Besides developing a player's weak hand, one of my favorite shots to teach as well watch is the floater. In my opinion the floater is a shot that EVERY position should learn how to shoot. With the athleticism, length, and size that is playing the game today, developing a floater to get a shot off in the paint over size/length is very important.
The best floater that I've ever seen was shot by a player back in the day named Sherman Douglas that starred at Syracuse and played 10 years in the NBA for MIA,BOS,MIL and a couple of others. He didn't have great size , but could drive the ball in the paint and have the ability to pull up for the floater in the paint over great shot blockers.
It used to be a shot that was only shot by little guys, but now there are players at all positions from Point Guard to Center that can shoot the shot effectively. The shot itself is a low percentage shot because it is hard to get control of and it is a little bit unorthodox. Like anything , you need to get your reps up thousands of times and learn the proper technique. When teaching the shot there are a few things that a player needs to focus in on. I feel as though the trajectory of the shot, release point, and balance are the three biggest things in teaching the shot.
When shooting the floater I believe the trajectory needs to be different from a jumpshot. A jumpshot for most is shot with a mid arc trajectory which is shot on balance in a set position for the most part, a floater is usually shot on the move towards the basket and needs a lot of help from gravity and touch with getting extra bounces. The shot should be shot straight up out of the hand to loft in the air and drop down onto the rim/basket. This way if it's not a perfect shot that the direction of the ball coming off of the rim will be straight up and will give the ball a couple of bounces on the rim and will be a soft shot. If you shoot a very fast low floater and it's not perfect the ball will bounce off the rim back in the direction that it came. I always like to have the players that I work with covered for the worst case scenario and a high arcing floater will give them in my opinion the best chances to be consistent with the shot.
The release point of the floater is very important to teach. Remember the shot is usually shot when a player beat's their defender and the a big is helping in the paint to stop the ball. Going back to the high arcing ball going straight up in the air will help against shot blocking. If the ball is shot form a low release point and there is X4/X5 right there the ball will almost certainly get deflected. The ball should be released at the top of the head region and let go as the ball gets to that point. Holding on to the ball longer will enable the defender extra time to get to the ball as well as have the shooter release the ball on the way down which is inconsistent and leads to other issues. Most good floater shooters release the ball in one motion.
Since the shot is such a delicate shot to shoot it is important to have some type of balance when shooting it. When players are barreling forward on the shot they become susceptible to charges/offensive fouls. I like players that I work with on the shot to go straight up and down or slightly forward when shooting the shot. This will enable the ball to have good touch and add a much needed consistency when shooting the shot.
Other factors that go into the shot is wether you jump high or very little/not at all. There is also if you scoop it or shoot it over hand. The last thing that comes into play is high height to the floater /mid/low height. All of those factors that I just listed are all what is comfortable to the player involved. Most of the skills that we teach have very important fundamental skills that a player needs to follow and then there are a few things that can be done to fit the player's comfort. As coaches we can't micro manage everything that a player does. There needs to be some types of freedom that we give the player to ensure the skill is comfortable for them.
Players should get reps shooting off one foot as well as two feet. Some situations will call for one foot or two feet shooting the floater. Have your players get experience shooting either way. This is another example of a skill set that whatever they are comfortable with.
WHERE TO SHOOT THE SHOT FROM
One of the biggest problems players have is where to shoot the shot from. You don't want players to take the ball too deep into the paint and shoot it. The big will have the advantage and will be able to get to the shot. On the other hand you don't want the to shoot the ball from 15 feet with a floater as they should just shoot the pull up.
The optimal spot to shoot a floater from are the dots straight away. This is the pocket of space that you will have when the big is retreating. On the corners you want to shoot the floater form right outside the paint. The help side big will most likely be inside the paint on the release of the shot. Knowing where and when to shoot the shot will be a big part of a player's development on top of the technique of the shot.
When breaking down the shot, get your players to be comfortable shooting the shot in the paint with no dribble. Get them reps and correct their technique and trajectory. Let the understand what the shot feels like and get them comfortable shooting the shot. The ball usually goes everywhere, don't be surprised if the ball goes over the backboard at first which is fine. They will learn how to get control over it. Have them shoot the ball from straight on. Let them make small numbers 5,6,7 have them shoot free throws and then do another set. Once they are comfortable have them shoot from other angles. Repetition and correction are so important in this stage of developing this shot.
ADD DRIBBLING TO INCREASE RYTHYM
The floater is a very good weapon to have at any position. It's a shot if used right can be a great tool to have when trying to finish against length. Make sure your players know proper technique and are taught where and when to use the shot. Some coaches are dead set against the floater as they think it is a circus shot. I understand why they feel like that, but it is a shot that must be practiced and a player needs to understand the shot and have control over it. The floater is a skill that takes a long time to perfect, but it is a shot that I highly recommend for players in high school and older. Good luck with building this skill, if we can be of help please do't hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are some great examples on YOUTUBE showing the move and breaking it down step by step. Here are some good examples of NBA players using the move.