How do you pump fake in basketball? Find out! Today we’ll explain what a pump fake is, why to do it, and how to do it. We’ll also share some really effective pump fake practicing drills. Plus, we’ll show you an example of a pump fake in action with a few NBA pros. Let’s get after it!
In short, a pump fake is simply a move where you fake shooting the ball, going through your normal shooting motion. But you never let go of the ball! Instead you bring it back down quickly.
Pump faking in basketball is such a key tool to have in your bag. The goal of a pump fake is to trick your defender into thinking you’re going to shoot the ball. Hopefully you sell the move so well that they jump to block your shot or cause them to be out of position, as you make your next move. This creates an opportunity for you to quickly drive past them, take a shot, do a one dribble pull up, step through for a shot, or pretty much any move you want.
This is a great move for both guards and forwards, and can be done anywhere you’re in your shooting range on the court. Here are the simple steps:
Here’s a walk through and example if you’re a more visual learner from NBA skills trainer Chris Johnson:
If you’re brand new to it, practice your pump fake in front of a mirror to see if it looks realistic. The feedback you get from that can help you adjust it and sell it as much as possible.
After that, the best way to get better at pump faking is to practice it in drills that mimic live game situations. This will help you develop a feel for when to use a pump fake and how to effectively execute it under pressure. We’ll share a couple of those in a second.
Finally, work on your shooting. The pump fake works best when done by players that are great shooters, because the defense has to respect the idea that if they let you shoot, you’re going to score. So they’re going to try to close out on you quickly, giving you more opportunity for an open look off your next move. To get started working on your shooting, here are some fun basketball shooting drills for beginners.
Here are two fun drills you can try to get better at pump faking practicing pump faking in a game-like situation.
One player starts at the 3 line, while the other starts on the lane block. The lane block player’s goal is to close out on the shooter as quickly as possible. The defender from the lane block can choose to run past the offensive player with their close out, stop at the offensive player, or stop before them. The goal for the offensive player is to make the read, do a pump fake and then decide whether to shoot right out of it afterwards, or do a one-dribble pull-up to the left or right. Play make it take it, up to 5 points.
For this drill you’re going to play one vs. one against your partner. However baskets are worth 1 point, and so are pump fakes where your defender jumps in the air. Play make it take it, up to 5 points.
Both of these drills will help you get a feel for when and how to use the pump fake effectively. And they’re also a good way to improve your reaction time and defensive skills too!
WNBA and NBA players pump fake all the time because it is such an effective move when done properly. Here’s an example of Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry pump faking in the corner. Watch how the defense jumps to try to block the faked shot. Steph then uses a pass fake to further throw the defender off, and then sinks the bucket. Look how much space and time he was able to create for himself with those simple fakes!
Here’s an example of four-time WNBA 3-Point Contest winner Allie Quigley using a pump fake in a corner and then going into a one dribble pull-up for a nice bucket.
If you need to see it in action another time to believe it really works, here’s another example from Memphis Grizzles guard-forward CJ Miles who used a shot fake to shake defender Marco Belinelli and drive to the rim to get a bucket.
Now you know how to do one of the most basic but effective moves in basketball. And why to use it! Up next, you might also want to learn about how to do the triple threat position in basketball.