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How to Quickly Improve Your Players Balance, Footwork, and Overall Basketball Skills

If you're not using this drill, you should start right away...

You might find this hard to believe, but if done properly, the Jump Stop Drill can make a huge difference in your players performance, both young and old.

This is an absolutely critical drill to player development. My old high school coach (who is a now a very successful college coach) made us do a variation of the jump stop drill every single day.

The drill will lower the number of times your players travel, improve their balance, improve their confidence, and improve their ability to pivot and create space.

I personally attest to this drill improving my basketball ability more than any other drill.

It's amazingly simple, yet very important and effective.

Here are the drill instructions and tricks to make it work:


Jump Stop Drill

Drill Purpose

This is a very important drill that all coaches should use. It will improve your players balance, reduce travels, improve pivoting skills to create space, and improve confidence.


Instructions
  1. Line your players up on the baseline. If you have more than 10 players or a small court, you'll need to divide them into two groups because they won't have enough space.

  2. Have each player spread out with about 5 feet between them, so they have enough room for pivoting.

  3. When you blow the whistle, all players should start running at 3/4 speed.

  4. At various intervals, blow the whistle and yell out their pivot instructions. Your choices are: front pivot left foot, front pivot right foot, back pivot left foot, back pivot right foot.

    When the whistle blows, the sequence for the player consists of: jump stop (both feet should hit the floor at the same time), pause for a second, do a full 180 degree pivot, pause for a second, do a full pivot bask to starting position, and stay in triple threat position until whistle blows again.

  5. Watch every player to make sure they did the jump stop and pivot properly. If anyone traveled or if they're goofing off, make them start over again, back at the baseline.

  6. If everyone did it correctly, blow the whistle again. All players should start running.

  7. At various intervals, blow the whistle and yell out their pivot instructions. Your choices are: front pivot left foot, front pivot right foot, back pivot left foot, back pivot right foot.

  8. When all players reach the end of the court, start over again. You can blow the whistle anywhere between 1 and 5 times during their trip down the court.

  9. You should run this drill so players run down the court at least 5 times.

   Jump stops1 (11K)
Points of Emphasis

Continually tell your players...

  • Don't travel!
  • Stay low when pivoting. Keep your knees bent and butt down, in a good triple threat stance.
  • Don't get out of your triple threat stance until you hear the whistle. You always want to stay low, so you can take off quicker.
Motivation / Teaching Tips

Tip #1 - The motivation aspect of this drill is simple. If they do it wrong, they all have to go back to baseline and start over again.

Tip #2 - It's important to always mix things up and keep your players guessing. You should mix up the number of times and locations that you blow the whistle. You might want to let them run all the way down without blowing the whistle once. And next time blow the whistle 5 times.

Tip #3 - Vary the speed that your players run. Start out with half speed, then progress all the way to full speed. Again, mix things up.

Tip #4 - Add a ball. Generally, you should use a ball for this drill and have them dribble while they are running. However, you might want to start without a ball, especially when first teaching younger players how to run this drill. Or if you don't happen to have enough basketball balls, they will still get benefit without it.

Tip #5 - Make sure ALL players pivot properly. Their butt should be down, knees bent, with feet shoulder width or wider. The pivot should be a full 180 degree turn, and then back again. Some players will have trouble with this at first or just do partial pivots. But keep on them to do it right. It's an important skill to master!

Tip #6 - You might want to use this as a combo warm up drill every day. For me, it worked great as the warm up at the beginning of every practice. This saved time because they worked on important skills and warmed up at the same time.

Tip #7 - You really should run this almost everyday, especially if you have players at the high school level or younger. At the minimum, run the drill every other day.

How to Improve and Teach Footwork Skills Properly

As you've probably heard a hundred times, great footwork is arguably the most important skill for players to learn. Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and countless superstar players all have ONE THING in common -- superb footwork. Yet few coaches know how to teach footwork properly.

If you'd like to learn how to teach footwork, we recommend this book by Don Kelbick. It's about post player development but it explains footwork brilliantly. The concepts apply to all positions, not just the post. In our opinion this is something that all coaches should learn and this is something that we highly recommend.






What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...




Comments

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Ed Johnston says:
12/27/2006 at 10:55:44 AM

Great drill for all ages!! I have used over years @ H.S. level and am working with my 6th grade grandson now on footwork and he can certainly benefit from this drill!!

Like
   

Benjamin Fortson says:
12/27/2006 at 2:13:37 PM

This is an awesome drill. I learned a little about the jumpstop in a league that I coached in a few years back, but adding the running and pivots to it is a great idea. Thanks

Like
   

fee says:
12/27/2006 at 6:53:20 PM

Two Thumbs up for this drill! Adding the various running, pivoting, and ball handling was a nice feature. Can't wait to use it for the next practice. Thanks

Like
   

John Sobolewski says:
12/29/2006 at 9:57:26 AM

I have coached at the CYO youth level for over 15 years. I begin every practice with the jump stop drill. To add spice after a jump stop instead of the pivot they get into a shooting position and go through the motion of a junmp shot. Thanks for the confirmation.

Like
   

Ariel Rabe says:
12/31/2006 at 12:13:14 AM

I am now in the thick of things teaching advanced skills to kids who just completed a three-day basketball clinic and volunteer to know and learn more. Great! Great! addition to our drills.

Like
   

john croom says:
1/1/2007 at 7:48:24 AM

Sounds like a great drill for my young boys. We work on jump stops , pivoting and triple threats at all practices. This drill ties it all together. Thanks

Like
   

coach Michele says:
11/30/2007 at 2:56:56 PM

good drill getting kids to learn direction change vs running around in wide circles.

i coach 8+9 yr olds

Like
   

Velma says:
12/10/2007 at 9:59:46 AM

these drills are great. can't wait to try them out. what do you recommend with 8 & 9 year olds when doing drills or better yet when should i practice using half court and or full court. since they will be playing full court during games.

Like
   

Player - Bob Sanders says:
3/18/2008 at 11:19:08 PM

isn''t it consider travel if you jump stop then pivot or there is not a pivot foot when u jump stop?

Like
   

Joe (Co-Founder of Breakthrough Basketball) says:
3/19/2008 at 8:59:10 AM

Hi Bob,

This is a very good question and it has caused some confusion for me in the past. I have heard mixed answers from referees, because I'm not sure they even completely understand the rule.

My interpretation is that if a player is speed dribbling and jumps off of one foot and comes to a jump stop (Try picturing a big over-exaggerated jump stop), then they can not use a pivot.

If a player does NOT jump off of one foot and comes to a jump stop (Try picturing a quick, short jump stop with minimal time in the air), he can use either pivot foot as long as he lands on both feet at the same time.

I have posted the rules for traveling from the the National Federation of State High Schools web-site.

"The traveling rule has not changed. What has changed is the common use of the jump stop as an offensive move. Officials and coaches are having difficulty determining the difference between a legal and illegal move. The key to making this determination properly is first finding the pivot foot. Then, if the player moves a foot or the feet in any direction in excess of prescribed limits while holding the ball, a traveling violation has occurred. The limits follow:

1. A player who catches the ball with both feet on the floor may pivot, using either foot. When one foot is lifted, the other is the pivot foot.

2. A player who catches the ball while moving or dribbling may stop and establish a pivot foot as follows:

a. If both feet are off the floor and the player lands;

(1) Simultaneously on both feet, either foot may be the pivot.
(2) On one foot followed by the other, the first foot to touch is the pivot.
(3) On one foot, the player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both. Neither foot can be a pivot in this case.

b. If one foot is on the floor;

(1) It is the pivot when the other foot touches in a step.
(2) The player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both. Neither foot can be a pivot in this case.

3. After coming to a stop and establishing a pivot foot:
a. The pivot foot may be lifted, but not returned to the floor, before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal;

b. If the player jumps, neither foot may be returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal;

c. The pivot foot may not be lifted, before the ball is released, to start a dribble.

4. After coming to a stop when neither foot can be a pivot:
a. One or both feet may be lifted, but may not be returned to the floor, before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal;
b. Neither foot may be lifted, before the ball is released, to start a dribble."

