Proper footwork promotes balance, quickness, and readiness to react on the court. Proper footwork will improve a player’s performance both offensively and defensively. The following list of teaching points that should be emphasized at every practice.
- Proper balance.
- Position: feet shoulder-width apart and slightly staggered.
- Bend the knees: weight in center of body.
- Position your center of gravity low to the ground.
- Keep your head up: see the court!
- Be ready to move.
- 'Athletic Position'
Footwork Line Drills
- Players form lines on baseline or sideline, two players deep.
- Use cones or mark the court for starting/stopping spots with a minimum of 3 spots.
- There is no basketball necessary: players can dribble and hold and imaginary basketball.
- Players will start/stop on voice command or whistle.
- Players should stop at each spot with jump stop and land in triple threat position.
- Players should pause between stops/starts so coaches can check for proper balance.
- The second player in line starts as the preceding player leaves the first spot.
Rotate the following footwork line drills:
- Jump Stop/Triple Threat
- Jump Stop/Triple Threat/Right Front Pivot
- Jump Stop/Triple Threat/Left Front Pivot
- Jump Stop/Triple Threat/Right Reverse Pivot
- Jump Stop/Triple Threat/Left Reverse Pivot
The coach should have each player raise their hand in the air that coincides with the desired pivot direction. This will help each player pivot in the correct direction.
Add basketballs after your players understand the above concepts. Allow them to practice the above skills after picking up their dribble and receiving passes.
- Players should spread out in your practice area.
- There is no basketball necessary.
- Players start in triple threat position, protecting an imaginary basketball.
- The coach should instruct players to establish a pivot foot.
- Practice half-turns and front/reverse pivots.
- Repeat with opposite foot established as the pivot.
Add basketballs and defenders after your players understand the above concepts. Allow them to practice the above skills after picking up their dribble and receiving passes.
Pivoting with a Defender Drill
The purpose of this drill is to teach players to evaluate shooting, passing, or dribbling options before automatically dribbling the ball upon receiving a pass.
- Players should form two lines on the baseline: offensive and defensive.
- Offensive player starts near the block area and takes two to three steps toward middle of lane area to set up his or her defender before a strong V-cut to the wing area to receive a pass.
- Defensive player allows offensive player to receive the pass.
- Offensive player receives the pass and “squares up” to the basket in a triple threat position.
- Offensive player should pivot against soft defense and keep the basketball away from the defensive player; do not allow dribbling.
- Offensive player should hold the ball no longer than four seconds (to teach the five-second violation).
- Offensive player passes the basketball back to the coach when instructed.
- Players return to the back of the lines and rotate offensive/defensive positions.
If your team has two coaches, work two players on each side of the basketball goal. This allows your team more repetitions.