Updated: Aug 2, 2019
The Cross-Step Between the Legs is a great mid-range option to use when the defender is overplaying the dribble and taking away your straight line drive (defender is between you and the rim at arms distance away). This is one of my favorite counter moves off the dribble and is great for basketball players of all ages and ability levels.
Below are some teaching points that I like to prioritize when introducing this move to players:
1) Before the change of direction happens, it's important that we recognize the reason we are changing directions. Anytime a defender gets between us and the rim, we have a decision to make. If they are in front of us AT THE RIM, then our option is to generally shoot a pull up jump shot. If they are in front of us at arms distance away, we need to change directions or kick the basketball out for a better look.. The Cross-Step Between the Legs move focuses on changing directions as the defender begins to cut us off at arms distance.
2) The first and most important part of this move happens prior to the actual change of direction. We need to think about LUNGING into space with ball and opposite foot hitting the floor at the same time. For example, if the ball is in your right hand while driving right, the LEFT FOOT should hit the floor in sync with the dribble on a cross-step. Ball and foot synchronization is crucial in order to sell the downhill angle as the defender overplays the drive.
3) Once the defender gets to a spot in front of you at arms distance,, we need to POP our back foot, in this case our right foot, at an angle and BEHIND OUR HIPS in order to generate power in the opposite direction and be explosive. This back foot plant and explosion is similar to a trigger step or load step (this will be covered in later posts).
4) As the back foot pops, go BETWEEN THE LEGS at the same time our right foot pops. Again, ball and foot synchronization becomes key to being quick and efficient with our movement.
5) It's important to keep the front foot (left foot in this case) down as much as possible when changing directions. When performed at game speed, the front foot will lift slightly off of the ground and that's okay as long as its not a rocking motion as we shift our weight from back foot to front foot.
6) As we explode out of the Between the Legs dribble, perform another cross-step to keep a "ball-you-man" relationship on the next dribble and LUNGE again into open space with the ball and foot hitting the floor at the same time.
I hope you enjoyed this video tutorial. Feel free to contact me if you have questions!