Like
   

luji says:
7/1/2008 at 6:42:13 AM

these drills and workouts are really good
helps alot with our basketball training
Thanks alot!!

Like
   

luji says:
7/1/2008 at 6:49:19 AM

can you explain to me an example of a game plan for basketball?

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Joe Haefner says:
7/2/2008 at 11:59:13 AM

A game plan would be a way to play against a certain team. Often, coaches have consistent philosphies of how they like to play the game offensively and defensively.

In a game plan, they make slight adjustments according to their opponent. For example, if your opponent is not a threat in the post. A coach may say we do not double in the post this game. The post defenders will play straight up.

Game plans are usually for advanced coaches at the high school, college, and pro levels. Youth coaches shouldn't worry about this stuff. They should just focus on the fundamentals during practice.

Like
   

harold says:
7/3/2008 at 10:28:28 AM

when a player hops of one foot and then lands on both can he jump in the air and shoot before he lands

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
7/3/2008 at 2:31:33 PM

Hi Harold,

From my interpretation of the rule, that would be a legal move.

However, I was informed by Don Kelbick that if you do that same move in the NBA, it is a travel.

Like
   

harold says:
7/23/2008 at 1:31:42 PM

is a pivot just a step

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
7/24/2008 at 8:05:07 AM

Harold,

It is your stationary foot that you can not lift off of the ground. You can rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise on the foot.

Once, you have a pivot foot. You can not switch the pivot foot. For example, if your pivoting (stationary) foot is your right foot, you can not switch to your left as the pivot.

Like
   

mariah skattebo says:
9/1/2008 at 2:06:11 PM

Hi. My name is Mariah Skattebo and 2008 is the first year i have ever played ball. After reading your web site i now know everything i need to know about the sport i want to play. Thank you soo much.
Your truly,
mariah skattebo

Like
   

Jason says:
12/9/2008 at 8:03:43 AM

This drill is knowns as offensive running. Done in our district from k-varsity...

Like
   

I will try it says:
1/7/2009 at 9:29:15 PM

Coaching kids 10-12. They don;t keep score but they have refs. Should be fun
Thanks
Nick

nicholas.marchitelli@dcma.mil

Like
   

hannah says:
3/26/2009 at 12:11:25 PM

who made this website?

Like
   

Willie Green says:
4/4/2009 at 4:53:01 PM

Great drill, learn this drill in high school had forgotten,this one

Like
   

joe says:
7/13/2009 at 10:23:59 PM

With the jump stop just make sure you teach it correctly because if you don't you will be teaching your kids how to travel. Personally I think the jump stop should be learned after the kids have learned to dribble with a good degree of control.

Like
   

Nigel says:
8/20/2009 at 11:03:05 AM

Hi,

I am a head coach of the local club. Can I print out some of your drills and give it to some of our coaches.

They are mostly parrents who havent played basketball before.

Thanks for the great site!!

Cheers
Nigel

Like
   

Jeff Haefner says:
8/21/2009 at 6:03:15 AM

Yes, as long as they are the free drills from this site.

Like
   

Diamond Felder says:
10/28/2009 at 10:24:52 PM

After reading this website i learned everything i needed to,to make the basketball team at Ware County Middle School! The first couple of days of tryouts i wasn't impressed about my skills and work! So when i can home from school that day i looked on google.com and saw your website and went on it.
Thank you for all your help!
Diamond Taylor!

Like
   

Scott Allen says:
11/13/2009 at 9:17:11 AM

Just had my first practice yesterday with 3/4 grade boys. Will definitely try this drill next practice as I noticed a lot of blank stares when I said the word "pivot". This is a tough age level to teach advanced concepts beyond simple zone/man-to-man defense and offense is very challenging. Any tips or drills that might help are appreciated.

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
11/13/2009 at 8:51:03 PM

Hi Scott,

For pivots, explain and show. Then, let them try. It's going to take lots of time. High school seniors will have trouble with this drill if they've never done it before. Let them work out their mistakes. They'll learn slowly, but surely.

