The pivot is the "center" of attention on the basketball court. This position is typically played by the tallest player on the basketball team. Everyone knows size matters in basketball. If you want to be an effective pivot, you need to learn some basic skills.
1. Footwork. A pivot must use his feet to be effective. The player guarding the pivot will either play between the pivot and the basket or attempt to 'front" the pivot. Fronting is when the defender puts all or part of his body in front of the pivot. In order to beat the defender, the pivot must use his feet to create space to receive a pass. An example is the drop step. As you are receiving a pass, you "step" with one leg in a manner that puts you between the defender and the basket. You are then free to shoot unless another defender comes to your defender's rescue.
2. Shooting. A pivot must develop an array of shots that are designed to score at close range. If you use the drop step move, you will often get the best and easiest shot in basketball: the layup. However, defenders work hard to keep you from getting that shot. Other effective shots for a pivot are the hook, the turnaround jumper and the fadeaway. The hook shot was made famous by Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The hook shot is made by turning sideways to the basket, extending the shooting arm over the head and releasing the ball at the highest point. The turnaround jumper is made by turning to face your defender, jumping with both legs, extending the arms above the head and releasing the ball at the highest point. The fadeaway is the same as the turnaround with one exception. As you jump, you move fade away from the defender, creating extra space to get your shot off.
3. Screens. Pivots create scoring opportunities for teammates by blocking defenders so that the teammate becomes free to take a good shot. The most important thing to remember about screens is that your feet must be firmly planted. It is illegal set a moving screen. A basic screen is where you move to the side of a player guarding your teammate and your teammate dribbles next you to separate from their defender.
4. Passing. Pivots use their size to pass to teammates who are in position to score. A pivot should always keep the ball up high when looking to pass. Those pesky shorter players are always looking to steal the ball from the pivot.
1. Footwork. Again. Footwork is everything for effective pivot play. You can simply stay between the offensive player and the basket. This is effective when you are taller than your opponent. If you are shorter, you will then want to front the offensive player. This is done by getting on the side of the player you are guarding and putting an arm in front of the offensive player. By doing this you are attempting to prevent the player you are guarding from receiving a pass.
2. Hands. Hands can be used to block shots and steal the ball. The biggest mistake that players make when trying to block a shot is reaching or slapping at the ball as their opponent attempts a shot. Frequently, a pivot will be called for a foul when they reach or slap at the ball. The best technique to extend the arms straight up and bend at the wrist to block the shot. Similarly, the biggest mistake that a player makes when trying to steal a basketball is to slap down at the ball. The best technique to reach from below. Keep your hands low and take the ball away by contacting the bottom of the basketball.
3. Help Defense. Pivots are often called upon to play "help" defense. When a teammate is beaten by the player they are guarding, a pivot is usually in the best position to leave the player they are guarding to help their teammate.
4. Rebounding. Block out your opponent when the shot goes up by putting your body against them and between them and the basket.
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