In basketball, it is essential players move with a purpose. You must learn to conserve time and space and to reduce wasted motion so you can develop balance and quickness. Thus, proper footwork is the foundation to good, fundamental basketball.
For the most part, you should make a concentrated effort to keep your feet shoulder-width apart, but certainly no more. Body weight evenly distributed from side to side, front to back, and between the feet. Keep your heels down with most of your weight on the balls of your feet. Maintain a low center of gravity; bend at the knees. Typically one can place his palms over his knee caps. We refer to this as "level 1".
Pivoting, or turning, is a motion that rotates your body in a circular fashion around the ball of one foot while you maintain basic position. When body rotation is toward the front, the pivot is called a front pivot (throw a punch). Use this pivot to get closer. A backward turn is used to pivot your backside to the rear, called a reverse pivot (swing an elbow). This pivot is often used to create separation. Use the pivot to turn up to 180-degrees. Simply repeat pivots if more turning is necessary.
The jump stop (quick stop), or two-foot plant, is when you jump from one foot and land with both feet hitting the floor at the same time (heels first). This stop is recommended when you take a direct approach to the basket. The two-count stop, or one-two plant, is when you land on the rear foot (first count) with the front foot hitting immediately afterward (second count). Its primary use is to change direction when running forward.
Inside Step vs. Power Step (a.k.a. Permanent Step)
Whether or not to use the inside step versus the power step is simply a matter of coaching philosophy. We teach the inside step, but are not opposed to players using the power step or even “squaring in the air”. Sometimes you just have to make a play.
“Fire step” (inside step) is a term we use when you are going to your strong side (right side if you are right handed). Such a step is quick and powerful.
“Swing step” (inside step) is to the opposite side. Sometimes you may even have to incorporate a “cheat step” (half step pivot) into this sequence. Both steps are slower and require greater practice time to master.
“Power step” establishes the same pivot foot regardless of floor position (left foot always if you are right handed). Inside-out passes allow for this step in our teaching.
Coach Hueser’s “3-Pointer”
“Low, lower, lowest!” Only exceptions: 1) jumping to shoot, 2) contesting a shot, or 3) jumping to rebound.
Whenever possible, plant your inside foot (nearest the basket) when squaring up into the triple-threat position.
Own your feet!