The basketball back dribble, more commonly known as the retreat or escape dribble, is a move used by a ball handler. This move is not to be confused with a behind-the-back dribble, in which the player dribbles the ball behind his/her back from one hand to the other.
When performing a back dribble, the ball handler first turns his/her body so it is facing the sideline and is in between the ball and the defender. At the same time, the ball handler's head should also be up and facing the basket. From there, the ball handler dribbles low to the ground outside his/her back foot and slides backwards, away from the basket. Once the ball handler has escaped the defender's pressure, he/she can square back up to the hoop.
The back dribble is often used to create separation from a defender who is not giving the ball handler much space or to avoid a trap. Once the ball handler has retreated and is squared up to the basket again, he/she can assess the defense more comfortably.
The back dribble can also be used as a way to lure an overbearing defender further away from the basket so the ball handler can make a move to the hoop. Because a well-executed back dribble can cause the defender to relax by coming out of his/her defensive stance, even if only slightly, it can be a great transition into an explosive move. While the back dribble can be paired with a crossover or other moves to keep the defender off balance, the change of speed from a slow retreat to a fast attack toward the basket is the most important thing.