Shooting a lay-up after ending a dribble or a cut is a skill you should master. The stride-stop is one effective way to end your dribble or cut. This stop enables you to establish one foot as the pivot foot and the other as the take-off foot, without breaking your running motion; that is, while running fast, you end your dribble or your cut, establish a pivot foot and a take-off foot in one smooth, continuous motion.
The easiest way to learn the stride-stop lay-up is learn its parts in reverse order from the order in which you actually execute them. Each of the following steps deals with a part of the stride-stop lay-up.
STEP 1 - Placing the Ball
i) If you are right-handed, take a position on the court which is slightly to the right side of the hoop and just in front of it. Your shoulders should be parallel to the basket. Doing this enables you to use your body to protect the ball from a defender.
ii) Once in position, shoot, as described in my tip, the Basic Jump Shot. When shooting, rotate your shooting hand, so that the ball hits the backboard at an angle which allows it to fall into the hoop. Practice, making sure that, as you shoot, you concentrate on the spot where you want the ball to hit the backboard.
STEP 2 - The Take-Off
i) Occupy the location on the court described in Step 1.
ii) With your right foot, take one step back, diagonally away from the hoop. Hold the ball just outside and above your right hip, with your right hand on the top half. Your left hand is at the side or slightly underneath.
iii) Now, step with your left foot to return to your original location. As your left foot lands on the court, the left leg starts a jumping action. During this action, your right leg comes rapidly forward, bending at the knee so that, as you jump off your left foot, the upper leg swings forward and up, helping to lift you high off the court. Your jump should be almost vertical.
iv) As you jump, bring the ball up with both hands, keeping it on the right side of your body until it is above your head. Never present the ball by bringing it up directly in front of you. Doing so makes it easier for a defender to strip the ball.
v) As you approach the peak of your jump, you should be in set position, as described in my tip, the Basic Jump Shot. As you reach the peak, shoot the ball softly at the spot on the board that will make the ball fall into the basket. Keep your left hand on the ball until you begin the shooting action with your right hand. This will make it more difficult for a defender to knock the ball loose; the extended non-shooting arm helps to protect the ball as you shoot.
STEP 3 - The Finish
i) As you return to the court after the ball leaves your hand, rotate your body inward (counter-clockwise when you are on the right side of the court) so that, when you land, you are facing into the court, ready to play.
Repeat Steps 1, 2 and 3 from the left side of the court, using your left hand to shoot and your right foot as the take-off foot.
STEP 4 - Ending a Dribble
How you execute a stride stop off the dribble depends on which hand you choose to shoot the lay-up. If you are approaching the basket on the right, then you should shoot the lay-up with your right hand. Consequently, end the dribble when your right foot is on the floor, thus making it your pivot foot. Doing so allows you to step on to your left foot (the non-pivot) and execute the lay-up as described in Steps 2 and 3.
The rules allow you to raise your pivot foot off the court, providing you shoot or pass before it returns to the court.
i) From a distance of about 20 ft. from the basket and on a 45 degree angle to it, begin to walk toward the basket, while dribbling with your right hand.
ii) As you approach the basket, end your dribble (as described in Step 4) so that your take-off will put you near the basket as described in Step 1.
iii) As the take-off foot makes contact with the floor, jump and shoot the lay-up, as described in Steps 2 and 3.
iv) Execute Steps 2, 3, and 4 with flow, that is, with smooth and continuous movement. For example, the jumping action begins the moment the take-off foot comes in contact with the court. When you can execute this skill while walking, gradually increase your speed until you can execute it as quickly as possible.
v) Practice the lay-up from the left side; dribbling with your left hand, making your left foot your pivot foot, and shooting with your left hand.
STEP 5 - Ending a Cut
i) From the right side, execute a penetrating cut at a 45 degree angle to the hoop.
ii) The passer should deliver the ball so that, without taking a dribble, you can execute a stride-stop lay-up as described in Steps 1, 2, and 3. Remember you must catch the ball when your right foot is on the court, making it your pivot foot.
iii) With practice and with a passer who can deliver the ball accurately at the right moment, you can execute the lay-up after catching the ball at the peak of your jump. If you can jump high enough and the passer can deliver the ball to the sweet spot, you can catch and dunk it. The sweet spot is the spot near and above the hoop from which you can easily dunk the ball.
iv) Learn to do this maneuver from the left side also.
Finally, as you practice, you will automatically adjust the length and speed of your stride so that you can, after ending a drive or a cut, take off from the location on the court described in Step 1.