One of the fundamental basketball techniques in playing offense is the Basketball Triple Threat position.

It’s called a basketball Triple Threat position because when you receive a pass, you will have three options: passing the ball, shooting the ball, or driving forward. It’s called a “threat” because your defender won’t know which to expect, giving you a huge advantage.  The basketball Jab Step is a very common follow up to the Triple Threat, which we will cover below.  Read on to see how to catch the basketball in Triple Threat position, use the basketball Jab Step, and your options afterward.

Step 1: Getting in Position

The Basketball Triple Threat position starts when you receive a pass, but before you pivot.  A Triple Threat position is achieved when you hold the basketball like this: grip the ball firmly with both hands, hold it somewhat low (next to your stomach), put your elbows out, and bend your knees.  When you hold the ball like this, your whole body will protect it from other players trying to steal it.  You may twist your torso and arms to the left or right as needed to protect the basketball, as long as you keep your elbows out and the ball low.

Be aware of your pivot foot.  In basketball, you are allowed to pivot around on one stationary foot: this foot is called your pivot foot and it cannot move or slide.  If you caught the basketball in Triple Threat position with both feet on the ground, you can choose which will become your pivot foot and which foot you’ll move.  However, it’s also common to have one foot already moving as you catch the pass.  In this case, your one stationary foot will automatically be your pivot foot, and an attempt to move it while holding the ball will get you called for traveling.

Step 2: Faking and the Jab Step

The best part of a Triple Threat is that your defender will have no idea what you’ll do next, so he’ll be forced to guess which stance to guard you with.  The Jab Step is a kind of fake, which can trick your opponent into “committing” to a certain defensive position long enough for you to make another move.

A basketball Jab Step is when fake out your defender by leaning and quickly moving your non-pivot foot forward, as if you’re about to drive.  When you Jab Step, watch your defender’s reaction.  If he backs up, he may give you just enough space to either shoot, pass, or break in a different direction.  Alternatively, you can fake a shot or pass, which could trick him into a high-block stance, and will allow you to move around him.  By rapidly chaining Jab Steps and fakes together, your defender won’t know what will be for real, giving you a great advantage.  Watching for the defender to “commit” to a defensive stance during Jab Steps and fakes is the key to finding an opening to make your move.

Step 3: Make Your Move

Finally, the Triple Threat has been set up, your opponent is off-guard (possibly through a Jab Step or other fake), and you’re ready to choose what you will do with the ball.

Option A: The Pass

It’s usually best to pass the basketball if faking isn’t giving quite enough of an opening for you to drive or take a shot at the basketball goal.  This will sometimes be the case if you are too heavily guarded.  You still want to be sure you’re making a responsible pass, but be careful not to be overcautious and stand still too long either.

Option B: The Drive

Driving the basketball from a Triple Threat position is the most effective when a fake is used first, or else you’ll be easily stopped by your opponent.  Faking a quick pass or shot could trick your opponent to block you high-up, allowing you to quickly dribble the ball (low to the ground) around him.  Jab Steps are also effective, or you can perform a Spin Move to get around him.  Instructions on how to perform a Spin Move can be found in the link below.  The key is always to look for your opponent to commit to your fake, and then make your move.

Option C: The Shot

The best time to take a shot at the basketball hoop is usually right when you receive a pass.  But if your defender is making it impossible to shoot immediately, you’ll have to fake him out from the Triple Threat position.  Jab Steps are great in this situation.  As soon as your defender backs away, thinking you’re about to drive, you should have created the space needed to take a good shot.

It is important to note that more so than any other move you can make, you should always have a pretty good comfort level if you’re going to try taking a shot at the basketball hoop.  Taking a shot that you know has only a slim possibility of going in is usually a very bad idea, because it will likely send the ball right into the opposing team’s hands.

That sums up the Triple Threat position!  Take a moment to visit the link below, where Basketball Legend and Pro Michael Jordan will show you some excellent techniques in the basketball Triple Threat position, basketball Jab Steps, and other Fakes.  After that, only practice makes perfect, so grab a ball and practice some one-on-one!