Basketball Pivots: Should We Focus Only on the Left Pivot and Right Jab?

One of my favorite Youtube channels for basketball is by @CoachKroogs. He does a great job of scouring NBA clips and isolating key skills and moves that you can show your players. His voiceover work is also fantastic and he brings up teaching points that I have not thought too much about but make a lot of sense.

Today, I wanted to share his video on jab and pivot skills and a few interesting thoughts on making it easier for our players more effective in using pivots to greater success.

Lessons Learned

First, off this is a great series of clips and like that he uses NBA players. Even for varsity girls basketball, showing NBA players gives a certain level of credence with our players. Pivots and jabs are also an area of least development for our players. I believe a lot of times it’s due to the lack of 1-on-1 play so we try to emphasize and create scenarios in practice to help them develop this skill.

As you watch this video, there are two other teaching points that stand out in this video that I wanted to emphasize.

Teach Only the Left Pivot

One talking point from Coach Kruggs is that he only emphasizes teaching the left pivot. As he looks through film and watches the world’s best players, nearly every righty uses his left foot as the pivot foot when he catches the ball with his right foot being the jab foot. This video was the first time I heard about emphasizing the single pivot and it makes sense to me for a few reason:

  • Most of our players are right handed and drive predominantly right. Being able to step with the right foot to drive vs. the left is their natural movement.
  • This cuts down on confusion of which foot to use when you catch and rip and go. We typically set up rules with players on catch and sit and rip and go’s but typically we get confusion on which foot to use on drives which lead to traveling violations. This can help to eliminate some confusion with a more consistent teaching focus.

Basketball pivot is a skill that is important for our team. It equates to at least 2-3 turnovers a game in lifting the pivot foot. Rightfully, it has become an area of focus for us the 2nd half of the season and these rules help us to focus on this better.

Head Below Defender’s Shoulders on Rip and Go

Another key area of focus for us with our team is the rip and go. Pivots are a key area of this but we also focus on shifting a defenders position with your eyes and ball position so that a quick first step can get you into the lane.

That’s why I like Coach Kruggs point on getting your head below a defender’s shoulders when you rip and go. At times, our players will be standing too up right when they catch and are defended and staying low forces them to get into the defender a bit creating space and also keep the ball in proper pocket position for the ball away from the defender. There is also an emphasis here on pulling the ball through low which can help our players not get tied up when moving the ball from one side to the other.


What other tips do you have on the rip and go? Let us know!

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