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4 Tricky Basketball Moves That'll Keep You On Your Toes

If you’re a basketball player in this day and age, you know how crafty and flashy the game has become, and the value put on players who can outsmart their opponents in a tricky manner.

There are tons of ways to get the ball into the basket. There are just as many ways to stop it from going in as well. Then there’s just ways to simply just aggravate and embarrass your opponent. 

You’re going to go against players that will challenge you in that sense. Mentally, they will try to stifle you with an arsenal of moves that you may not be expecting. Here are some tricky moves to look out for (and maybe even add to your own game).

1. “Pulling The Chair Out”

This move has been upsetting offensive players in the post for years, although it doesn’t always work. Big men or guys who have a lot of muscle on their defender will often take their defenders into the post down low and back them down to the basket. 

If you’re a defender, pulling the chair out is one of the easiest ways to not only make a bigger, hulky offensive player look foolish, but it might also result in them turning the ball over.

When an offensive is “backing down” (big men who are unaware of this tactic, this is for you too), or pushing their defender with their hind side and their back to the basket, pulling the chair out will result in the offensive player clumsily falling over if he’s off balance while backing down. 

As a defender, it requires timing in between each bump from the player you’re guarding. If you simply slide away from behind the offensive player the moment before he backs you down, there’s a chance he’ll go tumbling to the floor. 

2. “The Shammgod”

The Shammgod is a dribble move that requires a certain degree of timing as well, and can really create space between you and a defender. 

Depending on who is guarding you and/or who you’re guarding this move can send someone flying if they aren’t on their toes on defense. For a defender who’s reaching a lot, this would be a great move to teach him. 

The Shammgod starts with a deceptive drop-dribble that leads the defender to believe the offensive player is headed in a certain direction. Immediately after that drop-dribble, the offensive player scoops up the ball with the opposite hand, reaching across his body to cross the ball over. 

The quick change in direction of the move will not only separate one from a defender for a split second, but it sets up an array of dribble moves to follow it. If the defender didn’t bite on the initial Sham-God, a quick crossover or a hesitation will certainly catch the defender off balance. 

The Sham-God is a tough move to defend that keeps defenders on their toes, given the explosion that the move requires. The quicker the offensive player moves his body with the Sham-God dribble, the harder it is to defend. 

3. Dirty Screens/Picks 

You know you’re not going to get every call in the course of a basketball game. But neither is your opponent. That works to both of your advantages. A lot of illegal screens are set during games, and little motions during these screens are tough to exploit and even tougher for refs to see.

When a defender sets a screen on you, you need to decide what to do, and quick. If you’re going over the screen, you grab onto the player you’re defending as quick as possible. If you’re going underneath, you need to slide behind the screener just as fast. 

If the opponent setting the screen really wants to get his guy open, there are a number of things they will try to do to slow you down and possibly even hurt you, so watch out. 

Spreading their elbows wide during a screen makes it painful to run into a screen, and will definitely bruise you up if you’re not aware a screen is coming. Widening stance and poking out hips on screens is also a common practice for dirty screeners, especially if you’re going over the screen. 

Bumping hips isn’t the most comfortable feeling, so if you’re a screener who’s considering adding these tactics to your game, please be careful. Usually on handoffs or dribble handoffs, poking out the hips and the rear end is the quickest and craftiest way—although not always legal—to get the dribbler free.

4. The Many Forms of The Pass Fake 

The pass fake is one of the easiest ways to make you look better as well as make your defender look worse in basketball. Whether it’s looking someone off or motioning in the opposite direction before passing, there’s almost no way to prepare for a good pass fake as a defender. 

If you’re on offense, there are many ways you can use the pass fake to your advantage. You can fake an initial pass and make the pass once a teammate cuts. You can try the always-flashy no-look pass. You can even pass fake to open yourself up for a shot. 

Some of the craftiest pass fakes come in transition in situations where the defense is outnumbered by the offense. Even the best anticipatory defense doesn’t always intercept these plays. 

Becoming adept at the pass fake certainly takes some in-game practice, so if you’ve never tried a no-look pass, I wouldn’t try it in a game where your coach might pull you out for turning it over. 

All of these moves will appear during the course of your basketball career. Hopefully now you can be ready for them, and maybe even try them on your own. Let’s just hope one of your opponents isn’t reading this article as well!