What is a floater in basketball? Explained in Detail

Basketball being one of the most famous sports in the world has a huge fan following and audience that follow the game. There are some terms that are widely famous for different sports and for basketball, the floater is surely one of them.

Even if you don’t know much about the sport you might have heard about floater. Today we will be gathering information about floater, so get ready to explore what a floater is, and if you are a player that plays basketball then we have some tips and tricks for you to improve your game and score a mind-boggling floater.

What is a floater?

In basketball, a floater is a shot that resembles an overhand layup. Because the floater is utilized to shoot over bigger opponents, the opposition finds it difficult to defend this sort of shot. When playing against larger opponents, smaller basketball players understand the importance of the floater.

In basketball, the floater is sometimes known as a “teardrop” or a “runner.” A player may choose to employ the floater to boost their scoring chances by shooting it from one or two feet, depending on the situation.

what is a floater in basketball

What is special about the floater?

  • The floater is not a conventional shot as it is an overhand shot that is used to get past taller opponents. It is a rapid shot with a high arc.
  • This is why it is difficult for the other team’s shot blockers to contest.
  • When shooting the basketball, the floater requires a gentle touch from the athlete.
  • When the ball strikes the rim, it tends to settle on the basket, giving you more room for error while also boosting your chances of making a basket.
  • This shot is made from a distance of twelve feet from the basket. Shooting the floater from the center of the basketball hoop is the finest scoring position
  • This is because if the ball hits the backboard, it can help the ball go into the hoop.
  • By pushing the ball high off the backboard, you can also achieve layups using the floater.

Two-foot floater vs. one-foot floater

The floater can be done from either one or two feet.

The one-foot floater is far more difficult than the two-foot floater because it demands much more body balance and control as well as basketball control.

If you’re new to floaters or aren’t very good at them, I recommend sticking to the two-foot floater because you’ll have more control and it’ll be easier to accomplish.

It’s similar to a jump stop, except you go up and shoot the overhand shot right away. If you try the one-foot floater first, you will build confidence much faster.

If you’re shooting the one-foot or two-foot shot, the angle you approach the basket counts as well. With the two-foot, you can arrive at any angle and remain balanced, but with the one-foot, arriving at an angle other than straight into the basket is really tough.

Some people will only see the one-foot floater and not the two-foot floater. The floater, on the other hand, refers to both the one-foot and two-foot shot.

Does being small affect your capability of scoring floater and what is its relation to it

  • As a basketball player, I quickly realized that I could use this shot to my advantage against larger opponents.
  • Being only 5 feet 9 inches tall, going right to the middle and waiting for me at the basket may be unrealistic. Instead of drawing a foul, I’m more likely to get blocked.
  • This shot is popular among smaller players since it is difficult to block.
  • While the shot is close to the basket, the floater is useful since it is a short shot that would otherwise need you to lay the ball up from a distance away from the hoop.
  • This would necessitate a higher level of talent or shooting the ball from a distance of 15 feet or more, which takes longer and is far more difficult to achieve when the shot is being disputed.
  • Every tiny player should have a floater or bag trick in their arsenal. You’ll be able to get your shot off swiftly and easily once you’ve practiced and become proficient at shooting these types of shots.

What makes the floater the most effective shooter in Basketball?

The three-pointer is the most popular shot. The midrange jumper is the most divisive shot, and the billboard is possibly the most memorable. The floater, though, is often termed as the most effective shot in basketball. 

The way you can just let the ball drift over the taller assistance defender and then just stare at him with narrowed eyes and chewed lips because he truly believed he’d get a block. The floater is one of basketball’s cleanest and most underappreciated shots.

Smaller guards can use the floater to counteract the larger shot blocker. It also makes acquiring a bucket easy rather than trying to finish in the woods. It keeps defenders on their toes while also providing a chance for a hesitant move.

You hit the defender twice in a row with floaters. When you return for the third time, he’ll be ready to overcommit to save you from embarrassing him. So you slow down, raise your shoulders and head as though you’re attempting the same shot, and as soon as the defender sets his feet, you dribble right by him for an easy layup or layoff.

When should you shoot a floater?

