Basketball is not just a game of athleticism; it's a chess match where every fake, pivot, and shot can be a checkmate. Among the arsenal of moves any hoopster should have, the "up and under" is the Houdini act of the basketball court. It's a move that combines the grace of a ballet dancer with the cunning of a fox, and when done right, it leaves defenders grasping at air, wondering what just happened.

Basics of the Up and Under Move

Imagine you're in the low post, the ball in your hands, and a defender is all up in your grill. You're about to pull a move that's older than the peach baskets they first used as hoops. The up and under starts with a convincing shot fake; you want your defender to buy into the idea that you're going up for a shot. As they leap to block what they think is your shot, you keep one foot planted (that's your pivot foot, folks) and step through with the other foot, creating space to glide past your airborne opponent for an easy score.

Footwork Finesse

Now, let's talk about those twinkle toes.

The up and under is all about the footwork.

You've got to have a pivot foot as stable as a tree trunk and the other foot ready to step through quicker than a quick snap. Whether it's your left foot or right foot, that pivot is your anchor, and the outside foot is your ticket to the basket. Remember, if you lift that pivot foot before you dribble, shoot, or pass, you'll hear the ref's whistle faster than you can say "traveling."

Shot Fake Shenanigans

The shot fake is the sizzle to your steak, the magic in your trick.

In a shot fake, you've got to sell it with a little shoulder fake to get your defenders jump by.

Add a little knee bend, a quick snap of the wrist, and a gaze that screams "I'm scoring!" will make many players jump. But don't get too fancy; a pump fake that looks like you're trying to shoot from the moon might just get you a one-way ticket to the bench courtesy of coach's clipboard.

Once you've got your defender airborne with your Oscar-worthy shot fake, it's time to create space. This isn't just about physical space; it's about the mental space in your defender's head. You want them thinking about your next move down the court. Use a wide stance and a quick spin or a drop step to put yourself between the defender and the basket. It's like you're the bouncer, and they're not on the list.

Jump Hook Alternative

If your defender didn't bite on the fake? No problem. Transition into a jump hook. Keep that pivot foot rooted like it's part of the basketball court and use your body to shield the ball as you go for the hook shot. It's a classic move that still works wonders in today's game.

Kevin McHale's Up and Under

When you're talking about NBA legends who perfected the up and under move, Kevin McHale's name is always mentioned. The Boston Celtics power forward was a master of deception, using his long arms and quick feet to create space and score at will.

Post Player's Dilemma

Every post player jumps at the chance to score, but the up and under teaches you that sometimes that not shooting; and the pass is an alternative. By using the move to create space, you can either go for the bucket or find an open teammate. It's a move that's as much about scoring as it is about tricking the defender into giving you more options.

Coach's Clipboard

Practice makes perfect, and the up and under is no exception. Basketball drills focusing on shot science, basketball post moves, and pivot work are essential. Get on the basketball court and work on that footwork, the timing of your shot fake, and the execution of your step through. It's a move that requires finesse, and there's no better teacher than repetition.

Up and Under Move FAQs

What is the most important aspect of the up and under move?

The most important aspects are the shot fake and the footwork. You must convincingly sell the fake and use precise footwork to step through without traveling.

Can guards use the up and under move effectively?

Absolutely! Any offensive player, including guards can use moves to create space and score.

How can I practice the up and under move?

Incorporate it into your basketball drills, focusing on the mechanics of the shot fake and the pivot. Practice against a defender to simulate game conditions and improve your timing and execution.


The up and under basketball move is a timeless trick that combines a convincing shot fake with clever footwork to outmaneuver defenders. Mastering this move requires practice, precision, and a bit of acting skill to sell the fake. By incorporating the up and under into your basketball drills and understanding the importance of the pivot foot and creating space, you can elevate your game and keep defenders guessing.