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Basketball Shooting - Tear Drop

What is an tear drop in basketball shooting

The basketball shooting technique called "tear drop" is also referred to as the floater.  Both of them are very descriptive names in that the basketball shot seems to "float" over the defender and drop into the hoop so lightly as if it were a drop of tears.  It is an alternate basketball shooting move in a lay up where you take the step-and-a-half early and while jumping forward, you shoot the basketball over your defender before he jumps.

What does it take to do a decent tear drop

To do a decent tear drop, you will need to combine two things at the opposite sides of a pole.  You need to have speed to dribble and force your opponent back while you need the body balance in the air to withstand contact.  Most importantly, you need to have a excellent eyesight in motion because when you are jumping forward, the distance between your basketball shooting hand and the rim is ever-changing and so you need the eyesight to anticipate this change in distance and adjust your shooting power accordingly.

When do I use a tear drop

When your defender is bigger but NOT slower than you by too much and you don't see a lane that allows you take the basketball to the hoop, that is when you should consider a floater.  Certainly, you will need some basketball dribbling moves to create space for you to leap forward.

When you are using the floater or the tear drop, you should mentally and physically prepare yourself for impact from your defender because you are jumping into him.  You should not initiate the body contact if your defender is overwhelming stronger than you. Otherwise, you will just lose your balance as you get bumped.

When using the floater, you should be facing the basketball hoop directly.  In this case, use the backboard when deemed necessary.  That may help solve the problem of power judgement.

Pros-n-cons about doing a tear drop



  • Gains control of the space in the air before your defenders do
  • A good penetration move that draws defenders and help defense for a dish chance
  • Add variety to your attacking the basket.  Puts more strain on the defense
  • driving at the hoop directly allows the using of the backboard.
  • An in-motion shot that may be difficult for some players
  • High chance of body contact, resulting in the loss of balance
  • Committing yourself too early by jumping into the air
  • May commit a foul when you leap forward with your defender planning to take the charge.

General step-by-step guide to doing a tear drop

The floater gives point guards on the penetration a lot of flexibility in that when they have backed up their defenders, only help defense can come over to contest the floater basketball shot.  This create the opportunity to dish the basketball to the teammate left unguarded.  Alternately, if no one decides to contest the shot, you can unleash a floater at the very last minute.  Hence, this basketball shooting technique gives point guards room for creativity.


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