Faking, especially with the basketball, is an extremely important skill to master on both offense and defense. A well executed fake will misdirect an opponent, throw him off balance, and draw him out of position.
An offensive player may utilize a fake with or without the basketball. Faking while in possession of the ball opens up passing lanes and frees you for a shot. Faking without the ball enables you to get open to receive a pass as well as to control a defender thereby keeping him out of the play. Good players learn when to use a fake and when not to use one. Yes, it is possible to ‘overfake’. You can fake yourself into trouble by faking unnecessarily and giving your defender time to recover or catch up with you. Below are the main types of fakes utilized; head and shoulder, ball, and foot fakes. Mastering these fakes will help you become a deceptive player.
Head and Shoulder Fake
The head and shoulder fake is effective out on the perimeter as well as inside. Since body direction is most often indicated by the movement of the head and shoulder, a defender generally and automatically shifts in the direction the offensive player fakes. When the offensive player fakes and then moves quickly in the opposite direction, the defender is thrown off balance and left in poor position. This will open up passing lanes. It can also open up shooting and driving lanes if it is executed properly. Also, a post player is very hard to guard if he can give a head and shoulder fake in one direction and then move quickly in the opposite direction.
Foot Fake (i.e. Jab Step)
The foot fake, or jab step, is a very deceptive maneuver used by both offensive and defensive players. The player takes a step in one direction, recovers, then moves in another direction. The jab may be to the front, side, or rear. The other foot remains stationary. If a player has possession of the ball, he uses the jab step to throw his defender off balance, enabling him to drive by or shoot over his man. The defensive player utilizes a foot fake to appear to step at his opponent. The defender will do this maneuver to make the offensive player travel and hurry the shot, pass, or dribble. Defensively, a foot fake with a head fake can close shooting and passing lanes (or give the perception to the offensive player that those lanes are unavailable).
A ball fake is simply move the basketball in one direction and then in the same motion passing, dribbling or shooting in another direction. Ball control and good timing is essential. Make it look like a real pass, drive or shot; don’t overfake or oversell it. If it doesn’t look real, smart defenders won’t even fall for the fake.
The defensive fakes are head and shoulder, foot, and hand fakes; as mentioned above. These are used to worry the offensive player, keep him guessing, and make him hurry his moves. An offensive player can be thrown off balance by a fake that indicates the defender is rushing or jumping at him. An inexperienced player will want to get rid of the ball quickly and will probably throw it away. Faking is also invaluable when trying to cover two men. For example, when one player is defending a 2-on-1 situation. He can fake rush the dribbler to stop him or slow him down, then retreat to cover the other player.
Advice on Faking
- Utilize a variety of fakes and deceptive moves.
- “Willie the Shakes”. Think Shakespeare. Be a good actor. Make your fakes look like logical moves to be completed.
- Develop accurate timing.
- React quickly so by faking, you aren’t causing more trouble for yourself.
- Spot an opponent’s weakness for certain fakes. Use them.
- Develop the ability to go in either direction after faking.
- Make your fakes natural-looking. Don’t overdo them or perform them so vigorously that it looks ridiculous.
- Practice against a defender in live situations to get better at faking.