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How to spin with basketball

Basketball Spin Move

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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 his body 360 degrees while moving laterally to create space between himself and the defender.

Table of Contents

  • How To Perform A Spin Move
  • Common Mistake
  • When To Use A Spin Move
  • Combinations
  • Picking Up The Ball

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 his right hand to approach the defender. Once the ball handler reaches the defender, he gets low and puts his left shoulder into the defender’s chest. As the offensive player does this, he places his 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 his 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 his hand. 

The offensive player stops his forward progress, but leans forward, placing more weight on the ball of his left foot, making sure to stay balanced. He then pivots on his left foot and picks up his right foot, turning in a clockwise fashion so he is facing the opposite basket.

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

Common Mistake

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.


Pages Related to Basketball Spin Move

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  • Basketball Stance Types
  • Basketball Skills And Techniques
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  • Basketball Slam Dunk


How To Spin A Basketball On Your Finger

Steph Curry may be one of the best basketball players in the world, but in 2017 he admitted he couldn’t spin a basketball on his finger. He could be forgiven, considering he’s regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time, and as the greatest shooter in NBA history. Although, Handles Franklin and Scooter Christensen from the legendary Harlem Globetrotters were on hand to teach him this famous basketball trick.

The Harlem Globetrotters are an American exhibition basketball team, combining athleticism, theatre, and comedy in their style of play. Their acts often feature incredible coordination and skillful handling of one or more basketballs, such as passing or juggling balls between players, and balancing or spinning balls on their fingertips. It sure is impressive to watch. But have you ever tried to do it yourself? It’s not as easy as it looks, though almost anyone can learn how to do this famous basketball trick. Check out our step-by-step guide to learning how to spin a basketball on your finger like a pro.

Looking to improve your game? Any basketball player worth his salt will tell you learning the fundamentals and actually implementing them on court are two very different things! Our article, Basketball 101, gives you 5 ways you can be effective right from your very next game.

What do I need to spin a basketball?

Once you start learning how to spin a basketball on your finger, it can become quite addictive. You can really learn to spin a ball on any finger, though most people start with their index or middle finger.

This trick doesn’t require any special equipment, but here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Use an old basketball: It’s best to use an older basketball for this trick. One that’s worn and possibly even slick will spin easier on your finger. A new basketball will have more grip and will cause more friction, making it more difficult to spin.
  • Trim your fingernails: If your nails are too long it may make it more difficult to spin the ball. Or worse, you might bend a fingernail back which can be really painful. So you might want to give your nails a trim before you start.
  • Have plenty of space: When you’re just starting out, the ball is going to be flying all over the place. Beware of breakable objects in the house, and try to practice outside or in the garden if you can.
  • Be patient: It’s unlikely you’re going to be able to spin a basketball on your finger on your first go. This trick will take some time to master, and like any skill, you need to practice. You’ll need to do it over and over again until your muscle memory takes over and it becomes second nature.

Once you get really good at spinning a basketball on your finger, there are lots of different variations you can try. You can try spinning the ball on other things like your head or your toes. Or you can see how long you can keep it spinning for. Did you know, the longest time a person has been able to spin a basketball on one finger is more than 11 minutes? Narayan Bhattarai of Nepal set the record in 2018, and he practised for more than 15 months! But of course you can have fun without breaking records. So how do you actually spin a basketball on your finger?

How to spin a basketball on your finger?

Spinning a basketball on your finger, like any skill, takes practice. But it is something you can learn relatively quickly if you follow a few basic steps. Of course there is always more than one way to learn or do something, so you might find a better way that works for you. But here are our tips to get you started.

Step 1 - Get ready

Get an old basketball and find yourself some space. Spinning a basketball may not seem strenuous, but if you do it too hard or too quickly you can strain your wrists or even fracture a finger. So spend a minute or two stretching your fingers and arms to warm them up before you start.

Step 2 - Mastering the toss

Before you can spin the basketball on your finger, you need to first learn how to toss it up and spin it in the air. You want to get a good straight rotation and the faster it spins the better.

There are two methods of spinning the ball: the one-handed spin and the two-handed spin. The two-handed spin gives you more control and power, and allows you to get more speed on your initial spin. Though the one-handed spin does look cooler. You can use either or both, whichever works for you.


  1. Hold the ball at chest level in your dominant hand with the stripes vertical. Rest the ball on your fingertips with your hand at the bottom of the ball. Your thumb should be pointing away from your body.
  2. Twist your hand and fingers so that your thumb comes towards your body. As you are twisting your hand, move your hand slightly up in one motion and release the ball straight up into the air.
  3. Don’t worry about the speed to start off with, just concentrating on getting a good steady spin on the ball. And then once you have a consistent spin, you can increase the speed by putting more power into it.