Plays and zones might hurt your player's development. Here are some articles you may want to take a look at:

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/blog/index.php/should-youth-coaches-avoid-plays-and-patterned-offenses/

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/defense/age.html

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/coaching/developmental-league.html

Like
   

Scott Allen says:
11/14/2009 at 6:26:17 AM

Joe, Thanks for the reply! I definitely am concentrating on learning fundamentals and "how to play" the game. I was reading some different basketball coaching websites and was going to start the game concepts with, as you also recommend, man-to-man defense and a motion 3-2 offensive set (NO SET PLAYS).
http://www.coachesclipboard.net/MotionOffense.html
Just to get them positioned on the floor. I found another pretty good website that had a lot of good "ground-rules" for the 3-2 set that I'm going to use to try to keep them from getting into "crowd the ball" situations and help everyone understand off-ball concepts.
I do like the idea of having them play 3-on-3 at this age level, definitely would make game learning and teaching much easier, and probably more fun.
Also, I am pretty sure we are playing on full 10' rims....which I didn't think was a bad idea, but now that you pointed it out to me, might not be so good. I will check with the league.
Thanks!!!

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
11/14/2009 at 9:29:04 AM

You're welcome, Scott. You may want to start out with a 5-out so everybody develops ball skills and here is a link that you might find helpful for a youth motion offense: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/offense/motion-offense-youth-basketball.html

Like
   

Nessa S.A. says:
12/7/2009 at 2:36:06 PM

Thanks for having this site up. I've played the game since elementary school up through to university(recreation).
I work with youths from ages 3-11 years old, but mainly with 3-5 year olds. This age is a very difficult age to work with if you do not have patience. The main thing is to be patient with them, create drills on fundamentals with games they've played in mind, i.e. "What time is it Mr. Wolf?". So far they seem to enjoy it. I was wondering if you have any other ideas or resources that I could use to further develop their skills?

Thanks a bunch!

Like
   

Jeff Haefner says:
12/8/2009 at 10:14:46 PM

Nessa,

Here are a few links for you to check out:
http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=210

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=179

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/qa/q1-verybasicyouthdrills.html

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/pr/fun-youth-drills.html

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/coaching/youthbasketball.html

Like
   

Kent says:
1/7/2010 at 9:24:52 PM

I do this drill with my garde 4-6 girls team. As an alternative to what is written above, the girls line up on the baseline without balls and my assitant coach and I each take a ball and walk backwards up the floor in front of the kids as they progress through several jump stops/pivots. As they assume the triple threat position after the stop (or pivot), the coaches each will pass a ball to one of the kids. By doing this the girls concentrate on executing the pivot quickly and being ready with hands as a "target" to catch the ball. Failure to do so could result in a turnover or getting hit with the ball, which then means we do it again.
Love the site!

Like
   

jay says:
2/1/2010 at 2:30:42 PM

i haven''t had much luck teaching 7-8 year old girls to jump stop, to get them to run, dribble and then jump stop is alot, even if they get it in practice, they forget it in games. I think you are better waiting on this for this age group girls, we practice it, but i just tell them to forget it during games because they end up travelling more when they try and pull it off.

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
2/2/2010 at 8:41:27 AM

Hi Jay,

High school coaches have some of those same problems, so don't get frustrated. With 7 & 8 year olds, your goal should be to make it fun while using games to practice skills.

With 7 & 8 year olds, they are in the "Guided Discovery" learning stage and everything needs to be very outcome-based. That means, you give them a goal and have them do it. You let them learn through the struggles. For example, show them how to do the jump stop drill and let them try it. First, try it without a ball. Don't focus on technique. You can start worrying about technique when they are 10 or 11.

This article called "Should We Teach Basketball Skills to Kids Under the Age of 10?" will also help with your age group: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/blog/index.php/should-we-teach-basketball-skills-to-kids-under-the-age-of-10/

Like
   

Bill says:
3/2/2010 at 6:37:56 PM

The rule is that if you end your dribble with one foot on the ground, then leap to a jump stop, you can't pivot. But, if you're still dribbling with one foot on the ground, and then catch and jump stop at the same time, you can pivot off either foot, even step and leave your pivot foot to shoot or pass. This is my interpretation, I'm waiting to find someone to confirm this, it's in the rule books and i can teach it as I describe it, but if the refs whistle it for traveling, then i'm hurting my boys nonetheless.

