Pivoting: Front Pivot and Reverse Pivot

When you are stationary on the court, the rules say you can move one foot, so long as the other foot (the "pivot foot") remains planted on the floor. This is called pivoting and all players must know how to pivot. There are two types of pivots, the forward pivot and the reverse pivot (or drop-step).

Pivoting is done on the ball of the foot. You do not want to become flat-footed or have your weight back on your heels. The ball of the pivot foot must be in contact with the floor at all times and must not slide sideways. When you pivot, just actually spin around on the ball of your pivot foot.

If you pick up your pivot foot, you will be called for a traveling violation. When starting your dribble, the ball must leave your hand before you lift your pivot foot. When shooting a jump shot, you may jump and your pivot foot may lift off the floor, but you must release the ball from your hand before you land again on the floor.

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, 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).

You must be able to pivot forward and backward using either foot.

Pivoting drills

1. Start with the left foot as pivot foot. Pivot forward 15 times.
2. Now backward pivot (reverse pivot) 15 times.
3. Switch pivot foot. Forward pivot 15 times.
4. Backward pivot (reverse pivot) 15 times.

Pivoting Pointers

1. You must keep your head up with eyes forward.
2. Have your knees bent a little.
3. Your pivot point must not change.
4. Your pivot foot does not slide.