  1. Hold the ball at about chest level on its side with the grips (black lines) vertical. Put one hand with your fingertips extended around the bottom of the ball and the other flat on the side.
  2. Twist your hands with a slight upwards motion, and spin the ball, releasing it up into the air. Don’t throw it too high in the air or you’ll lose control of the ball or injure yourself.
  3. At this point, just concentrate on getting a good feel of the ball and getting a good constant, stable spin in the air - you should see the stripes moving steadily around in a nice circle. You can then work on increasing the speed.

Step 3 - Spinning the basketball

Once you’re getting a good spin, you’re ready to try spinning the basketball on your finger. Use your preferred method to spin the ball up into the air, though be careful not to get too much height on it as you’ll lose control of the ball and you might hurt your finger.

Toss the ball up quickly but gently onto your index finger. Once you've mastered the speed and height of the ball toss, you should be able to catch the ball on your finger without too much difficulty. The closer you can keep your hand to the ball, the easier it will be. Keep your finger in the centre of the ball where the grooves meet - this position will make it easiest to keep the ball in a steady position. You might need to adjust the position of your finger slightly until the spinning ball is balanced on your finger.

Step 4 - Keeping it spinning

Eventually, the ball will begin to slow down and lose momentum. And if it slows too much it will fall. You can keep the ball spinning by slightly slapping the side of the ball with your free hand to keep it going. Make sure you do this lightly so you don’t knock the ball off of your finger.

Continue practising until you can balance the ball perfectly. It might take a while for you to master the spin, but you’ll get there if you practice every day. And once you’re able to spin the basketball for more than 30 seconds, you’re a pro!

Need a new basketball? There are different balls for all ages and skill levels, for training and competition. Take a look at our basketball size guide to help you find the right basketball for you.

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How to learn how to spin a basketball on your finger

To skillfully spin a basketball on your finger, you need to learn a few simple techniques, find the ball and set aside 10 minutes of training per day. After a week of practicing your skills, you will master the technique of this trick and show it to your friends. In the step-by-step instructions below, we will show you how to learn how to spin a basketball on your finger.

Tossing the ball correctly

You can train on the sports ground, near the house or even in the apartment, but in any place you need to take into account the environment. For example, when practicing a trick in a room, the ball can bounce and break fragile objects. When a place is found and inventory is prepared, you can begin training. Initially, you need to learn how to properly hold and throw the ball in the air:

  • Hold the ball with the stripes vertical. Horizontal scrolling looks ineffective and it is very difficult to catch a projectile from this position.
  • Select throw method:
    • Two hands. You need to keep the ball not on the sides, but so that 1 hand “looks” at you, and the second from you. Having fixed the object, sharply spread your arms and slightly “throw” the ball up.
    • With one hand. To throw with one hand, place your fingers along the lines of the ball. It is important that there is free space between the palm and the inventory. Lightly squeeze the ball. Turn the brush outward until it stops, and then gently turn it back. At the last moment, you need to give additional rotation to the ball with your fingertips. But we do not recommend using a large one, because. this will upset the balance and the ball will fly away.
  • Throw the ball parallel to the floor, do not allow the ball to wobble. It is important that when thrown, the projectile rises above eye level. When its bottom surface is visible, the ball is easier to catch.

These steps must be repeated until fully automated. Usually it takes two days. When the throws are confident, you can move on to the second level.

Learning to catch the ball

Once you have learned how to throw correctly, try catching the ball with your finger. To do this, remember the following nuances:

  • You need to catch the projectile on the nail, not the finger itself. In this case, it is important that the brush is turned with the palm towards you.
  • The finger must be placed strictly in the center, at the junction of the vertical lines, otherwise the ball will slide off.
  • When your finger touches the ball, gently and smoothly lower your hand down. So you will improve the cushioning, the inventory will not bounce, and you will not damage your finger.

This stage is one of the most difficult and requires patience on the part of the freestyler, athlete and just wanting to master the skill. When you learn how to catch the ball, at first it can control you: jump off and make you “run” after it to keep your balance. Be patient and keep practicing.

Once you are comfortable with a spinning ball, try to keep it spinning and spin it further. To do this, with light flapping movements, move your free hand along a tangent. But remember that strong twists can shift the center of gravity and the projectile will lose balance.


