The closer you get to the hoop, the tighter the basketball court can feel. As ball handlers drive in the paint to the basket, they’ll need to have the right moves to throw off defenders and create space.
The “hockey stop” is one of the moves you can work on to help you get away from defenders.
“All we’re going to do is attack a spot, and we’re going to stop on a dime — inside foot to outside foot,” says Performance Enhancement Specialist Paul Fabritz, who trains professional basketball players. “So, we call it a hockey stop.”
After you attack the spot on the court, keep your feet in a split stance and use what Fabritz calls “shadow hands.” You will show as if you’re going to pick up the basketball to shoot but stop about two inches short. You’ll also lift up your eyes as if you’re focusing on your shot before continuing with your dribble.
If done correctly, shadow hands can help throw the defender off and open up a lane to the basket.
“You have to make sure that your [dribbling] hand stays on top of the basketball,” Fabritz says. “When I teach this move to a lot of youth players, they go up and they take so long that they have to turn their hand under. Keep that hand on top of the ball and bring [your other hand] over aggressively. Stop two inches short, and then push into your dribble.”
Practice the hockey stop so you can fake out defenders and drive to the hoop for a basket.
Looking for more ways to create space? Work on The V-Drill in practice to help open up the court during games and improve your ball handling.