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How to Set a Pick in Basketball

Basketball is a sport that shows off an athlete's athletic ability to run, jump and rise to the moment competitively. A powerful dunk or a long three-pointer may bring the crowd to its feet, but it is often the moves that can't be measured statistically that can mean the difference between winning and losing. One of those things is the pick. Using your body to give a teammate a little more room to shoot or start a drive to the basket won't get you noticed by the fans, but it will win you a pat on the back from your teammates and coaches.

Step 1
Know the match-ups in the game. If you are a solid player on your team but not a spectacular scorer, your teammates and coaches will expect you to do the little things to help your team win. One of those things is to set a pick. If you know that your top player likes to go to his right to get his shot, move to his defender's left shoulder and stand still, blocking his way.

Step 2
Stick out your chest, widen your feet, bend your knees and keep your head up. You are setting a pick. You are not going to run into the defender, but she may run into you. Either way, your position will allow your team's best shooter to slide behind you and get at least a few inches of an opening for a drive or a shot.

Step 3
Keep your hands in close to your body. The defender will try to slide around you and you will want to stop him. However, you can't do this with your hands. That's a foul. Keep your hands tight to your hips or midsection in order to keep from fouling while setting a pick.

Step 4
Stick your butt out as you set your pick. This will give your screen more depth, and will give the shooter more time and space to assess the shot she has--and perhaps a fraction of a second more to take the shot. It will make the shooting opportunity more viable and more likely to result in a made basket.

Step 5
Keep your feet still. The shooter will likely run a step or two to get free, and the defender will certainly move his feet to get near the shooter, but the screener cannot move. That's a violation called a moving pick, and if the referee makes that call, your opponent will get the ball.