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Finishing School (III) - Progressions

Updated: May 25, 2021

In our final installment of the Finishing School series will we examine a potential progression of drills that can fine-tune a single finishing method. With each finish, we will follow an unguarded, guided defense, SSG, & Game Footage progression.

Sometimes during the course of a season, it makes sense to zero in one particular finishing method in practice. You can use all of the practice drills that we discussed in "Finishing School (II) - Practice Drills", but simply narrow your focus on one finishing technique. In your 'Finishing School' session create a 1/0, Guided Defense, and a Live 1/1 scenarios for your players to work on the technique. Hopefully, we will see scenarios later in practice where players will apply the technique in live play.

In part three of our Finishing School Series, we are going to look at potential ways in which to achieve this progression on the practice floor. Using some practice footage from this past season we'll look at practice progressions for using the Jump Stop, Stride Stop - Reverse Pivot, Extended Arm Finishes & Barkleys (Dribble Post Ups).


In a perfect world players would be able to get all the way to the basket on every dribble attack. In reality though good defensive teams will be able to shut off dribble penetration before it gets to the rim. On those occasions we are encouraging players to use a Barkley, as a finishing option. These are essentially a dribble penetration that turns into a post up opportunity. When a player is cut off right before the paint, the offensive player keeps his dribble alive, turns his back to his defender, and either scores or makes a pass.

Teaching Points for "Barkleys":

- Get Your Back Turned Quickly

- Ball is Your Outside Hand

- Eyes to the Inside

- Attack Middle, or Spin/Turn Baseline

Fast Draw Drill Diagrams (Barkleys)

Jump Stops

The two foot Jump Stop is probably the most common finish that we practice. It has a number of benefits in game scenarios, and it gives players the option to stop & pivot if they don't shoot it. We are encouraging our players to use two foot jump stops in crowded areas, when going up through arms, when the advantage is "small", and when penetrating zone offenses.

Teaching Points for "Two Foot Jump Stops":

- Cover Ground with your Jump

- Ball Secured in Chest

- Land with Balance

- Finish with Power, or Pivot Away from the Defense

Jump Stop - Step Through - This was a live rep I caught one of our players executing in one of our Summer League games. In this case he sticks the landing of the jump stop, and then "steps through" to get back to his strong hand.

Extended Arm

The Extended Arm finish is probably the most commonly used finish by players in games. Players are extending their arm out to the basket and attempting to get the basketball "on the backboard" before any shot blocker to get to it. Game Scenarios where would often see this type of finish would be 1) In Transition and 2) on a Slot Drive where the Center comes off his man to challenge to shot late. As this is a finish that players are more likely to be comfortable with, we are mostly trying to maximize their technique and provide context for the finish.

Teaching Points for the "Extended Arm Finish":

- Open Your Chest to the Middle

- Cut off the Defender with your Angle

- Get Your Arm Extended

- Start Your Jump (Steps) Early

*Check Out "Finishing School (II) - Practice Drills" for Fast Draw Diagrams of 1/0 Finishing, 1/1 Russian, and 3/3 Double Gaps.

Stride Stop, Reverse Pivot

The Stride Stop and the Stride Stop - Reverse Pivot are a dribble stop and counter that we practice quite often. As we have incorporated many DDM concepts into our offense over the last few seasons the Stride Stop has become an integral part of our skill development. We introduce this within our offense as the preferred method of stopping our dribble when a drive has failed to get to the rack. So teaching our players to also use this same footwork in a finishing scenario has been made easier because of that.

We are telling our players to use this finish when a defender has cut us off late in the drive, or when a defender is charging hard to size up a shot block.

Teaching Points for the "Stride Stop - Reverse Pivot":

- Back Foot, Front Foot Stopping Order

- Back to the Basket, protecting the ball

- Reverse Pivot & Step Through

- Momentum is Towards the Rim

*Check Out "Finishing School (II) - Practice Drills" for Fast Draw Diagrams of 1/0 Finishing, 1/1 Russian, and 3/3 Double Gaps.

Recommended Resources:

Finishing Videos featuring Villanova Basketball

  1. Variety of Finishes (Mike Shaughnessy) -

  2. Josh Hart Jump Stops (@RadiusAthletics) -

  3. Jump Stops, Pump Fakes, Pivots (@HalfCourtHoops) -

Further Info on "Barkleys":

  1. @RadiusAthletics featuring Jalen Brunson -

  2. @PositionlessBb featuring Jalen Brunson -

Concluding Thoughts

Practice is the perfect place to show players a variety of finishes they can use in games, and also give the context in which they would use them. Most players will not be adapt at every single kind of finish, but the more 'tools' that we give them the more likely they will be able to problem solve in game scenarios. Find time three days a week to put your players through your own version of Finishing School. Give them 1/0 technique opportunities, 1/1 Guided Defense reps, and then let them apply it in Live Scenarios - and I predict it will pay dividends.

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