The pull-back dribble is a maneuver used to create space against a defender. It is a dribble move that, if done properly, could result in what the basketball universe calls an ankle breaker.
What is a pull-back dribble in basketball?
A pull-back dribble is a dribble move used to create separation from a defender hellbent on beating you to a spot. If done correctly, it gives you space to shoot or pass. In full speed, the pull-back dribble could result in the complete embarrassment of the defender as he tries to stay in front of an offensive player executing the move.
The purpose of the pull-back dribble is to break free from a defender who’s trying to beat you to a certain spot.
The key to pulling this move is to make the defender think you’re going in a certain direction to drive. This is done by throwing your shoulders forward to sell the move.
All excellent ball handlers have the pull-back dribble as a weapon to avert defensive pressure.
The effectiveness of the pull-back dribble depends upon certain factors. If the offensive player has already blown by a defender for a layup, chances are, the latter will overplay and beats the former to the spot. To avert the defensive pressure or possibly a charging foul, the offensive player does a pull-back dribble.
Here are the steps on how to do the pull-back:
- When dribbling, make sure to keep the spring on your step by loading on the balls of your feet. If you’re planting your heels or being flat-footed, you may not get the same separation that you’re looking for.
- Explode on your first step, perhaps from a hesitation dribble. Push or ward off a little using your offhand to create the initial space. The keyword here is “a little” because the complete extension of the offhand is an offensive foul.
- Throw your shoulders forward to sell the drive. As you sell the blow-by, plant your knee hard and pull the ball back to the other direction.
- At this point, if you’re executing the move properly, the defender is two feet away and scrambling to get back in position. You have two options here– to pass or to shoot.
- Most of the time, all that free space is an open invitation to shoot. Be ready to take the shot by always planting the balls of your feet with the heels off the ground. This allows you to be springy as you go up for the shot.
Note: The mistake that many players often make when doing the pull-back dribble is that their momentum may start to pull them backward when they hit the pull-back. This happens when you’re not using the balls of your feet to stay balanced. Some gather themselves for a few seconds to counter that momentum pull, but the advantage it creates disappears since the defender can now recover.
Types of Pull-Back Dribbles
There are three basic types of pull-back dribbles.
This is the simplest of the bunch, but that doesn’t make it less effective. The crossover pull-back is often the move pulled off by Kemba Walker.
Crossover Pull-back Video
In this variation, the offensive player dribbles the ball between the legs instead of doing a simple crossover. This is perhaps the most comfortable pull-back dribble if you’re looking to shoot right after the move. The famous Allen Iverson over Tyronn Lue jumper from the 2001 NBA Finals originated from a between-the-legs pull-back.
Between-the-legs Pull-back Video
All of the moves leading to the pull-back are the same until the last second of execution. Instead of a simple crossover or between-the-legs, you can go behind the back for the same devastating effect.
Behind-the-back pull-back pulled off by Nick Young video
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