Basketball Spin Move

Basketball Spin Move

A spin move in basketball is a move used by an offensive player with the ball to get by the defense. It involves the ball handler getting to a defender and spinning their body 360 degrees while moving laterally to create space between themself and the defender.

How to Perform a Spin Move

The instructions here pertain to a spin move that starts with the ball in the player’s right hand. For a spin move that starts in the player’s left hand, simply reverse the directions.

To start, the offensive player begins by dribbling the ball in their right hand to approach the defender. Once the ball handler reaches the defender, they get low and put their left shoulder into the defender’s chest. As the offensive player does this, they place their left foot, angled to the right, between the defender’s feet. Both feet should be on the court at this point.

Simultaneously, the ball handler takes a strong, but controlled, dribble. This allows the offensive player to keep their hand on top of the ball through the entire move while still being in control of it. A stronger dribble will give the ball handler more time with the ball in their hand. 

The offensive player stops their forward progress, but leans forward, placing more weight on the ball of their left foot, making sure to stay balanced. They then pivot on their left foot and pick up their right foot, turning in a clockwise fashion so they are facing the opposite basket.

Now, the ball handler’s body weight shifts to the heel of their left foot as they continue to swing their right foot around. This foot should not stretch very far from the pivot foot. As the offensive player spins back so they are facing the defender again, they take one more dribble with their right hand. This dribble, however, should be snatched back and end up in their left hand to make sure the ball is protected. Finally, the offensive player pushes off their right leg and blows by the defender.

Common Mistakes During Spin Moves

One thing for players to avoid when performing a spin move is transferring the ball to their other hand immediately after taking that strong, controlled dribble discussed before. This makes it more difficult to get away from the defender and gives the defender an opportunity to steal the ball.

When to Use a Spin Move

A dribbler can use a spin move in a few different situations. The first is in the open court, when the defender is pressing, or at least playing far away from his team’s basket. A quick, explosive spin move against a defender in this position can put the ball handler ahead of the defensive player and set up a good possession for the offense.

A spin move can also be used to find an opening for a jump shot. With the defender on the offensive player’s hip, the offensive player can create an open window to shoot the ball.

Moreover, a spin move is good for layups or other shots close to the basket. This can mean beating the offensive player’s initial defender near the basket or against help defenders who are scrambling to help their teammate.

Finally, a spin move can be used as a reaction to good initial defense. When a defender beats the ball handler to the spot, the ball handler can smoothly transfer his forward momentum into a spin move that will set him up in the other direction, away from the primary defender. The spin move as a reaction or counter can be incorporated into any of the three above uses.


Setting up a spin move can help it to be more effective. Either stepping in the direction away from the intended spin move or crossing over, for example, can help to move the defender in the other direction. This will create more space between the ball handler and the defender.

Picking Up the Ball

On some plays, the ball can be picked up after the dribble that starts the move off. Picking the ball up is effective if the ball handler is in heavy traffic and needs to protect the ball. As long as the player shoots the ball, or at least gets rid of it, by the time he takes two steps, this is not a traveling violation.


What is a spin move in basketball?

A spin move is a 360 turn made by a ball-handler to evade a defender. The move is used constantly at all levels of basketball, as it has proven to be a successful way to elude defenders. Some of the best ball-handlers in the world turn to the spin move every time the step on the court.

Is the spin move difficult to learn in basketball?

The spin move is generally considered to be one of the most difficult skills to master when learning basketball. The spin move is difficult to learn because it is very easy to make a mistake that would turn it into a traveling violation. It is also difficult for new players to learn to spin effectively due to the disorienting nature of the spin, which can throw off aim and direction.