Basketball: Protect the Ball Pivot Drill

Basketball: Protect the Ball Pivot Drill

Steve Marks

Once players learn to use the pivot to protect the ball, they'll gain extra time and space to see the floor and make better passes. The pivot, combined with a movement of the ball behind whatever hip is away from the defender, is an excellent way to protect the ball while allowing good court vision.

Be sure that players understand that once the pivot foot is established and the other foot is moving, the pivot foot cannot change. Instruct players to hold the ball with both hands, firmly at the hip.

Simple Drill Progression
Here's a simple drill that teaches pivot technique. First, have a player pivot several times while holding the ball firmly at the hip.

Next, add a defender. The defender attempts to touch the ball without contacting the ballhandler. The ballhandler pivots to protect the ball from the defender, keeping eyes up to survey the court.

Finally, add a second defender, so that protecting the ball becomes a greater challenge. Defenders will find that they need to give the ballhandler some room to avoid a foul, which is exactly why the pivot can be so effective.

Repeat the drill until every player has had a chance. Players will see that pivoting is a great way to keep the ball from being stolen, create space to execute a better pass, and potentially draw a foul.

Reference: Coaching Tip of the Month With Small Ball: "Lesson on Pivoting: Protect the Ball - Two Partners on Defense," Canada Basketball.

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