Coaching Youth Basketball

PIVOTING is a skill that coaches sometime assume the kids just know how to do. When you think about growing up and learning how to play, do you remember a time when you were taught to pivot? It not unusual to find that pivoting was not something taught to most players.

Basketball Pivoting

However, PIVOTING is one of the most important skills to learn in establishing a sound foundation of basketball fundamentals. Think about squaring to basket, blocking out for a rebound, rolling after a screen, drop stepping, deep stepping, and getting away from defensive pressure after a used dribble, they all involve PIVOTING.

Most right handed players will be more comfortable pivoting on their left foot.

Left handed players will prefer their right foot as pivot foot.

Seems backward, but if you think about it, your non-pivoting foot and leg do all the work. So a right hander, with a left pivot foot, is using their right leg and foot to do the work - it's good to talk to the kids about this.

We teach symmetry and that all players should learn to use both feet to pivot. It's just good to point out to the kids that they will be more comfortable with a certain pivot foot, and have to work a little harder to develop the other. Similar to that left handed layup - what an advantage when you can use both sides equally well.


Pivoting - Establish a Pivot Foot

First, sit down on the floor.

Use your imagination.

Make a fist with your right hand, and dip it down into a bucket of red paint. Now take your fist out of the paint bucket and put it on the bottom of your left foot, right on the ball of your foot. Rub your fist on the ball of your left foot and make a red paint spot about the size of your fist.

Now, stand up, and get in Triple Threat Position.

Make a NAIL with your left index finger, and push the imaginary nail through the top of your left foot to nail that foot to the floor. Tell the kids that their foot is now NAILED to the floor.

Now, pick up your left heal about an inch, and you should feel a pressure spot on the bottom of your foot about the size of the red spot you painted on it.

Now you are ready to PIVOT.

How many degrees are in a CIRCLE? 360

How many degrees are in half a CIRCLE? 180

We are going to PIVOT in 180 and 360 degrees.

We use 4 CALLS

Forward 180 - pivot forward half a circle

Forward 360 - pivot forward 360 by using (2) Forward 180's - not one big turn

Reverse 180 - pivot reverse half a circle

Reverse 360 - pivot reverse 360 by using (2) Reverse 180's

Line the kids up and spread the kids out on the floor. It is good to always use the basket as a reference if possible - either square to the basket or back to the basket as an orientation.

Now, with all kids in Triple Threat Position, make the (4) Calls - Forward 180, Reverse 180, Forward 360, Reverse 360 and have them follow. You will be impressed by how well they do this even the first time. The kids will like this drill and start to gain confidence.

Now, switch PIVOT feet and try again.

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