If you are practicing at home and plan to play competitively, this is a must read article. I’m going to go over the top things to watch out for when practicing in your driveway that might cause you to do things such as short arm shots, overshoot the basket, go in slow for lay-ups and bank shots way too hard off the backboard.
This article has been contributed by Mr. Basketball @produnkhoops, a product specialist at Pro Dunk Hoops which specializes in premium adjustable basketball goals. He has over 6 years of experience in the industry and is the second generation in the family-owned company.
If your driveway slopes, you’re not playing at a 10 foot rim height. There is not a great solution for this other than pouring a dedicated court in your backyard. The poor man’s solution if you have an adjustable basketball goal is make marks on the adjustment mechanism with notes. For example … “Left Wing,” “Deep Center” and so on and so forth. If you’re practicing shots at these locations, adjust the system up or down to your mark.
Now, to figure out how off you are, you’ll need a 2×4, level and shim. Take the board and place one end underneath the basket and the other end where you’ll be shooting from. Put the level on the top and shim the board until it’s level. Measure the height of the shim and adjust the basketball goal accordingly. Make your new mark and now you have an accurate rim height from that sport!
The distance from the baseline to the front of the backboard is 4 feet in regulation play. Most driveway setups are nowhere near this. This causes players to slow WAY down when running in for a lay-up because they don’t want to hit the pole and they don’t want to roll their ankle in the grass. This can have detrimental effects in actual game play.
The solution, make sure you have a basketball goal with a good amount of overhang (3 feet or greater) and then install the pole as close to your driveway as possible. If your system is already installed off the driveway, think about pouring a little concrete as a “runway” so you don’t have to worry about running into the grass. Also, try to find some padding for your pole so you’re not as worried about running into it.
If your free throw line is off a few inches, what do you think will happen to your FT% in games? Make sure your striping is accurate. If you’re going off of a crack in the concrete, double check it. This is a big problem for those that have portable basketball goals as it’s hard to get it in the same spot each time. To help remedy this, mark the exact placement of the base so that your striping is accurate each time you roll the hoop out.
Bank shots are great. You can get the ball over defenders more easily and you can soften running jumpers increasing your FG% (Just ask Dwyane Wade). If you have an acrylic or poly-carbonate backboard, you are doing yourself a giant disservice if your practicing bank shots at home. The plastics rebound the ball 40% less than tempered glass (used in gymnasiums). Upgrade your basketball goal or do not practice bank shots at home if you do not have a tempered glass backboard. Make sure, if you do upgrade, that the tempered glass backboard is 1/2 inch thick as this is regulation and rebounds 9% better than thinner alternatives.
A driveway basketball goal can be the best training aid you’ll ever invest in. It can also destroy your game in the gym if you’re not careful. I hope these tips will help you improve your game right at home.