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Basketball Basics: Faking and Moving Without the Ball

Apr 25, 2008
Two important skills in basketball are faking and moving without the ball. Both should be practiced well.


In order to be an offensive threat you must be able to elude your guard whether you have the ball or not. A fake is an act designed to throw your guard off balance, so you can drive past him or free yourself for a shot. Do this by faking with your head, eyes, feet, shoulders, and body.

The fake drive-and-shot is designed to throw the defensive player off balance and force him back to make room for the shot. Feint a dribble around the guard, using the front foot to force him back.

The offensive player then comes up to position for the shot. Any feint will produce some recoiling action on the guard's part. The fake shot-and-drive is a maneuver in which the player with the ball fakes a shot at the basket to draw the guard close to him so he can dribble around him.

When you are faking, keep the ball protected and in position for the dribble. The first stride should be a long one with the right foot if going right, placing the ball well out in front while driving by the guard.

A double fake is executed by faking a drive with a deep step to the right, causing the guard to drop back a little. The offensive man then moves his front foot a bit back and poises for a set shot.

As the guard comes up on his toes to stop the shot, the offensive man lowers his body and drives off his front foot, placing the ball well out ahead and drives in for the goal. To go to the right side, the deep step is faked to the left with the right foot. The shot is faked, then comes the drive to the right. A left-handed player will use his left foot as the forward foot and follow the same technique as above.

In starting a fake, a player never knows whether it will be a single or a double fake. This will depend on the action of the guard. Sometimes a guard commits himself on the first fake. If he is not fooled on the first fake, then try the double fake.

A common fault of many players executing feints is that they do not allow enough time for the defensive player to "fall for" the deception. Shooting or driving too soon simply means that the deception is wasted.

Moving without the ball

Players often do not know how to act offensively when they do not have the ball. In my coaching experience I have found this to be especially true of young players. Too frequently they do nothing. They stand around watching the man with the ball, waving their arms for a pass even though he is closely guarded. The easiest man to guard is the player who stands around and moves slowly and aimlessly. Basketball is a team game and all five players must work as a unit to get the best results.

A player without the ball can do the following:

1. Move at all times to prevent the defense from double- teaming a teammate.

2. Keep the middle of the court open to permit plays down the middle.

3. Set up a screen for teammates.

4. Be alert to cut in for a possible play.

Situations change with every pass of the ball. Watch for weaknesses in the defense so you may take advantage of them.

It is important to know what you intend to do. Indiscriminate running will only tire you out. Never run straight or in circles. An opponent can easily guard you. Deception and change of pace will help you elude your guard.

Learn to fake and also to move without the ball, and you will become a much more valuable player for your team.
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