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The Triple Threat in Basketball

ByQueen Ballers Club|@queenballers| February 5, 2022If you buy something from a link on our site, Queen Ballers Club may earn a commission.

Success on offense can start with your stance. The triple threat position is an offensive basketball stance that equips a player to be dangerous. In this position a player can quickly spring into action three ways: dribble the ball, pass the ball, or shoot the ball.

The best way to catch the basketball is with:

  • Your feet in the air – so you can land and go anyway you want
  • On balance – so you can easily take a shot, go quickly in any direction, or make any pass
  • Low to the ground – keep your center of gravity low as you land so you can tap into your speed

Practicing the triple threat can help you learn those deadly tactics. So today we’ll cover what the triple threat is, and what situations to use it in. Plus, we’ll reveal some examples of how WNBA and NBA players use it. We’ll also share how to defend against this move. So let’s get after it!

What’s the triple threat in basketball?

The triple threat – or “triple attack” – is a way players can position their body and hold the ball so that they easily have three options: shoot, pass, or dribble. With this stance, the player gets low to the ground, has at least one foot planted, and holds the ball close to their hip and away from the defense. Because there are so many options coming out of this stance, it’s a simple way to improve your offensive attack – making you more of a threat!

Here’s how to get into the position:

  1. Catch the pass with both hands: Firmly grasp the ball with both hands and keep them there throughout your move.
  2. Position the ball by your upper thigh: Initially keep the ball on your hip or upper thigh and away from the defender.
  3. Square up toward the basket: Create a strong angle to the basket so that you can shoot right out of this stance. If that’s open, you always want to take it.
  4. Stay balanced: Keep your weight on the ball of your feet, not on your heels. And make sure your weight is evenly distributed so that if you shoot, you’ll be on target.
  5. Pick a pivot foot: Plant one foot (starting with your non-dominant side foot is probably easiest), and practice moving the other a little bit in short, fast movements, towards one side or the other, or in front of you. Pivot around in a whole circle a few times to see all the angles you can use. Ensure your pivot foot bends to a 45 degree angle when you make your jabs to sell that you’re going to drive.
  6. Move the ball with your body: As you pivot around, be sure you’re moving the ball off your hip and down to your knee in the direction you’re faking a drive. Otherwise the defender isn’t going to bite on the drive. You can also rip the ball through overhead and from side to side – to fake passing and other moves.

Now that you’re in the position, here’s how to get into action with it. See how Los Angeles Lakers guard Carmelo Anthony teaches his son how to jab out of the triple threat:

When to use triple threat in basketball

Use the triple-threat position as you’re catching a pass. If you’ve already dribbled, the triple threat won’t work. Also, if your back is to the basket, triple threat won’t help you quite as much. It can be particularly helpful when you’re outside the three, as it gives you time to see the floor. Here’s Phoenix Mercury guard Kia Nurse, catching the ball off a pass and getting into the triple threat. She fakes a pass, rips it overhead, and then hits a pump fake before driving to the basket.

This stance is most helpful when you’re in sort of a dead ball situation. So you wouldn’t use it coming off the pick and roll, where you’re in motion and getting into the triple threat would cause you to lose your edge and momentum on the defender.

Always look to shoot out of the triple threat: shooting is Plan A. If the defender’s arms are down, shoot. Here’s Carmelo taking advantage of “hands down, man down.”

What is the importance of the triple threat position in basketball?

The goal of the triple threat is to provide you with lots of options quickly, and to fake out your defender if need be. To confuse your defender from this position, there are tons of moves you can make: you can pump fake, take a jab step, or a jab step and then a load step, or you can use a rocker step. Off of any of those you can shoot or dribble the opposite way. You can also use head fakes and use your eyes, to convince the defense you’re going one way (or making one move), before you go the other.

Triple threat basketball drills

Here are a few drills you can use to add this basic move to your bag.

1. Ball toss

  • Stand behind the three
  • Toss the ball to yourself
  • Catch the ball and get into triple threat
  • Fake a jab
  • Take a shot
  • Hit 5 threes
  • If you miss more than 3 in a row, start again

2. Pivot play

  • Stand behind the three
  • Toss the ball to yourself
  • Catch the ball and get into triple threat
  • Pivot at least 5 ways
  • Then drive to the basket
  • Hit 5 layups
  • If you miss more than 3 in a row, start again

3. Calls

  • Stand behind the three
  • Toss the ball to yourself
  • Catch the ball and get into triple threat
  • Have a friend or coach call out 1 or 2
  • For 1 take a shot
  • For 2 jab and drive
  • Hit 5
  • If you miss more than 3 in a row, start again

4. Add defense

  • Stand behind the three
  • Toss the ball to yourself
  • Catch the ball and get into triple threat
  • Do any combo of 2 moves and try to score
  • If the defense knocks the ball away or you miss it’s their ball
  • Play first to 5 wins

How do you defend against the triple threat?

The best way to defend against the triple threat is to know your player’s tendencies: Do they like to shoot where they are on the floor or drive? Be more or less aggressive based on those factors. If they’re likely to drive you can give them a little more space to buffer against a blow by. If they’re likely to shoot you might want to rush at them for a fast close out how players guard Stephen Curry.

Either way, remember to stay in your defensive stance, low to the ground with your arms up. If they’re right handed, have your left arm wide out and your right arm a bit lower to be able to cause cross over interference (and vice versa, if they’re left handed). Be aware of the potential direction of their body by watching their mid-section.

Use the triple threat in basketball

The triple threat is a great fundamental move for every beginner hooper to master. Practice it this week, and add it to your bag. Up next, learn the push cross move.

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