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Basketball is played on the fingertips and the balls of your feet. Everything you do involves correct footwork. Some players are naturally quicker than others. But a player's effective quickness can be greatly enhanced if he/she uses proper footwork. A naturally quick player who lacks good footwork skills can be beaten (or contained) by a player with sound footwork fundamentals.
In a forward pivot, the player pivots forward, while in a reverse pivot, the player pivots backward. For example, let's say the left foot is the pivot foot (usually the case for a right-handed player). Here, a forward pivot would have the player pivoting (spinning), or stepping forward in a counterclockwise motion (if looking down from above). A reverse pivot would have the player pivoting, or stepping backwards (drop-stepping) in a clockwise motion. Just the opposite would be the case if the right foot were the pivot foot.
Which foot should be my pivot foot? Well, it could be either depending on the game situation. Outside, perimeter players most often will use their non-dominant foot as the pivot foot when facing the basket. For example, a right-handed player facing the basket will most often plant the left foot as the pivot foot and make a jab step with his/her right foot (see Perimeter Moves), and just the opposite would be the case for the left-handed player. Coaches vary on this, but we teach our perimeter players that if they are right-handed, the left foot should be the pivot foot, and lefties should use the right foot as the pivot foot. We believe this is simple and the most natural, athletic way for most players. Now a low-post player who has his/her back to the basket is often wise to receive the ball with both feet planted (as after a jump stop). This allows the player the option of selecting either foot for pivoting, depending on where the defender is located (for either a drop-step to baseline or a move to the lane -- see Post Moves).
You must be able to pivot forward and backward using either foot.
There is confusion over the rules and what is legal and what constitutes a traveling violation. My interpretation is this... it depends on whether you already have possession of the ball or not (as in receiving a pass), and whether or not you have already used up the one-step that you are entitled to. When receiving a pass with a jump-stop, you can pivot after the jump-stop and either foot can become the pivot foot. This is especially helpful for post players. A perimeter player can catch the ball with a jump-stop, and the pivot into triple-threat position if necessary and use the non-pivot foot for executing jab-step fakes or a drive step.
Now let's take a player who already has possession of the ball on the outside. He/she makes a dribble move into the lane, picks up the dribble, takes one step, and then lands a two-footed jump-stop. So far, so good. But after landing the jump-stop, he/she cannot move either foot and has no pivot foot since the one step was already used up prior to the jump-stop. He/she could jump upward, but must either shoot or pass the ball before either foot touches the floor again.The following is taken from the National Federation of State High Schools web-site in regard to this rule.
"The traveling rule has not changed. What has changed is the common use of the jump stop as an offensive move. Officials and coaches are having difficulty determining the difference between a legal and illegal move. The key to making this determination properly is first finding the pivot foot. Then, if the player moves a foot or the feet in any direction in excess of prescribed limits while holding the ball, a traveling violation has occurred. The limits follow:
1. A player who catches the ball with both feet on the floor may pivot, using either foot. When one foot is lifted, the other is the pivot foot.2. A player who catches the ball while moving or dribbling may stop and establish a pivot foot as follows:
a. If both feet are off the floor and the player lands;
(1) Simultaneously on both feet, either foot may be the pivot.
(2) On one foot followed by the other, the first foot to touch is the pivot.
(3) On one foot, the player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both. Neither foot can be a pivot in this case.
b. If one foot is on the floor;
(1) It is the pivot when the other foot touches in a step.
(2) The player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both. Neither foot can be a pivot in this case.
3. After coming to a stop and establishing a pivot foot:
a. The pivot foot may be lifted, but not returned to the floor, before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal;
b. If the player jumps, neither foot may be returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal;
c. The pivot foot may not be lifted, before the ball is released, to start a dribble.
4. After coming to a stop when neither foot can be a pivot:
a. One or both feet may be lifted, but may not be returned to the floor, before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal;
b. Neither foot may be lifted, before the ball is released, to start a dribble."
I have tried to combine several of these moves into one drill. See Footwork Drill.
Practice jumping every day for 5-10 minutes:
Two-footed jump. Get under the basket and jump straight up and see how high you can get on the backboard or net. Bend at the knees and waist, weight forward a little on the balls of the feet. Lower your hands alongside the outside of your knees. Then spring upward with simultaneous force from not only the thigh muscles, but you also can get a lot of lift from springing off with your feet and ankles... pushing off the tips of your toes (you can't jump flat-footed!). At the same time your legs are working, your hands and arms are swinging up as high as possible... the upward force of the arms swinging may provide more lift, and you need to get them stretched as high as possible to get that rebound (or dunk). Do this jumping drill a number of times, until your legs get tired, and then try it again later.
One-footed jump. You can also do a jumping drill where you run in from the wing at a 45 degree angle and leap as high as you can and touch the backboard (or net). When you jump, just like doing a right-handed lay-up, you plant your left foot and go up with the right knee, pushing off the left toes. Be sure to go vertically, and not lose a lot of your elevation by going forward.
Self-Improvement Basketball Drills: Post and Guard Play
with Greg McDermott, Iowa State University Head Coach.
Coach McDermott shares the sound philosophies and drills that have put McDermott-coached teams ‘on the radar' in the world of college basketball. A believer in balance, McDermott feels that the game is played from the waist down. The jump stop is completely broken down and is a building block of good players. Good balance comes from proper pivoting and athletic stance. Teaching players to get open on the block requires technique footwork and fundamental movements... This DVD will provide you with philosophy, teaching points and drills to develop your own winning tradition... (more info)
The Offensive and Defensive Transition Game
with Manny Bloom, Five-Star Basketball Coach/Instructor, Boca Raton HS (FL) Head Coach.
Transition is a major part of the game of basketball today. The team that can master the transition game has a decided advantage. The five benefits of transition offense are looking ahead, pushing the ball, attacking the basket, reading the defense and knowing your options. The outlet and bust out dribble are keys to starting the quick transition game. Bloom teaches his players to get from 3-point line to 3-point line in two dribbles. The three-man drill gets big men to run the floor as the guard throws the ball ahead. Other drills include drive and kick, jump stop drill, pick and roll, pick and pop and the circle drill. Defensive transition is the cornerstone to solid defense. Keys include seeing the ball, getting below the ball, stop point of attack and avoid the reach or jump. Bloom demonstrates several drills to set up defensively. Excellent teaching throughout... (more info)