Here are some helpful tips from the pros:

  • practice throwing a few times a day before moving on to other stages;
  • workouts can be quite tiring, so take breaks between sets to give your hands a rest;
  • use only a well-inflated ball;
  • when accelerating the rotational movements, do not apply much force, otherwise the ball will slip off the finger;
  • Trim your nails before practicing, this will increase rotation control;
  • do not throw the ball very high: you can damage or break the phalanges;
  • You can reduce the risk of wrist injury by warming up before practicing the exercise.

Knowing how to spin a basketball on your finger and approaching the matter responsibly, in a week you will be able to show a cool trick to friends or sports colleagues.

Petr Gubanov: “The family couldn't pull two basketball players. The brother told his parents: "Drag Petya"0066

Online ” told how hard it is to be away from home at the age of 16, whether it is worth changing clubs every two or three years, and why a limit is needed in Russian basketball.

“It happens when you go out at ah rate” 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 – Piotr, what do you remember most from last season?

- It's just great that in the last playoff games the support of the fans was much more active than in the whole season. With such an atmosphere, with such stands ... Describing this state, I even get goosebumps. You feel that you are playing not only for yourself and the club, but also for the people who came to support. For this special “thank you” to the fans, their support gave impetus forward. We all felt when their emotions poured out on the judges, opponents.

- What was the "microclimate" in UNICS?

– The atmosphere in the team is good. We tried to make team trips more than once. And not only during the season, but also in the playoffs. For example, before the series with Zenit, the team went to the Blue Lake, made barbecue, spent the whole day in nature. In this regard, everything was fine: the guys talked on the site and outside it. Somewhere they could joke, somewhere they could talk seriously. It turns out that they not only prepared in the hall, but also tried to improve the team spirit.

- How do you feel on set? Focus, excitement, adrenaline rush?

– In the regular season, you want to justify the coach's trust, maintain the game rhythm, and not spoil the match. But these thoughts are spinning when you go to replace. And when you go out on the court, everything turns off, you are in the game. Sometimes acquaintances ask: “Did you hear I shouted to you during the match?”. You don't understand what it's about - you were so concentrated.

- Is it hard when you can't be in the game?

– There are moments when the coach makes a substitution and you are just emotionally sucked out. In fact, sitting on a bench is also work. The result of the game depends on many things. It is clear that what is happening on the site is important. But when the bench supports, emotions are transferred to teammates. After all, at any controversial moment - judges, not judges - you still worry, jump up, scream. There are games when, even with a small amount of time, you leave exhausted, as you tried to maintain energy on the bench. This is very exhausting.

- Let's say you set up that you will get little time. And then the coach makes an early change. Does it happen that it is not possible to rebuild?

- Predicting the outcome of a match is very difficult - you never know how this or that teammate will play. You can’t say to yourself: “Oh, anyway, I won’t get enough time today.” You have to tune in to every game, and during the match you can already see how everything is going. It is clear that it is difficult to serve 75 - 80 minutes and come out at the end. But we must be professionals in our field. You need to keep your thoughts on track.


- Your father is a truck driver.

- Former truck driver. He retired for health reasons. A very difficult profession. Mom said that he used to be at home two or three days a month, the rest of the time he was on the road. It is often said that a son follows in his father's footsteps. He traveled all over Russia on wheels, I - where by train, where by planes.

– When dad is not at home, one feels an additional responsibility for relatives. Did you grow up early because of this?

– I grew up early, probably because of basketball. Started practicing at the age of 7. When I got older, there were two workouts a day, and this had to be combined with study. At the institute, I have already come to the conclusion that it is impossible to study professionally and study well. But at the initial stage - the seventh - eighth grade - I tried to combine. In the summer we went to the camps, and there you can imagine: one coach and 30 children of 11-12 years old. Obviously, you need to take care of yourself. There were no washing machines - I washed the training uniform by hand.

Petr Gubanov (in the center)
Photo: Alexander Alexandrov /

Photo: Alexander Alexandrov /

- when for a long time you do not see your relatives, is it lost?

– At the age of 16-17 I already left home. I was taken to the youth CSKA, where Bazarevich worked at that time. After we won the Euroleague, I moved to Khimki. They rented an apartment for me there, I lived alone. The feeling of home was really lost. Let me give you one example to explain how. Four years ago my mother passed away. I don't think I understand it to this day. I lived without parents for so long that I got used to it - I was in one city, and they were in another. Now I sometimes have the feeling that I will come home to Samara, and she will meet me. Because of this, I understand that the feeling of home is lost.

– Don't you think that life is full of work, and because of this you miss everything in the world?

– What to do. That's how it works: if you don't work, you won't live. After all, you want to give a good future to children, but without work it is impossible to do this.

- In high school, they probably looked at peers who lived a different life. And you have a clear schedule, workouts, training camps, a healthy lifestyle. Didn't you feel like a "white crow"?

