Whatever a basketball team’s strategy might be on offense, a stifling defense can quickly derail it. When defenders play up in the dribbler’s face, it can be difficult to do almost anything, which is why creating separation is a must. Creating separation also helps avoid those pesky five-second calls for turnovers.

If a dribbler can create space between themselves and the defender, even for a split second, they can immediately take advantage, whether that means to drive to the basket, find an open man, or step back for a shot.

The best ball handlers are those that can create this separation, and there are a variety of ways in which to do so. The following are a couple of dribbling moves that provide players with the separation they need to go to work on offense.

A Step-Back Crossover Creates Room to Drive, Shoot or Pass

The step-back crossover is a fairly straightforward dribbling move, but can be difficult to master. Having the right footwork and mechanics is vital to ensuring the ball stays out of reach from a defender. While staying low and compact, the dribbler attacks the defender before moving his or her top leg back and dribbling to the other hand. The body always protects the ball and the dribbler can use his or her off hand to shield from a steal attempt.

Once the dribbler crosses over, he or she can quickly attack the defender, applying pressure of their own. Or, if the defender hangs back, the dribbler can release a quick shot.

The Escape Dribble Helps Shake a Defender and is Especially Helpful Against Full-Court Pressure

When a defender plays tightly the entire length of the court, it can be tough to shake them. An escape dribble is a tactic used to create separation and open up space to blow past the defender.

The pattern of this dribble resembles a lower-case ‘H’ on the court. A dribbler takes a few dribbles at a defender before stopping and exploding backward, which draws the defender up to close the distance. As the defender creeps up, the dribbler wants to, once again, explode forward, but this time dribbling at the defender’s outside hip.

By using this focal point, the dribbler can maximize his or her chances of getting past the defender, which can open up a fast break opportunity.

Trying to dribble out of tight defensive pressure is difficult. Utilizing specific dribbling moves designed to create separation, such as these mentioned above, is a player’s best bet for creating space.