Upon completion of the testing day, the accuracy of shots made with each foot placement was calculated for each trial along with the cumulative totals and percentages from all three trials. The collected data were entered into a comprehensive spreadsheet that included the jump shot accuracy of all subjects. Data were separated into levels according to foot placement and analyzed. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to evaluate the jump shot accuracy based on three foot placement levels (dominant, parallel, and cross-dominant). A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with significance determined at the .05 probability level (p < .05) evaluated the differences in jump shot accuracy for the independent variable, foot placement, at each of the three foot placement levels. Initial calculations of descriptive statistics were inputted using Microsoft Excel and all statistical tests were performed using IBM SPSS Statistics 22. Results
The one-way ANOVA revealed no significant differences for any of the three foot placement levels. The analysis produced a nonsignificant F (F (2, 16) = 3.478, p < .05). In terms of making a basket using the jump shot, the dominant, parallel, and cross-dominant stances did not differ significantly (see Table 2).
Additional jump shot accuracy results from data collection indicated that eight participants predominantly used the dominant stance for the majority of attempts during the shooting tests. Three participants mostly used the parallel stance and no participant primarily used the cross-dominant stance while testing. The summation of protocols had a total of 198 jump shots made and 330 jump shot attempts irrespective of foot placement. Eleven participants took 30 shots each for a total of 330 jump shot attempts. A total of 134 jump shots were made from the dominant stance, 49 from the parallel stance, and 15 from the cross-dominant stance; corresponding to shooting percentages of 58.26%, 62.03%, and 71.43% respectively (see Table 3 and 4). Table 3 displays the overall shooting percentage of 60.00% for all participants. Notably a few inconsistencies were present in respect to individual participant’s shooting percentages between foot placements. For instance, of the four subjects who attempted jump shots from the cross-dominant stance, three subjects had shooting percentages well above or below the total sample percentage of 60.00% when using the stance. Of these particular subjects, two produced shooting percentages of 100.00% and 80.00%, while one participant failed to make a jump shot in the cross-dominant stance (see Table 3).
Out of the total198 jump shots made, 40.61% were from the dominant stance, 14.85% from parallel, and 4.55% from the cross-dominant stance. Out of the 330 total jump shots attempted, 69.70% were taken from the dominant stance, 23.94% from parallel, and 6.36% from the cross-dominant stance (see Table 5).
Each trial consisted of 10 jump shots for each participant, totaling 110 jumps shots for combined participant trials. Average shooting percentages (M ± SD) from all participants by 2 PTSP trial were as follows: Trial I (62.73% ± 0.17), Trial II (53.64% ± 0.19), and Trial III (63.64% ± 0.14) (see Table 6). Means for each trial represent cumulative average shooting percentages for each trial. The data also revealed a total of 41 jump shots made from Positions I and III (62.12 %,), 40 from Position IV (60.61 %,), 37 from Position V (56.06%), and 35 from Position II (53.03%) (see Table 7). A cumulative total of 66 jump shot attempts were taken at each position from all participants. The shooting percentage for each court position was taken from jump shots made by jump shots attempted for each court position.
The results of this study suggest that foot placement does not have a significant impact on the jump shot accuracy of college basketball players. However, findings clarified the role foot placement played in an elite basketball player’s preferences and tendencies. Several shooting accuracy trends were observed, including foot placement preference and accuracy amongst foot placements.
Foot placement varied amongst participants. A majority of the participants used two stances (dominant and parallel), while only a few used all three stances when performing the shooting test. The results illustrate that participants preferred using the dominant and parallel stances; and no subject’s foot placement relied primarily on the cross-dominant stance. These outcomes are supported by previous research that suggests a dominant staggered stance is often used by proficient jump shooters (Elliot, 1992; Knudson, 1993) and that experienced players may utilize a parallel stance (Knudson, 2007; Spina et al., 1996).
The overwhelming majority of jump shots made were from the dominant stance. However, the highest shooting percentages came from cross-dominant stance, followed by the parallel and dominant stance. One must interpret the seemingly high shooting percentages from the cross-dominant stance with caution, as this was the least frequently used stance. Previous literature offer possible explanations for female jump shooters reverting to a cross-dominant stance with success. In general, females have lower absolute strength and less of a mechanical advantage in the upper body, when compared to males (Baechle & Earle, 2008). Conceivably, in the early stages of motor development, female jump shooters utilize a cross-dominant stance (i.e. mimicking an overarm throw) to compensate for the lack of strength. In the advanced stages of motor development, female jump shooters move to a parallel or a dominant stance (Knudson & Morrison, 2002). However, the superior neuromuscular patterning of elite women basketball players may allow them to occasionally return to a cross-dominant stance with success.
The findings also support the validity and reliability of the 2 PTSP results. The results reveal that testing protocols and procedures did not produce fatigue for participants as there was little variation in shooting percentages amongst the three respective trials. These findings are comparable to the Pojskić et al. (2011) study that concluded reliable basketball shooting tests do not produce fatigue for subjects and have minor variations between trials. When examining the results from the five designated shooting areas, it was evident that the most accurate areas included the right baseline and the free-throw area (Position I and Position III). The high accuracy from the right baseline area is possibly due to a majority of the participants being right hand dominant shooters. The success seen at the free-throw area in this study can potentially be explained by Stöckel & Bresli (2013), who proposed that the free throw distance provides unique and familiar visual contextual information for experienced players where they are expected to have superior performance.
One limitation of this study was the small sample size of 11 participants. The study also examined only one NCAA Division I women’s basketball team. The results may not be generalizable to other levels of competition (such as NCAA Division II or III players or high school players), or to men’s basketball teams. An additional limitation is found in the possibility of subject’s proficiency in jump shot accuracy, independent of specific footwork, due to enhanced neuromuscular patterning from years of repetitive shooting. NCAA Division I athletes are considered to be elite athletes, and for that reason it is logical to assume that the subject’s shooting patterns will be extremely consistent. Thus, the observation and testing protocol may have lacked the sensitivity necessary to capture the differences in the performance of such high level athletes.
Overall, the data offers new information for the basketball community regarding the role of foot placement in jump shooting and shooting accuracy trends. The outcomes of the study suggests foot placement is an essential element of the jump shot, yet it does not affect accuracy. Additionally, college basketball players favor the use of a dominant or parallel stance, over a cross-dominant stance, when executing a jump shot. However, some elite level jump shooters may have the ability to vary foot placements while maintaining superior accuracy. It was also discovered that college basketball players are most successful when shooting from familiar areas of the court, especially under non-fatiguing conditions. Finally, it can be concluded that the 2 PTSP created a familiar basketball environment suitable for participants and produced dependable results.
The outcomes of this study inform the basketball community of the importance of foot placement when training footwork and developing jump shot mechanics. This study suggests foot placement may not have an impact on accuracy at the elite level, but may play a role in the early stages of neuromuscular coordination for a jump shooter. Results from the current study support the use of the dominant, parallel, and cross-dominant stances for college basketball jump shooters. The minor shooting percentage variations between trials demonstrate the usefulness of the 2 PTSP as a tool for measuring jump shot accuracy, shooting trends, and observing elements of the jump shot technique. Further research and experimental investigation into the effect of foot placement on jump shot accuracy is needed. The hypothesis of this study may be supported with a larger sample size. It can be recommended that coaches and practitioners begin to give attention to foot placement early in the developmental stages of optimal jump shot mechanics training.
The authors extend appreciation to the participants for their effort during this study and to the coaching staff of the participants.
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