How to Shoot a Floater: 3 Easy Tips & Tricks!

Have you ever watched Steph Curry’s warmup routine? The guy shoots from everywhere on the court, and it seems like every shot hits the bottom of the net beautifully.

He seems to always end on some miraculous floater. The shot he shoots has so much arc that sometimes I wonder if one day it’ll hit the ceiling of the stadium!

It looks so effortless.

Then I think of how many hours he has devoted to his craft to make a shot like that. Thousands? Hundreds of thousands?

If you’ve ever wondered how to shoot a floater, add some finesse to your game, and leave defenders in awe, you’re in the right place.

The floater was the go-to shot of players like Tony Parker and Jason Williams, which includes a mix of technique and reading the defense to pull off.

So lace up a pair of the best basketball shoes for guards, grab your ball, and let’s get started!

What is a Floater?

The floater is a shot that a lot of shorter players use to release the ball over a defender’s outstretched arms.

It’s a high-arcing shot that requires finesse and touch. Unlike a layup or a jump shot, the floater uses a lot of finesse.

Reasons You Need to Know How to Shoot a Floater

The floater is an important shot that allows you to navigate past taller defenders with ease. By releasing the ball high above their outstretched arms, you can create a scoring opportunity.

Contrary to when you simply shoot a basketball, floaters can be executed in various game situations. Whether you’re driving to the basket, executing a pick-and-roll, or facing a fast break, the floater becomes your go-to weapon.

Developing a consistent like having a Swiss Army knife in your basketball toolkit, always ready to bring finesse and precision to your game.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Shoot a Floater

Here are the steps to mastering your floater!

Section 1: Perfecting Your Technique

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1.1 Footwork and Body Control

To set yourself up for a successful floater, start by getting your footwork right. As you approach the defender, take distance into account. Stay balanced and either hop-step or plant one foot down.

The final shot can be taken off one foot or two feet. From my experience, one foot floaters are quicker but can sacrifice balance.

1.2 Ball Placement and Release

When shooting a floater, the ball should be held softly with your fingertips, providing maximum control and touch.

As you release the shot, use your wrist to generate backspin, which helps the ball find the sweet spot on the rim and increases the likelihood of a friendly bounce.

Section 2: Reading the Defense

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2.1 Timing and Decision-Making

A well-executed floater requires excellent court vision and the ability to read the defense.

Watch for the defender’s movements and reactions, identifying the right moment to unleash your floater. Patience and anticipation are key here.

2.2 Creating Space

To maximize your chances of success, learn to create space between yourself and the defender.

Utilize crossovers, hesitation moves, or change of direction to throw off your opponent’s balance and create a clear path to the basket.

Section 3: Tips for Success


3.1 Practice Makes Perfect

As with any skill in basketball, practice is crucial. Dedicate time to perfecting your floater technique. Start practicing these shots close to the rim, gradually increasing distance as you gain confidence and consistency.

3.2 Game Situations

Incorporate the floater into game-like scenarios during your practice sessions. Simulate different defensive situations and work on adjusting your shot to adapt to varying angles and distances.

3.3 Mental Focus and Confidence

Shooting a floater requires mental toughness and confidence. Visualize success, stay focused, and trust in your abilities. Believe that every floater you take has a high chance of finding its mark.

Key Considerations for Successfully Shooting a Floater

The trajectory of your floater can make it more difficult for defenders to block your shot. Practice floaters with a high arc, similar to shooting over a taller defender.

Knowing when to take a floater is crucial. Understand when the defense is vulnerable and recognize the right moment to release the ball.

Taking it to the Next Level: Best Finishing Drills for Basketball

Layup Progressions Drill: This drill focuses on developing proper footwork, body control, and finishing techniques for layups. It involves practicing various layup variations from different angles and positions on the court.

The Arc Finishing Drill: This drill focuses on developing touch and accuracy on floaters and mid-range shots. It involves shooting from different spots around the key, simulating game-like situations where you need to finesse the ball over defenders.

Alternative Methods to Shooting a Floater

The eurostep is a popular move used by many skilled players to avoid defenders and finish at the rim. It involves taking a quick step in one direction before smoothly transitioning into a different direction to create separation and evade shot blockers. This move requires good footwork, timing, and body control.

When faced with physical defenders or a crowded paint, a power layup can be a strong alternative to a floater.


When I first shot a floater, the rim rattled so hard that I thought I was going to have to pay for a new one. Shots as intricate as these take time and practice to master.

You need to practice over and over again on mechanics, then comes the other aspects, like how to float a shot over a taller defender.

This really is the ultimate tool for players who are a bit shorter than their competition.

So go out there, embrace the challenge, and let your floaters rain down like gentle drops of rain on a nice Spring day. Happy floating!


How do you execute a floater in basketball?

Use your shooting hand to gently push the ball towards the rim with a soft touch. Aim to release the ball at the peak of your jump, allowing it to float towards the basket.

Shoot the floater with a high arc to give it more loft and make it difficult for defenders to block. The ball should descend softly into the basket.

Maintain good body control throughout the shot. Keep your core stable and your eyes focused on the target.

Should I flick my wrist on a floater?

Some players find that a slight flick of the wrist helps them generate the necessary touch and control for the shot.

Other players prefer to focus on using their fingertips and maintaining a more controlled release without relying on a significant wrist flick.

How do you use a floater?

As you go up for the shot, focus on using a soft touch to allow the ball to float toward the rim. Aim for a high arc on the shot to give it more loft and reduce the chances of it being blocked.

Maintain control over your body as you jump and shoot. Stay balanced, square your shoulders to the basket, and keep your eyes focused on the target.

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