November 2, 2009


Footwork is more than jump stops, pivots and post moves. Footwork involves the proper weight distribution to maintain balance and increase acceleration.

Players who possess great footwork use their foot placement and weight distribution to enhance their moves. Footwork is the economy of motion and is enhanced by anticipation.

A player’s footwork either enhances or detracts from his moves. It is more than the actual steps, but how the player uses each step. Proper foot placement and weight distribution create more effective moves and eliminate extra steps or inefficient movements which result from a subtle lack of balance or lack of acceleration when the foot placement or weight distribution is off.


    • Quick Stop (in the rule book, this is called a “jump stop” too, but to differentiate the two stops, we refer to one as a “quick stop” and one as a “jump stop,” although to call this a “jump stop” is also correct): A two-foot stop on a one-count, either when receiving a pass or off the dribble, with feet shoulder width, knees bent and butt down to stop under control. On the quick stop, the player does not jump into the air, but hops off one foot and lands on two feet. The hop is small, quick and controlled. Land like a ninja, without a sound. The player picks up the ball or receives the pass with both feet in the air and lands on two feet simultaneously. He can pivot on either foot.

    • Jump Stop: Similar to a quick stop, except the player stops the dribble or receives the pass with one foot on the ground, hops off the foot and lands on two feet simultaneously. The player does not have a pivot foot in this instance. The difference is when the dribble stops or when the catch occurs.

    • 1-2-Step: A quick step-step stop off the catch or the dribble. The first step becomes the pivot foot. Sit the hips back and down; flex the ankle, knee and hip to diffuse the force over a larger area and reduce the impact on any one joint. Stop with the shooting foot slightly forward in a heel-toe relationship (the shooting foot’s heel even with the toes of the other foot). When a right-handed player stops right-left, he stubs his left foot rather than take a full step to keep his right foot forward.

    • Stride Stop: A step-step stop, except the player takes a full stride with the second step, as opposed to stopping this step in a parallel stance or heel-toe position, like the 1-2-step. The player stops with a staggered stance. The pivot foot is the first foot to step in the step-step.

Pivot Foot

In basketball, you cannot run without bouncing the ball. However, you can pivot. A pivot foot is the foot that remains planted on the ground while the other foot moves to change body position or direction to protect the ball or find a more offensive position.

For young players, the concept is difficult. However, the pivot foot is essential to offensive execution. Too many times, when the defense pressures a young player, he twists and turns with two feet firmly planted. Or, worse, he moves both feet. The pivot foot is an offensive player’s tool to combat pressure.

  • The pivot foot stays on the floor while the lead foot (free foot) moves.
  • Keep 60-70% of one’s weight on the pivot foot. Stay low and keep head level as you pivot.
  • There are two basic pivots: front pivot and reverse pivot.
    1. Reverse pivot: The player pivots opposite the direction he is facing (leads with his heel).

    1. Front pivot: The player pivots in the direction he is facing (leads with his toe).

  • When establishing a pivot, players use two methods: a permanent pivot foot or the inside pivot foot.
    1. Permanent pivot foot: the player pivots with the same foot every time; a right-handed player uses his left foot as his pivot foot, regardless of the situation.
    2. Inside pivot foot: The player pivots on the foot closest to the mid-line of the court (the line running from basket to basket); players use both feet, which creates consistent body movement on each side of the court.


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