You are in the middle of the game, and you just passed the defender on the way to the basket. But the defender is not so far away from you. He is just by your back trying to take the ball back from your possession. You want to go near to the basket but there is a shot blocker under the basket, a pretty good one. Then if you will challenge him, he is most likely going to block your shot.

If you are tackling and thought to do a pull-up jumper shot but the defender is coming close, and you don’t have time for that. The best shot you can do at this moment is a floater. You stop short and quickly shoot a floater because a floater releases considerably faster.

Guards mainly use this basketball shooting technique. Floaters are one of the key ways that NBA players like Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, and Tony Parker finish around the basket. It is similar to a big man’s hook shot. Although the hook shot is tough to execute, it is also one of the most difficult shots to defend.

Once you master your technique in the floater, you can shoot the ball over taller defenders like a breeze. It’s also a great shot to take off a pick and roll and when driving to the basket.

when to shooet floater in basketball

You may find the following techniques helpful in mastering this shot:

1. Time of shooting the floater

The floater is a shot that should be used sparingly. When your momentum is heading towards the basket and you don’t have enough area to take a pull-up jump shot, you should shoot the floater.

2. Right momentum for the shoot

Getting contact on the basketball while your body is heading towards the hoop is one of the most difficult aspects of shooting the floater. One approach to improve this is to use somewhat less force on the ball as your body moves toward the hoop. This is so that instead of your arm performing all of the work, your body’s momentum may carry the ball. In these types of scenarios, another option is to try to use the backboard. This is because using the backboard gives you a bit more room to maneuver if you happen to overshoot your floater.

3. The correct amount of touch

Because of the amount of touch required from a player, the floater is without a doubt one of the most difficult shots in basketball.

Getting a correct arch on the basketball is a fantastic approach to developing touch around the rim. This will allow you to focus more of your energy on the ball’s height rather than its distance, ensuring that your shot does not overshoot.

Make sure to stretch your elbow up and above your head when dealing with your arch. You can modify the angle at which you shoot by extending your elbow, which should allow for a greater arch on your shot.

4. Practice your target

Just looking or aiming at the basket will not improve your target. Concentrate on a single point of the rim as many outstanding players do. This could be the rim’s front or metals attached to the basket you’re playing on. Having a definite target in mind can help you think straight and allow your instincts and body to take over without other thoughts interfering with your shot’s rhythm.

5. Repeating the same pattern

One of the most common mistakes that athletes make while practicing this shot is going too slowly or repeatedly practicing the same sort of shot. You must understand that the floater is a shot that varies greatly depending on the game. For instance, you may occasionally have to shoot over higher defenders while moving quickly. Other times, you’ll be moving at a slower rate and will need to decrease the arch on your shot. If you want to be able to shoot in a variety of situations, your practice should reflect that.

6. Practice different styles of floaters

When most players think of this style of shot, they think of the standard 1-foot leaning floater. Although floater is a wonderful option for many players, it is not a comfortable shot to play. So, don’t feel compelled if you aren’t comfortable. Remember that a floater is a sort of shot, and like any other shot in basketball, it does not have to be the same every time. So, it is best to practice and observe what your body naturally enjoys doing, then do as many reps as possible with that. As long as you can quickly and successfully get your shot off over opposing defenders.

7. Square up

Players who struggle with consistency and percentages must focus on the basics. Just because a shot appears to be different from a standard jump shot does not mean those essential basics are ignored. This is a suggestion I provide to many players who struggle with consistency and percentages. I cannot emphasize this enough: just because a shot appears to be different from a standard jump shot does not mean that essential basics are ignored. Your shooting shoulder must still be aligned to the hoop to square up effectively on almost all shots. This is referred to as the turn by many players and coaches. On a floater, the turn might be difficult because most players will be driving straight to the basket on their drives. To counteract this, try squaring up and turning your shooting shoulder right before you take your shot.


The floater may be a difficult shot, but it is very effective. It can be mastered by practicing the techniques and it can make you a star. In the end, we will conclude the topic while summarizing all the information and hoping that you find it interesting.

We with all the information combined hope that it will not only educate you regarding the floater in basketball but will also improve your game and skills with our guide to improving your floater gameplay with tips and tricks that are highly effective.