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Breaking down Shaq’s destructive drop-step technique | Biomechanics breakdown & sports science


Hey it’s Raj from 3CB Performance NBA legend and arguably the most dominant player at ever his peak, Shaquille O’Neal, had a devastating drop-step that was a cornerstone of his offensive repertoire, often just taking the soul right out of his opponent

In this video, I’ll break down the key biomechanical and sports science components of Shaq’s drop-step Bef ore anything else, the key to Shaq’s drop-step is establishing deep post position Arguably his greatest skill Here he sets up one step out of the paint Notice that Shaq’s feet are stacked with his inside shoulder pointed towards the paint This position sets up his dribble and leverage when he actually begins the move

Further, the defender Scott Pollard’s positioning is clearly biased towards protecting the middle of the paint That’s due to Shaq’s inside shoulder leverage position and the threat of Shaq attacking the middle with his jump-hook or two-step Shaq’s drop-step typically began with two to three dribbles, leaning his inside shoulder into the defender and pushing towards the middle of the paint with a strong push from his outside leg This gets Shaq deeper into the paint, further reinforces the threat of him going middle, and lastly, notice how Shaq’s shoulder makes contact with the inside shoulder of the defender, tilting Pollard even more into the middle of the paint while forcing him to stabilize and brace himself for contact The timing is key

After picking up his second dribble, Shaq feels for contact on his shoulder and then rolls off to begin his drop step Pollard is rooted to the ground as he braces for that strong contact Additionally, the rhythmic timing optimizes Shaq’s coordination and efficiency on the move As Shaq begins his spin, look how balanced and organized he is around midline This is critical because balance provides the foundation and platform for clean moves

As he rotates, his upper and lower body are intricately synchronized Swinging the ball from left to right as his right foot swings to the baseline As that foot plants, there’s a game of foot cat and mouse taking place, my favorite part of the entire sequence Shaq’s aim is to hook that right foot and leg outside of Pollard’s right foot and leg to get complete leverage and a clean angle after the spin Pollard intentionally has his right foot wide to prevent that – he actually plays the move quite well overall – but he has to move that right foot slightly posteriorly (backwards) into the paint

That shift is like slightly cracking open the door to a raging bull and gives Shaq the angle he needs He swings the ball through, using his right shoulder and elbow to create contact and space Then – this is key – as Shaq’s left foot swings around and plants, he flexes (lowers) his trunk and hips which drops his center of mass to optimize balance and load key jumping muscles That allows him to spring up immediately after the drop-step and finish with a flush What made the drop-step even more effective is that Shaq utilized very effective counters to keep the defense guessing

Here’s a deep seal into the middle hook Another deep seal but he feints the middle into a baseline hook Even when the defense made the right call, Shaq could adjust and finish Here Shaq tells Kobe to get the ball into the corner & watch what happens Shaq feints like he’s going to post, feels contact, and then spins off the defender, timing it perfectly with Rick Fox touching the ball in the corner That’s incredible chemistry and understanding, Shaq was 2 steps ahead mentally And then some extra spice on it at the end

Lastly, not the best video quality here, but one of my favorite Shaq counters No dribble drop-step into the reverse pivot hook with the finish off the glass Don’t let anyone ever tell you Shaq wasn’t skilled That’s a wrap for this video Thanks for watching

My goal is to provide you with in-depth, evidence based, narrative free analysis and you can always find me on IG and Twitter @3CBPerformance Please take care of yourselves and follow the appropriate precautions to limit your exposure to and spread of COVID-19 Make sure to sub to the channel and follow along on all social media for the latest updates 3CB out

Source: Youtube

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