This drill is a great way to teach players how to get free from a strong physical defender.


Players form a line on the left wing with the coach on the right wing. The first player in line steps out into the paint to play defense. The second player in line starts with a ball.

Player 1 sprints to the middle of the paint, fakes a cut to the top of the arc and goes backdoor.


  1. The first player in line makes a pass to the coach on the opposite wing.
  2. The player then sprints to the middle of the paint. As they approach the defender in the middle of the paint, they will ‘step-off’, as if they are going to cut out to the top of the arc.
  3. Instead, they will plant the high foot and cut back backdoor to receive the pass and finish at the hoop.

Coaching Tips:

  • As the player executes the fake towards the top of the arc, it is crucial that they convincingly sell the move. This includes showing their hand high and making a definitive step to mislead the defender.
  • Teach players the importance of footwork in this drill. The speed and decisiveness of their foot plant and change of direction can make the difference between getting open or being closely guarded.
  • Encourage players to maintain a low center of gravity during the step-off move. This positioning aids in quick directional changes and enhances stability during the cut.

Tips for Younger Athletes:

  • For younger players, start by breaking down the step-off move into simpler steps, focusing on the fundamental mechanics of the fake and the cut.
  • Incorporate drills that develop agility and quick footwork, as these are key components of successfully executing the step-off move.
  • Use encouragement and positive reinforcement to boost the confidence of younger players as they learn this complex move.

Tips for Older Athletes:

  • • Challenge older, more experienced players by incorporating variations of the drill, such as different fake moves or varying the pace of the cut.
  • • Emphasize the need for quick decision-making in the drill, mirroring the fast-paced nature of a real game.
  • • Integrate defensive reads into the drill, teaching players to analyze the defender’s position and react accordingly with the step-off move.