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Fundamental Basketball Drills:
Fakes, Jabs and Drives



Fundamental basketball drills should be consistently woven into your practices, especially earlier in the pre-season, when the emphasis is on developing and refining basic fundamental skills. These little drills may not seem overly important, but they are - they provide practice to necessary learned skills such as cutting and faking. And keep in mind that skills, no matter how well or how often they are explained, will not transfer to the player without plenty of practice.


Here are a few more practice drills that will develop players' abilities to fake their defender and open up scoring opportunities. Whereas the drills on the Basic Practice Drills for Cutting and Faking page dealt with moves players can use when they don't have the ball, these drills help players when they already have the ball.


Fundamental Basketball Drills:
Crossover

fundamental basketball drills - crossover

How It Works

  • The offensive player makes a hard jab step with his right foot to the right side, a few inches past the front of the defender's foot (the ball does not go on the floor)

  • The defender reacts, stepping back to stay with his man

  • Immediately, the offensive player brings his foot back part way, swinging it across in front of the defender at the same time so that his right foot lands on the other side of his defender

  • The defender is now in an awkward position, with his left foot behind him and his back to the offensive player - a very difficult position to play defense in

  • The offensive player now drives hard behind the defensive player, driving to the hoop.

  • Note: It is important here that the offensive player protects the ball and doesn't swing it across the front of the defensive player as he makes his move. The offensive player must also be careful not to travel - the pivot foot needs to remain fixed during the crossover


Fundamental Basketball Drills:
Rocker Step

The rocker step is a quick move that tricks the defender into thinking the offensive player tried to drive but gave up and pulled back


fundamental basketball drills - rocker


How It Works

  • The offensive player makes a hard jab step to the right side a few inches past the front of the defender's foot (the ball does not go on the floor)

  • The defender reacts, stepping back to stay with his man

  • The offensive player steps back into his original position, but remains low and keeps his weight on the left foot with his right foot slightly ahead

  • As the defender brings his back foot forward to return to defensive stance again, he will be momentarily off balance - all his weight on one leg with his momentum moving forward

  • At this moment, the offensive player breaks hard to the hoop to score - the defender isn't able to adjust quickly enough (he is standing on only one foot) and with a burst of quickness the offensive player should be able to flash past the defender and have a clear lane to the hoop


Fundamental Basketball Drills:
Shot Fake and Drive

How It Works


  • The offensive player squares to the hoop, brings the ball up, head up, and shoulders up, all as if he is about to shoot the ball. The fake needs to be realistic - quick, to force the reaction from the defender - and when the offensive player fakes the shot, he needs to bend his knees, as he would in an actual shot, but here it will help to drop his center of gravity and prepare him to drive

  • The defender reacts, stepping in or standing out of his defensive stance in order to put a hand in the face of the shooter

  • As soon as the defender steps forward or straightens, he will be momentarily off balance - the higher a player stands, the worse his balance and mobility

  • As soon as this happens, the offensive player drives quickly past the defender to the hoop to score - the defender isn't able to adjust quickly enough (center of gravity too high or too far forward) and with a burst of quickness the offensive player should be able to flash past the defender and have a clear lane to the hoop


Fundamental Basketball Drills:
Fake and Shoot

How It Works

  • This is essentially the same as the rocker step above, except that the offensive player won't drive all the way to the hoop; instead, he'll dribble once to get clear of his defensive man and then pull up to take a jumper

  • The offensive player makes a hard jab step to the right side of the defender (the ball does not go on the floor)

  • The defender reacts, stepping back to stay with his man

  • The offensive player steps back into his original position, but remains low and keeps his weight on the left foot with his right foot slightly ahead

  • As the defender brings his back foot forward to return to defensive stance again, he will be momentarily off balance - all his weight on one leg with his momentum moving forward

  • As soon as the defender starts to move forward, the offensive player takes one quick dribble to the right, staying close to the defender as he passes him, and then pulls up for a jump shot


This version of the rocker step works well when the lane to the hoop is packed with players and the offensive player doesn't have a drive. But the offensive player must be sure to get past the defender - if he pulls up to the side of the defender, the defender can still block him. But if he has past him, to attempt a block the defender will usually be forced to foul, coming over the top of the offensive player.



Fundamental Basketball Drills:
A Few Final Words

Start off with cones in place of defensive players, or chairs - I actually prefer to put a chair out, since it gives the players a "leg" to fake at. Once they are comfortable making the moves against cones or chairs, switch in some defense. Eventually, have them performing the drills under game situations - good fakes, quick drives and shots, and always finish with a basket.

Always practice these fundamental basketball drills on both sides of the court, to develop players' abilities on all areas of the court.

Later, after you feel they are proficient with these skills, use five minutes or so of practice for players to play controlled one-on-one:

  • have them line up single file at the top of the key.
  • first person in line is defense, second is offense
  • these two players play one-on-one, using any of the moves taught (enforce that they must use the moves taught; otherwise you'll have a free-for-all)
  • once they're done, the offensive player becomes defense and the next player in line becomes offense.

These are called fundamental basketball drills for a reason - they focus on very basic offensive moves. But the basic moves are always more effective and more consistent than the more complex moves. Be sure your players are proficient in these skills.



More Fundamental Basketball Drills here


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"Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance."
- Samuel Johnson








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