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Basketball Fundamental Drills:
Faking and Cutting



These basketball fundamental drills focus on improving basketball skills essential to playing the game - cutting and faking. Executing a good fake and cut is an art - though often it can be believed to be a lost art when watching some NBA games. But the ability to get your defensive man moving in one direction while you move in the other is essential for any offensive player that wants to feel the ball in his hands.


Running practice drills for faking and cutting is really a matter of practicing several types of cuts, so that when players are in game situations they are comfortable using whichever cut is open to them. The main thing for players to remember is that the fake needs to be sincere - i.e., the defensive player truly needs to think the offensive player is moving in the direction he fakes - and the cut needs to be as quick as possible.

Most fakes require a good jab step to set up the defender, so before we look at practice drills we should take a look at how to throw a good jab step.


Executing an Effective Jab Step

To make an effective jab step, the offensive player must:

  • always jab directly at the defender's front foot - not out to the side - to force the defender to step back or at least straighten a bit out of his defensive stance (so he'll be off balance and not be able to react to the cut)

  • always stay low - keep the center of gravity low to maintain balance

  • make a short, quick jab step - this is the fake, so it needs to look like he really means to go in this direction, but he doesn't want to pull his own centre of gravity too far out, since that will make it difficult for him to switch direction quickly. The second step needs to be much longer - long enough to get him past the defender

  • stay close to the defender as he is passing him - make it difficult for the defender to recover

  • after receiving a pass, always protect the ball by keeping his body between the ball and the defender


And now some practice drills that will work on good jab steps, good fakes, and good cuts, so your players can get to the ball and score.



Basketball Fundamental Drills: Jab right, Cut Left

  • The offensive player makes a hard jab step to the right of the defensive player, as if intending to cut behind him

  • As the defensive player steps back to compensate for the movement, the offensive player quickly crosses over in front of the defensive player, cutting hard to the right, down the line between the defensive player and the ball

  • Scoring Option: The offensive player receives the pass and continues the drive to the hoop

  • This should also be practiced on the other side of the court - jab left, cut right.
basketball fundamental drills - jrcl



Basketball Fundamental Drills: Back Door

  • The offensive player makes a hard jab step to the ball, as if intending to flash straight to the ball

  • As the defensive player steps forward to block the cut to the ball, the offensive player changes direction and cuts behind the defensive player to the hoop

  • Scoring Option: The offensive player receives the pass and finishes the drive to the hoop
basketball fundamental drills - bc


Basketball Fundamental Drills: The V Cut

  • The offensive player makes a lazy jab step toward the basket, as if intending to cut down to the hoop

  • As the defender slowly steps back to pick him up, the offensive player cuts hard to the ball

  • Scoring Option #1: The offensive player receives the pass, immediately squares to the hoop and shoots a jumper

  • Scoring Option #2: The offensive player receives the pass, immediately squares to the hoop and fakes a jump shot - as the defender rushes to block the shot, the offensive player drives past him and to the hoop
basketball fundamental drills - vc


Basketball Fundamental Drills: The Flash Cut

  • From the low post block, the offensive player makes a lazy jab step down to the base line (alternatively, since this cut is usually done by a post player, the offensive player can simply make contact with his defender and push against him, careful to keep his balance)

  • Then the player flashes diagonally across the key to the opposite high post, toward the ball

  • Scoring Option #1: The offensive player receives the pass, immediately squares to the hoop and shoots a jumper

  • Scoring Option #2: The offensive player receives the pass, immediately squares to the hoop and fakes a jump shot - as the defender rushes to block the shot, the offensive player drives past him and to the hoop
basketball fundamental drills - fc


Teaching These Basketball Fundamental Drills

At first, use a cone in place of the defensive player, running the drill slowly and focusing on good balance and proper movement. As the players feel more comfortable with the movements, have them speed them up until they are executing them at game speed.

Once your players appear comfortable with the movements, use defensive players. Have the offensive players use quick jab steps and hard cuts to get the ball, and then let them play one on one. Be sure to have your defensive players play their marks honestly - hard defense and no cheating.


It is good practice for your players to use some sort of fake to set up every move - whether it's a straight cut to the ball, a drive to the hoop, coming off a screen, or moving in for a rebound. A quick jab step or ball fake, or head fake or look-away will more often than not keep the defense off balance. Realize that defensive players will react out of instinct if the fake is a good one, and this will open up opportunities for your players.

Most importantly, enforce that these basketball fundamental drills are performed under game situations - good fakes, quick cuts, always finish the drive with a basket. If players walk through the drill, nothing will transfer to the game; if they practice like they mean it, they'll become much more effective players and you'll have a much stronger team.



More Basketball Fundamental Drills here


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"Basketball is like photography, if you don't focus, all you have is the negative."
- Dan Frisby








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