Drive Fake (“Jab Step”)

A drive fake (also called a “jab step”) is when an offensive player with the ball fakes that they will move in a particular direction by taking a small step in that direction.  The move is done before they have dribbled.

If the defender reacts to the fake, the player can move in the opposite direction or may be able to shoot or pass.  If the defender does not react, then the player can move in that direction.  As with any fake, the offensive player must remain balanced (so that they can move in either direction) and they should allow time for the defender to react before taking their next move.

The coach should not “over teach” the drive fake and instead should have players practice in contested situations frequently to improve.  The following considerations will assist the coach to provide feedback to athletes:

  1. Balance – keep the head centred, not leaning too far forwards (keep the “nose behind the toes”)
  2. Fake with the whole body – the more realistic the fake is, the more likely it will deceive the defender.  The player should:
    1. Look in the direction of the fake
    2. Turn the shoulders toward the direction of the fake
  3. Threaten – the drive fake should be in a direction that the defender is likely to want to stop them (i.e. toward the basket).  Players will often fake stepping sideways, which is not threatening
  4. Ball position – with the development of skills such as the “throw down” dribble, skilled athletes will often not move the ball.  Players should be initially told to move the ball outside the leg that they are stepping (or jabbing with), ready to dribble in that direction.
  5. Don’t Overstep – the fake step should be a small step so that they player can quickly move in either direction with a longer step.  If the fake step is too long it can lead to losing balance and also may mean the player has to step backwards before being able to change direction.
  6. Take advantage – many young players will perform a fake but then not take advantage of a reaction by the defender and often pre-determine what they want to do.  Players should “read” what the defender does and then react, for example:
    1. If the defender steps backward, the player may be able to shoot
    2. If the defender moves to defend the drive, the player may be able to drive in the opposite direction
    3. If the defender loses balance (e.g. their weight shifts to the back or to one side), the player may be able to drive (the defender will need to re-balance before they can move)

Practicing in contested situations will help the players to improve their ability to fake. Some activities are:

Foul Line 1v1

The defender starts with the ball and hands it to 1, and they play 1v1 with 1 restricted to a maximum of two dribbles.

A common mistake made by 1 is to drive away from the basket (shown in red). Instead, 1 should “attack the hips” of the defender and go towards the basket. It is important that this is played at a distance where 1 can comfortably shoot.

Attack the Elbow

1 starts with the ball and scores a point if they can dribble the ball on either elbow. Limit the number of dribbles that the offensive player can use.

The offensive player should be encouraged to use a retreat dribble, if the defender initially stops them getting to the elbow.

Guard the Corner

This activity can be done anywhere a corner is marked.

The offensive player is in the corner and must attempt to dribble out. The defender tries to stop them, moving laterally into their path. If the offensive player puts a foot on the line they are out of bounds.

Penetrate or Shoot

This activity is done from a position where the offensive player is comfortable shooting – this will vary depending upon the skill and age of the players.

The offensive player gets 1 point if they are able to shoot (whether or not it goes in) and gets 2 points if they are able to dribble into the key. The offensive player has a maximum of 3 dribbles.