How to Finish Through Contact in Basketball

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Would you like to know how to finish through contact and how to go up strong in basketball? At any level, basketball can get quite physical, and being able to finish strongly can be quite valuable. Not all players are willing to put their bodies on the line for a basket.

One of the reasons for this is that they do not know how to finish through contact. We understand that you know how important this is and you would like to know how to draw contact in basketball and finish, that’s why you are here. We will be discussing how you can create contact and finish at the rim in a strong way.

What Does Finishing Mean in BasketballWhat Does Finishing Mean in Basketball?

Finishing refers to the ability to complete a play. In other words, it is about the process of scoring the basketball. Finishing can sometimes be described as strong or weak. A strong finish is a finish that is through contact, and that is what we will be focusing on today. A play is pointless unless it results in a finish at the rim or otherwise.

Many coaches will teach their players how they can finish at the rim as they will need to execute this in real games. Being able to finish the basketball constantly will make you an elite scorer and a great asset to your team.

How Do You Initiate Contact in BasketballHow Do You Initiate Contact in Basketball?

Initiating contact is important because this is one way that you can draw fouls and get sent to the free-throw line with opportunities to make easy points.

In addition to getting extra opportunities at the free-throw line, when you draw fouls, you have the chance to put your opponents in foul trouble, which can significantly affect the intensity with which they play defense. Let’s take a look at some ways of creating contact in basketball.

Shot Fake Then Jump In

The pump fake is a very common way that’s players initiate contact. If you utilize a pump fake, you can get your opponents off their feet and off-balance, you can then jump towards the opponent while attempting your shot.

If you create contact in such a manner that your opponent seems as if they of impeded your shot by contact, it’s likely that you will get a call from the referee.

Lean In On the Dribble Drive

If you can get by your defender while attacking the rim, you will get your defender on your hip when trying to prevent you from getting to the basket. This is a very good opportunity for you to utilize the contact that was created.

While your defender is on your hip, you can lean into the defender, and if they reach for the ball or get to the spot after you, they can be called for a reach-in foul or a blocking foul.

Change Position of Ball Mid-Air

If you are playing against athletic players or predominant shot blockers, you can create contact while in the air by switching the basketball’s position. This trick is more useful for players with the athletic ability to stay in the air for some time.

If you notice that your defender is trying to block or alter your shot while you are in the air, you can move the ball out of their reach and replace it with your arm. If these players swing at the ball and you move it, chances are they will hit your arm, and that would be contact created in the air. You will get a call from 99% of all the referees on this play.

Drive Towards Players Bodies

Have you ever watched that Whoopi Goldberg basketball movie, Eddie? In that movie Eddie (Whoopi), tried to teach the center of the New York Knicks how to take a charge by not moving his feet. She found difficulty doing this because the center could not keep his feet grounded. We said that to say this, if you are able to drive the ball directly at a defender in the lane, you have a 50-50 chance of creating contact and getting a blocking foul called against the defender.

Many players are reluctant to stay still and take a charge when they see an opposing body approaching them at full speed. Be fearless and attack defenders in the paint, and you could get the blocking foul called.

How to Finish Over Taller Defenders in BasketballHow to Finish Over Taller Defenders in Basketball

Finishing over taller defenders can be tricky. Some teams use tall defenders to protect the rim, and if they are good at this, it can be quite difficult to score in the paint. Players like Rudy Gobert, Javale McGee, Brook Lopez, and Jarrett Allen are a few phenomenal shot blockers in the NBA.

These players can be hard to get by at the rim if they are not approached properly. There are some different plays or tricks that you can use to score while going up against taller defenders.


Floaters or teardrops are high arching push shots often utilized by shorter players when they enter the paint and the face-off against taller defenders. To perform a floater after you have gathered your dribble, take the ball in one hand and do one or two lay-up steps, depending on the space you have.

After, release the ball at your highest point with a strong wrist flick to put it out of the defender’s arm reach. You should raise the knee under the arm with the ball as high as possible to gain height on your release point and create a barrier between you and the defender. You can also do the shot on a gather stop to perform a really fast shot. Practice this shot as much as you can before using it in games as it’s not the easiest to get right. Tony Parker was a master at this, so you can watch some of his tapes.

