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Leaner : Basketball Tips And Skills

Also known as a leaning jump shot, it is a basketball shooting technique in which you combine a forward jump towards the basketball hoop with a set shot while drawing contact from your defender

Similar to making a good jump shot, the key to making a good lean begins with strengthening your wrist.  There are tools that increase your wrist power.  A strong wrist allows you to better control the ball when shooting in the air.  For leaners, it is also important to boost your vertical jump but it is not as vital as in jump shots and fade-away.  Instead, improving your hang time is also paramount to making a decent leaner because the more hang time you have, the more time you have to recover from the contact you made with your defender, which is inevitable. Here comes the most important part:  Solid, powerful arms and shoulders and excellent upper body balance. They are critical to shooting a good leaning jump shot because leaners are design to initiate contact with the defender and limits the defender's movement with the contact. Strength training using 80% of your 1-RM focusing on training your upper body will help.

When do I use a leaner?
A leaner is best used when 3 conditions are satisfied:
·         Your upper body is stronger than your opponent
·         You defender is right in front of you in a slightly awkward defence position
·         You are in the paint or near the basketball hoop area

Leaners come in handy when you dribble or receive a pass in somewhere close to the hoop but you feel uncomfortable shooting.  You can jump forward towards the basket to increase the chance of scoring on the shooting attempt.  Leaners can be also used when you are able to perform a drop-step while posting up and turn into a position in which you are face-to-face with your defender under the basketball hoop.
When you are in the position of doing a leaning jump shot, do not hesitate, jump right at your opponent with force and shoot with your wrist. 

Pros-and-cons about doing a leaner
  • Beats opponents vertically and horizontally in terms of space
  • Dominates opponent psychologically by drawing contact
  • Brings the basketball hoop closer both horizontally and vertically
  • You get a clearer look at the basketball hoop while knowing the defender is right under you
  • Possibility of drawing a foul from your opponent
  • Easier to become off-balance in the air because of the contact
  • The requirement of strong arms and upper body balance is high
  • Wrong execution may result in offensive foul
  • Relatively high risk of rib-cage injury because of collision

How To Do A Leaner In Basketball?
General step-by-step guide to shooting a leaner
·         (Reverse everything if you are left-handed)
·         Post up at the low post or near the paint
·         Heel pivot with you left feet
·         spin to the left until you can see the defender is right in front of you
·         (if space allows, you may just start from the following step without posting up)
·         Elevate upward and forward while holding the ball tightly
·         Hold the ball high above your head for the extra height advantage
·         Initiate contact with your chest on your way up
·         Recover from the collision ASAP
·         Square up with the hoop when you have reached the highest point.
·         Snap your wrist to propel the ball towards the rim.