– A healthy lifestyle is not about professional sports. When I switched from children's basketball to men's, the workloads changed. I realized that health is about physical education. And professional sports kill health. I could feel like a “black sheep” if the university would make indulgences. But to be honest, I haven't seen it. Despite the fact that we played for the university, brought victories, medals, many teachers managed during the session ...

– Heat?

– They used to say: “Here we have Arthur. He is professionally engaged in boxing and at the same time he studies well! Well, the teacher is in his 70s. You can’t explain to her that if Arthur is a good student, then he doesn’t play sports so seriously. I don't know about other sports, but in basketball you just can't miss practice. Otherwise, they will put a cross on you. And when there are two classes a day, then it is unrealistic to combine this with the institute. Of course life gets more serious. You have a routine. You are doing your favorite thing, which brings pleasure, pleasure.

- Was Jordan your favorite player? Or was it more like an older brother?

– My two brothers, my brother and my cousin, played basketball for a short time. My cousin, the oldest of us, quit when I first started. Native went into boxing. The family could not financially pull two basketball players. My brother considered that I had more potential, made a gesture in my direction and told my parents to drag Petya. I didn’t have such that my brother was an idol - unfortunately, in basketball we parted ways early. My favorite player has always been Michael Jordan. Now people often ask who is better - James or Jordan, and I don't understand it. Playstyles are completely incompatible. LeBron has athleticism, he's rushing. Michael could use physics, and height, and jumping ability, and something else. Only one basketball player has a similar style - Kobe Bryant.


– Raising a basketball player child is a big stress for parents. The chances of getting to the highest level are single. Have you ever thought that so much has been invested in you that there is no room for error?

– Of course, there was a sense of responsibility. My parents, thanks to them for this, understood that I myself grow up early because of basketball. Therefore, they didn’t tell me: “Put emphasis on your studies!”, “This basketball will not give you anything in life!” or “Forget about this study - you are good at basketball!”. When they started pulling me up at Samara Sports Club, my father and mother said: “You are an adult guy, you see your future yourself.” At such times, no restrictions were imposed. Although the risk was very high - where to go without education, if it doesn't work out? I was just given to understand that the choice between basketball and study is mine.

– Russian basketball players have to change clubs every two or three years. What is it like when there is not enough stability in life?

- This does not apply to everyone. There is, for example, Andrei Vorontsevich, who spent his entire career at CSKA. But many players do have to change teams frequently. First of all, it is hard for the family. Personally, at such moments I feel sorry for my son, for my wife. They, too, must have a life. When you are in one place, friends, company, hobbies, work appear. I have changed many clubs. But sometimes I catch myself thinking that if I had stayed somewhere else for a few more years, everything would have turned out differently.

Photo: Sergey Yelagin Is this the correct opinion?

- I don't think so. The juice itself is from 28 to 32. But, of course, everyone is different. Take Petya Samoilenko. Damn, respect and respect for this player. He has so much health that he is still playing at 39. Judging by the feedback from the guys, he was not inferior to anyone in Sakhalin in training and in matches. Everyone plays for as long as their body allows. To peak form fit at 29- 30 years. I recently read an interview with Anton Ponkrashov, he said that he had never felt better than in his 30s.

- Nevertheless, he was not called up to the national team ... get on the team. I was scared for him, I thought that some kind of tragedy had happened. But for him it is really a tragedy - the man was in all the teams that won medals.

- Did you meet with Samoylenko? He was in Kazan during the last games of the season.

– We called each other but did not see each other. It is necessary to understand and respect the fact that a person after 10 months of basketball returns home to his family. It is somehow inconvenient to pull it out in the first days.

- Can you explain why Samoilenko is cool?

- This player is primarily strong as a captain. It is important to understand that the player who scores the most points is not always appointed as the captain. Samoylenko does everything to make it pleasant to be in the same five on the court with him. And off the court, he also unites the team, he can talk at the right moments.

- Soon everyone will be saying that the national team plays speed basketball. Can you describe Bazarevich's style? How does his basketball differ, say, from what Karasev puts on?

- I played with Bazarevich, but not with Karasev. When you are inside, it is easier to understand all the features. From the outside, it's not the same. In fast basketball, the emphasis is on counterattacks. Now is the time that one cannot do without protection - it is in it that the accents will be placed. There is also a transition - a quick combination when moving from defense to attack. At the time when I played in Bazarevich's team, five more could follow from one such interaction. You didn't just go on the attack and play something positional. Everything happened instantly: the ball went to the left - one combination, to the right - another.

– How are all these combinations remembered? After all, there are a huge number of them, and people are not computers.

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