The jab step is one of the simplest yet most effective moves in the game. On our NBPA Training Ground channel on the Famer app, Aaron Gordon breaks down the “Art of the Jab Step.”
Aaron focuses on two different types of jab steps in this video:
1. Jab & Go
2. Rocker Step
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As Aaron said, a jab step “keeps the defense off-balance, it keeps them guessing and it keeps you in a rhythm.” For many youth players, blowing by a defender isn’t easy. Sure, you can rely on pure athleticism, but that will only take you so far before your peers begin to catch up to you. As you continue to play at a higher level, the more even the playing field becomes and the harder it is to stand out.
However, mastering the jab step is one move that will help set yourself apart from the rest.
Just imagine reaching the pros and having to face a defender like Kawhi Leonard or Lebron James. I know one thing, I don’t want Lebron James chasing me down from behind to block my shot.
If you want to blow by defenders now and continue to do so at the next level (maybe even in the NBA like Aaron), you need to learn how to “read and react” to your defender. What does this mean?
“Reading” in basketball means analyzing your defender’s balance, stance and position. While you may not know what your defender will do next - there are certain cues you can read to predict their next move.
For example, look at your defender’s feet & hands. Are they forcing you one direction, playing you tight, or giving you space? All of these are cues to dictate what you should do next.
Once you’ve read your defender, it’s time to react or make your move to beat your defender. One effective way to do this is with the Jab Step.
For starters, a jab step is simply - a hard “half step” made by an offensive player who is in triple threat, used to force a defender to react. There are many variations of the jab step, but as Aaron demonstrated, one option is the Jab & Go.
There are 3 steps to a Jab & Go:
1. Begin in the Triple Threat position
2. Make a hard “half step” or jab to your defenders high foot (reminder: don’t forget to make sure you do not move/pick up your pivot foot which will be your left foot in this example)
3. “Go” or attack in the opposite direction
When making this move, remember it’s important to pay attention to the cues and react appropriately based on what the defense gives you.
Here are a few situations to consider when executing a jab step:
- If the defender tries to cut off the direction of your jab, you can “Go” the opposite direction for a drive or a shot.
- If the defender reacts and jumps back in attempt to recover, this gives you space to pull up for a jump shot.
- If the defender anticipates you going the opposite direction, you have the option to jab, hesitate, then push off that jab step and blow by your defender for a drive or shot - otherwise known as a “Rocker Step.”
You never want to be predictable, so it’s important to have more than one weapon in your arsenal. Say you’ve used the Jab & Go a few times and now your defender is anticipating your next move.
This is where the Rocker Step comes in - a perfect counter move to keep your defender guessing.
There are 5 Steps to a Rocker Step:
1. Begin in “Triple Threat position.”
2. Make a jab step forward, keeping your weight on your lead foot with your back foot planted.
3. Rock your body in the opposite direction using your lead foot.
4. Quickly rock back in the original direction, using your back foot to push off.
5. Drive to the basket or pull up for a shot.
The Rocker Step is an advanced version of the jab step that, if executed properly, can help you leave defenders in the dust. Remember - learning how to read and react to defense doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, energy and most importantly practice, but that’s what we’re here for.
To continue mastering this move and many others, make sure to join the NBPA Training Ground for free on the Famer App.
There you can get weekly workouts sent directly to your phone led by pro players, such as Aaron Gordon and Andre Drummond, and professional skills trainers like Chris “Lethal Shooter” Matthews.
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