In our previous basketball tip we referred to the key element of “peeking at the rim” when initially catching the ball and “facing up”. This tip of “peeking at the rim” seems so simple and insignificant that many players may disregard it and fail to make it a game habit. I will agree that it is very simple! It takes no talent, absolutely no athleticism, zero experience, and minimal effort to execute. It is a technique that is not hard to learn or understand although as with any habit it will take time, repetitions, and discipline to form. A peek at the rim is essential for 3 primary reasons. First of all, shooting the basketball should be your first option when receiving a pass and the rim is your target. Secondly, “peeking at the rim” automatically gets your eyes up and allows you to see the court much better. Lastly, should you fake a shot with the defense closing out on you, a “peek at the rim” makes that fake much more effective, especially if you are a lethal shooter. If you will practice and discipline yourself to “peek at the rim” every time you catch the ball, you will be better prepared to shoot, make quicker reads, see the floor much better, keep the defense more off balance, and be able to get past your defender more efficiently. So, begin developing this habit when you catch the ball in drill work, team practices, scrimmages, pick up, or actual games. There are no magic drills that will suddenly cause you to be a player who “peeks at the rim”. You must simply do it over and over again in practice and play until it becomes second nature. If you are practicing driving to the basket and finishing, get a quick “peek at the rim” first then explode and attack the rim and finish. If you are working on pull-up jumpers or penetrate and kick options with a partner or coming off screens you can still execute a “peek at the rim” when doing so. You must now simply apply this knowledge to your drill work or game play.
Here is a way to begin working on this simple yet effective fundamental. Start at the top of the key with a chair representing a defender for you to explode by. “Peek at the rim” and then shot fake and explode from a good ready position taking 10 pull-up jumpers going to your right and 10 pull-up jumpers going to your left. Repeat this from both wings and from both corners for a total of 100 repetitions (20 reps from 5 different spots). It is that simple but you must “peek at the rim” each repetition if you expect it to become part of who you are as a player. It is a seemingly insignificant detail that will make you a better offensive player. As John Wooden says, “success is often found in the perfection of minor details.”