Ball Handling: The Stutter-Step

Perhaps the simplest, but, most effective move there is in basketball. Requires only a minimal amount of ballhandling ability, given that the ball remains in the same hand during the move. The beauty of the stutter-step is that a good defensive player must honor the move by momentarily freezing his body. He does not want to risk making the wrong guess and, by extension, getting burned by the man with the ball. In essence, you are penalizing the defender for playing good defense, a rare opportunity to take advantage of somebody who is responding just as he should be.

How to Do the Stutter-Step Move:

Stand at one end of the court. Place the ball in your right hand. Begin to jog down the floor, dribbling the ball in your right hand. After four dribbles, step down harder than usual with your left foot—if done correctly, your shoe should squeak on the gym floor—bringing your upper body to a momentary stop. Quickly follow this hard step with two or three more hard steps—i.e. right, left, right, left—which will successfully give your defender the illusion that your next move could go either right or left. Then, re-start your dribble in your right hand, without changing your direction to even the slightest degree.

If heard on tape, the stutter would sound like: rat-a-tat-tat-tat, and then the defender uttering some unprintable expletive at realizing he’s just been beaten.

Keys to Effectiveness:

1. Keep your back straight during the stutter; balance is key in this move. If you lean forward, the defender will realize that you are planning on continuing straight towards the rim, and your stutter step will be rendered ineffective.

2. Do not stutter step for too long, if you do, the defender will be able to regain his bearings, and will be prepared for your next move.

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