[Ed. Note: The following article is borrowed from a 1962 Sports Illustrated “Book of Basketball”. Video links within and at the end of the article have obviously been added to use video to show the hook shot.]
The great advantage of the hook shot … is the fact that it is almost impossible to block when executed reasonably correctly.
The great drawback of the hook is that it is a very difficult maneuver.
It requires utmost precision and concentration, which must be acquired through long practice hours. But just as important as the mechanics of the shot itself is the shooter’s ability to get into the proper position — to receive the ball and then shoot. He must learn what the best positions are for him, and how to maneuver his defending player so that he can get into position at the right time.
Few hook-shooters have ever perfected the shot so that it is effective at any real distance from the basket. The limit for most is around foul-line length of an arc around the backboard. [Ed. Note: this was written prior to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his ‘Unstoppable Sky Hook‘]
The shooter starts with his back to the basket, holding the ball in both hands, and with his defender behind him. He should keep the bulk of his body between the defender and the ball until he shoots, and then he should raise his free arm, elbow bent, to further protect the ball.
Obviously, it is extremely valuable for a hooker to develop efficiency with both hands, so that the defender cannot ignore feints in either direction. The shot can be made, after a feint or two, from this standing position or after a step away from the basket with either foot. If the step or the pivot is made with the left foot, the shot is made with the right hand, and vice versa.
The ball is released, with the arm fully extended, from the fingertips, as with all other shots. As the ball is crossed over the body in preparation for shooting, the shooter turns his head and fixes his eyes on the backboard spot he intends to hit, or just above the rim if he is shooting from in front of the basket. He concentrates on this spot through the shot and the follow-through, directing the ball by feel, not sight.
A side benefit of the hook is that the shot is easily converted to a pass at the last moment if the would-be shooter spots a teammate under the basket.
Is the hook shot for everyone? To an extent, yes. It may not be your ‘normal’ shot, as it was for Kareem … however, it should be an effective tool that you can utilize, especially if you spend any time in the low post. As a shot that is nearly impossible to defend, why wouldn’t you want to work on it?
Here is a great video highlighting the ‘Sky Hook’ as Kareem Adbul-Jabbar made famous. You can check his great footwork and body control.
For the original hook-shooter … and the one whose name is on the Mikan Drill you probably have done 100s of time, check out this old-school footage of George Mikan:
Need some plays for your low post player? Plays where they’ll get the ball in position to utilize their hook shot? Check out our Low Post Plays in The Academy. Not a Hoops U. Basketball Coaching Academy member? Join Now!
What say you? Is the hook shot just a useless maneuver like the set shot? Or is it a tool that can be used in today’s game? Share your take in the comments…