One incredibly effective move, used by scoring aficionados from Paul Pierce to Kobe Bryant, is the pump fake. A good pump fake will not

Shooting Drills
Pump Slide and Shoot

only free you up from the defense when used correctly, but even just having it in your arsenal will keep the defense wary.

But executing the pump fake properly is just the first step, and taking advantage of the space and time you’ve just created for yourself is just as important. There are two main moves I like to teach my players to use when a defender bits on the pump fake – one will get you an open three, and one will get you closer to the basket.

Pump and Slide

This is a very smooth move, where we use the dribble to separate ourselves from the defender by moving east west, preserving our ability to take the three point shot. It’s an awkward movement, dribbling straight down just to step to one side, but once your players have gotten used to it, they’ll find it works almost like a rhythm dribble.

Pump to Mid Range

Basketball Conditioning
Pump to Midrange Shot

This is the move you’ll see more commonly among players; getting the defender off of their feet, and taking a strong dribble towards the rim. If the lane is there, I would never discourage a player from going all the way to the hoop, but the mid ranger will often be wide open in such a situation.

Coaching Tips

  • If you pump fake and still have your dribble alive – use it. The most difficult shot in basketball is the one that you just pumpfaked, so either find a different shot to take or pass the ball off to a teammate.
  • Too simulate a game situation, try facing away from the rim and pivoting forward and then executing the move. Or, try spinning the ball out in front of you to simulate a pass!

If you enjoyed this post, check out my other post on individual improvement drills!