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

Home > Coaching > Drills > Footwork > Jump Stop and Pivot Drill
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.

Jump stops1 (11K)
  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.

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 video by Don Kelbick called the Attack & Counter Skill Development System. It's about player development but it explains footwork brilliantly. The concepts apply to all positions. In our opinion this is something that all coaches should learn and this is something that we highly recommend.

Youth Ball Handling and Footwork App

Another great resource for developing footwork and ball handling is our Progressive Ball Handling and Footwork App.

Some of the features of the program include:
  • Logically designed workouts to build skills in a progressive system.
  • Choose from 24 skill levels grouped into 5 different age groups.
  • Workouts designed for every age group and skill level.
  • Easy to use step-by step workouts.
  • Follow along videos -- almost like having a trainer with you.
  • Track your progress and record scores on your phone, tablet or computer.
  • Over 200 ballhandling and footwork drills.
  • Detailed instructions, emphasis, and video for every drill.

Image: download free ebook with 72 of our favorite drills

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


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

ISRAEL says:
7/5/2018 at 5:47:36 AM

I have learnt a lot by studying here


Alday says:
12/20/2016 at 8:47:04 AM

Don't forget to have a little scrimmage between players, it helps them to become more aggressive and they learn how to put those drills in action to see if they need more work or not before a real game.


ram says:
7/7/2016 at 12:49:00 PM

I am 19 years old.I am practising basketball for almost 2 years but I am unable to think in the game especially while I am dribbling. Can anybody help me ? I desperately need some.

  1 reply  

Jeff says:
7/12/2016 at 6:07:10 PM

Have you asked your coach? He/she would probably be the best person to help since they know your offense, strengths, etc.


laurel joseph says:
6/10/2015 at 6:37:36 PM

I think this artical helps me to learn how to play basketball


Christopher Corbett says:
4/7/2015 at 4:43:24 PM

This drill needs to be done on a very regular basis. The truth is that we don't use this type of footwork on a regular basis. You don't walk into your kitchen, decide you want some juice and jump stop, reverse pivot, then open the fridge door. Refresh your memory.


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

I think Ken is right on his post


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.


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.



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


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.


Show More

Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
One minus zero is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank