Slice Your Defender’s Hips
for More Explosive Drives

by Dannie Evans

image of Kobe slicing his defender's hip

Think it’s impossible to slice your defender in half?

It’s not.  In fact, doing so is a fundamental principle for driving past a defender.

Of course you can’t actually cut your defender into pieces unless you’re on the court with  a sword.  That would be a little too Kill Bill. But good players do slice their defender up figuratively by using their body to attack the right angles.

Slice at the Hip for More Explosive Drives

“Slicing your defender’s hips” simply means getting low and attacking the hip of your defender by brushing it with your shoulder as you see Kobe doing in the image above to Courtney Lee in the Finals.

If you hit your opponent’s hip and get your shoulders past him, you have effectively put your defender in jail.

Key point: Keep your head up.  Players tend to drop their chin on drives, especially when they get low to the floor.  By keeping your chin up you maintain your court vision which allows you to see and anticipate the second line of defense and where your teammates are cutting.

Benefits of Turning Your Shoulder into a Sword

Attacking your defender’s hips cuts off his ability to move laterally to stop your penetration.  If he tries to go through you, the whistle will be in your favor.

Your drives will be significantly quicker because targeting your opponent’s hip forces you to drive low and in a straight line towards the basket.  It helps you get in strong biomechanical position to use your most powerful muscles (glutes and quads) to explode past your defender.

The faster you get to the cup, the easier your finishing opportunities will be at the rim since  help defense has less time to recover.

Bonus Tip

In addition to attacking the hip with your shoulder, shoot your off arm out towards your defenders hip like an arrow.

Doing so creates more momentum going towards the basket.  Better still, your arm acts as a steel rod denying your defender back into the play.  It absolutely frustrates opponents because it renders them powerless as if you actually sliced them in half at the waist.

Note: Do not wrap your arm around your defender!  You will get called for a hook, and we hate unforced turnovers here.  Keep a relatively straight and very firm arm, and you won’t have a problem.

I learned this technique my freshman year at King’s College from the all-time leading scorer in school history.  Ever since I started using it my drives have been quicker, smoother and more effective.

Yours will be too.

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