A good ball fake can get a player an easy basket or an open pass. It can shift the opponent’s defense and make gaps for the offense. The ball fake is key to making things happen on the basketball court. Whether it’s a shot fake, a pass fake or drive fake, this simple skill works like magic against opponents and can make a huge difference in a player’s game and a team’s success.
What is a Ball Fake?
A ball fake is when the offensive player moves the ball in one direction, without letting go of the ball, to fake out or distract their opponent and gain an advantage. A player can use a shot, pass or drive fake to create space or make the defender move, so they can score or continue with an offensive move with the ball, such as a pass or a drive.
A player should catch the ball in triple-threat position. This means that when they receive the ball they are ready to shoot, pass or dribble the basketball, or be in the position to fake any of these moves. A player in triple-threat position should have their knees bent, their center of gravity low, and one foot slightly ahead of the other. The player should catch the ball in front of their body, not far from their hip, and be ready to move.
Look at the Hoop
The first thing a player should do after they catch the ball in triple-threat is to look at the basket. If they are open for a good shot, they should take it. This doesn’t mean they should shoot every time they catch the ball, only that when they are running the offense, they should look toward the basket and be ready to shoot. And when they do this they will be able to see anyone open near the basket.
With a shot fake a player should stay low and imitate a shot. Look at the rim and sell the shot, but don’t over-extend your body or it will be difficult to make the next move. When the defender goes up with the shot fake it’s the perfect time to pass the ball or drive to the hoop.
For a pass fake, a player keeps their center of gravity low and then pretends that they are going to pass the ball to their teammate. With a good fake, the defense will shift and the player will be open to pass the ball in a different direction, drive to the basket, or shoot. And with quick passes and good ball fakes players can quickly break down most zone defenses and score.
Again a player should be in triple-threat and while staying low, jab their front foot in the direction they are pretending to go. This is generally toward the hoop, but a jab step can be a part of the pass fake as well. The jab should be a short, strong, and quick move. The defense should back up in fear of a drive to the basket. With a strong jab or drive fake, players can gain space and open themselves up for a quick shot or an easy pass.
Whether you are a player or a coach, don’t forget about ball fakes. This simple skill is worth using and perfecting to improve your game and help your team succeed.