Jump over if You Have the Lift

Some players are taller, however, they do not have the vertical leaping capabilities of shorter players. If you are a shorter player and you are able to jump extremely high, you can rely on your jump to get you over taller players. Do you remember when Vince Carter jumped over of that French guy in the Olympics? So, Vince Carter was a shorter 6 feet 6 in guard that jumped over a 7 ft 2 in French Center Frédéric Weis at the 2000 Olympic Games. If you do not currently possess the leaping capabilities to jump higher than the taller Defenders’ reach, you can start working or your leaping capabilities and your strength in the gym and at practice.

Shorter players need to work on their ability to jump higher to compensate for the height difference. This is always a good thing in basketball. 

Reverse Dunks

Reverse dunks along the baseline are great ways to finish at the rim. They are even more useful when attempting to finish over taller players. The reason why a reverse dunk is easier to finish over a taller defender is you will have the defender either on your hip or on your back when attempting to perform this reverse dunk along the baseline.

To do this, you will need to draw the player out far enough from the rim so that you can get by them on the dribble. To prevent your shot from getting blocked, you can pull the defender out and then dribble by them along the baseline and reverse dunk the ball on the other side of the rim.

Playing the game for a long time, we can say that even though you get by a shot-blocker or a taller player, it does not mean that you will be able to finish over them easily. This will work because the defender can not go up directly to block your short as you will be putting the rim between yourself and is the taller player. They will not be able to go through the rim to block your shot.

Shot Fake

A shot fake is one of the most useful tactics to get taller defenders off balance and out of place so that you can finish over them. Have you ever heard the phrase, what goes up, must come down? Well, in this case, it is definitely true.

If you get your defender in the air while you are still grounded, you can wait until the taller defender is on their way down, then you can jump up and put up your shot. Their ability to contest the shot will be severely hampered because you will be going up when they are coming down.

Change Position of the Ball on Jump

Some smart players with the athletic ability to remain airborne for a long time will change their release points while in the air. Changing your release point while in the hair not only allows you to put up a shot that won’t to get blocked but can also help you create contact and draw a foul. Some players will pump or simply switch the ball’s position while mid-air after the taller player has started trying to contest the shot.

Defense is often a reactive part of basketball, so the defender in this case, will be reacting to your original shot position. After you move the ball, you should be able to get off a shot before the defender reacts to cover the new location of the ball. Some players can even switch hands mid air while shooting to change the position of the release point. 

Hook Shots

Hook Shots are extremely difficult to block. Whether they are performed by tall or short players, taller defenders or defenders, in general, find hook shots very difficult to deny. Hook shots are shots made over your shoulders while standing sideways to your opponent.
This sideways stance will put the ball and your opponents on opposite sides of your body. This means that the defender will need to clear you and jump high enough to get to the already airborne ball that is coming from a far distance.

Some players nudge the defenders away or take their steps going away from the defender before putting up a hook shot. This makes it even more difficult to get to. When you are practicing to do your hook shots, remember to always keep your eyes on the rim, so that you can aim the ball properly. You can also watch some of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s famous skyhook tapes.

3 Helpful Tips to Become a Better Finisher in Basketball3 Helpful Tips to Become a Better Finisher in Basketball 

To help you with improving your finishing at the rim, you will need to practice with and without your teammates. Practice without your teammates so that you can get the fundamental mechanics of finishing at the rim properly.

It is very important that you have good footwork in the paint in order to finish at the rim efficiently. Your footwork is the base of your basketball offense. Work on the different footwork techniques so that you can be more versatile in the paint.

Here are three helpful tips that you can use to improve your game as a finisher.

Try to finish through contact all the time

Remember that if you can finish your baskets even through contact, you will have opportunities to get extra points at the free-throw line. Practice as much as you can to finish your baskets even when there is contact.

Keep your eyes on the defender and the rim

Keep your head up and your eyes open. Always try to see your defender’s arms and the rim so that you can know what adjustments you need to make while mid-air.

Work on a variety of moves

If you attack the room with the same move all the time, over time it will become quite easy to defend. Practice a variety of moves so that you can always adapt based on what the defense gives you.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Finish Through Contact in Basketball

As with most aspects of basketball, practice is critical. Practice through contact with your teammates and your coach so that it will not be as difficult in games. Work on different moves to improve your arsenal when attacking the rim, which should help you be a better finisher.

If you found this post helpful, you’re definitely going to like our other basketball FAQ articles here.

> How to Defend Ball Screens in Basketball

> Is Playing a Basketball on a Double Rim Good for You?

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Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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