Like
   

Jill Bartlett says:
3/15/2010 at 4:15:11 PM

This is great! I have been little league coach for quite a few years with almost no skills myself. When I finally sat down and thought about some of my kids that are now in High School talk about when I was their coach, I had to think did I really do as much as they put into a game. I found this website and I have improved alot more on building their skill level. I hope some day the kids I now coach can say they really owe some of their skills to what I taught them. I helped my daughter 8 years ago and watched my son improve his last year of ball handling through discussing what I have read here. My son wants to be an official for NBA, which this has also helped him. Thank you very much! From Neah Bay WA.

Like
   

Pari says:
5/24/2010 at 8:01:17 PM

Is it possible to show the drills on DVD?

Thank you

Like
   

Rox says:
11/30/2010 at 5:50:47 AM

I have learned the Chest Pass, the Bounce Pass, the Overhead pass and also I have learned how to do the Javelin pass and the bounce and stop pass. I play Basketball every thursday and wednesday days and evenings

Like
   

Craig says:
12/9/2010 at 12:49:54 PM

I've been having the boys (6th and 7th graders) do this drill every week. (We meet weekly for practice for one hour). They were complaining that they are getting tired of doing it (four or five practices so far). Some of the sixth graders are still having a hard time figuring out which direction and foot to use. Recommendations? Do you have any "competitive methods" that feature pivoting?

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
12/10/2010 at 9:34:07 AM

Craig,

You could work on the different pivots in this drill: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/drills/pivotshot.html

Just move the chair in real close.

Here are some competitive drills:

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/drills/pivot21.html

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/drills/top1on1.html

http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/drills/wing1on1.html

Like
   

Debbie Toon says:
10/27/2011 at 2:54:38 PM

I wish I had found this site earlier. As a new coach it has been so beneficial. Thanks a lot!

Like
   

Patch says:
11/17/2011 at 12:11:22 AM

Hi, I am an assistant coach for 5, 6 & 7 year olds.
I am taking heat from my wife and the other coach for wanting to teach kids a basic jump step and jab step for warm ups. Do you think that this is too early? 0f course this is not in place of Passing, Dribbling, Shooting and Defense.

Like
   

Joe Haefner says:
11/21/2011 at 6:21:16 PM

Hi Patch,

I might even argue that jump stops are more important that passing, dribbling, shooting, and defense at this age. Players need to learn how to control their bodies.

I actually don't like to have players in basketball that early, but that's just my opinion.

This article explains why: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/blog/index.php/should-we-teach-basketball-skills-to-kids-under-the-age-of-10/

Like
   

Cezar says:
11/30/2011 at 11:36:28 PM

Thanks for the tips, I will teach my students grade 3, 8 years old in China.

Like
   

Mark says:
3/6/2013 at 9:20:24 PM

When I say right front pivot does that mean I am pivoting with right foot and my left leg is the one moving in air 180 degrees

Like
   

Steve Eustis says:
11/5/2013 at 9:12:34 PM

I am a new head coach and have been enjoying the breath of material on this site. I am working with 4/5/6 grade girls. I like the concept of this drill, but was looking for a good definition of the 4 pivots you mention here and couldn't find them. It is likely "obvious" but I wanted to be sure I had things correct before I tried the drill.

Thanks!

Like
   

Ken Sartini says:
11/6/2013 at 8:09:41 AM

Steve -

I did something similar to this during my summer camps. shooting camp where he did more than just shooting.

I only used 2 of the 4... I worked with some young kids and players that really had a hard time with some of the basics... so I kept mine simpler.

We did did this along with our dribbling drills...(mixing the dribbles up) jump stop / front pivot into a triple threat / pass fake and shot fake,

Then we did same thing with the back pivot. I suppose I should have had them change pivot feet but I didn't want to confuse them. One of the little guys asked me why we were doing the back pivot, my reply was ... You already know the front pivot right? He said yes, well, I am teaching you another move.

Like
   

Julia says:
10/27/2014 at 5:53:19 PM

I think Ken is right on his post

Like
   

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