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How to Coach and Teach the Two-Step Rules for Defeating Pressure Defense

There is a time when the basketball defense will try to prevent the pass to a forward. Such overplaying leaves them susceptible to a backdoor cut. 

Instead of two steps toward the basket, take two steps away, and cut backdoor for the pass from the guard. This helps the timing because the guard knows the forward is not coming for the ball and will not throw it away. Here are the rules:


    1. RULE - If a forward takes two steps away from the basket, he cuts backdoor to the basket.
    2. RULE - These two steps away signals the backdoor cut and the guard freezes the defense by a pass fake on the first two steps.

By starting away from the basket, the guard knows the forward will cut backdoor. You must drill your players on this. By freezing the defense with a pass fake, he makes the defense more susceptible to the backdoor and an easy basket.

If a team is under tight man-to-man pressure, the guard can use this backdoor two-step when a guard-to-guard pass is being thrown. The guard takes his man toward the 10-second line and breaks to the ball. He won’t get the ball for a lay up like the forward, but will be in position for an open jumper. Here, too, the passing guard should freeze the defender with a pass fake. Such a move lessens pressure on the guards. Of course, under such pressure it always helps to spread the defense.

Anytime a player on the perimeter catches the ball, instruct him to immediately get into a triple-threat position. He should catch the ball with both feet off the floor and simultaneously land (jump stop) on them about shoulder-width apart and the knees bent. 

Either foot can become the pivot foot; however, in most cases, if a player is right-handed, the left foot should be slightly ahead of the right foot, with the left foot acting as the pivot foot. The reverse applies if the player is left-handed. In either case, the feet and shoulders should be facing the hoop so that any move can be made toward the basket. Such a position allows him to shoot, pass, or dribble.

The ball should be protected on the back hip (the right hip for right-handed players) and not held out front where the defense has the opportunity to slap at it. Stress that your players stay low, a position that allows them to make their moves more quickly and gives the defender less time to react.

The offensive player will be more successful if he attacks the defender by moving in a straight line to the basket. Also, teach your players to close the gap (the space between the offensive and defensive player as the offensive player drives or cuts to the basket). By this, I mean once the dribbler slices by the defender, he should get the defender on his back, preventing him from coming between him and the basket. This keeps him from recovering and getting back into the play.

Two Step Drills

Two-step Rule Basketball Drill #1

Guards & Forwards

The Two-Step Moves by Forward to receive the ball. Use both sides of the court for drills. You can reverse the procedure and have the guards use the two-step rule.

Rule: When making a cut without the ball, take two steps away from the direction you are planning to go and then either cut toward the basket or com back to the ball.

Always demand your guards pass-fake to the two-step to freeze the defense.

You may add a defensive guard to this drill.

Two-step Rule Basketball Drill #2

Entire Team Drill

The Two-Step Moves by all five players. In this case, the Guard is open to receive the ball for an high-percentage open shot.

Rule: When making a cut without the ball, take two steps away from the direction you are planning to go and then either cut toward the basket or com back to the ball.

Always demand your players pass-fake to the two-step to freeze the defense.


Too often, players tend to stand around. The two-step rule teaches them to move without the ball and helps them to understand what you mean when you tell them to read the defense.

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