Zero Step: How to Take Advantage of This New Rule

The first point that you must bear in mind is that the new zero step rule in basketball only applies while you're progressing. It's also only relevant when you have one foot on the ground.
Zero Step: How to Take Advantage of This New Rule

Last update: 02 April, 2019

If you’re a basketball follower, you probably already know about the recent FIBA rule modification. This new rule introduces the “zero step” and it will bring international basketball closer to the NBA.

A brief explanation of zero step

Usually, when you receive the ball with one foot on the ground or progressing – or you keep the ball resting in one or both hands after every dribble – you can only make one more step. The foot already on the ground is considered to be your first step before you either pass or shoot the ball.

With the new steps ruling, during the first moment that you receive the ball with your foot on the ground is now considered to be your zero step. Hence the name of the rule – meaning you can still make your first and second steps before finishing your play.

If you were standing still when you received the ball, this new rule doesn’t apply. Nevertheless, this new ruling is an important evolution that will influence the FIBA’s offensive game.

With this modification, it’s clear to us that the FIBA is looking to benefit the offensive strategies, which always seemed to be pushed aside in order to benefit the defensive plays.

Improving the defense, physically and tactically, is easier than improving the offense. That’s why it’s acceptable to include this type of rule modification.

How to take advantage of the new zero step rule?

Now that you know what the zero step is, you might wonder how you can take advantage of it?

Many players and coaches, and even referees have given their opinions on this new rule. But, as we mentioned before, you can only take advantage of this rule when you are progressing.

Keeping this in mind, you can put the zero step into practice when you receive the ball while progressing or after finishing a dribble.

basketball plays, zero step

The best option is to combine both moments: when receiving the ball while progressing and having one foot on the ground (zero step) you make one step, then a second step and then pass the ball before you lift your first foot. This will allow you to advance on the court and avoid wasting your dribble.

By applying this rule, you can cover more meters on the court. You might even end up close enough to the basket to try to finish your play with a shoot.

At that moment -always with one foot on the ground and while moving- you initiate the play with your zero step, then, take the first step and second step. With this easy technique, you can travel to the middle of the court using only one dribble.

Other examples

We’re talking about other ways that you can (possibly) take advantage of this new rule. There are other technical plays where you could use the zero step:

  • Reverse: it’s important that you try to benefit from this play. From now on, the “steps” that used to be sanctioned are allowed.
  • Stop: since it’s a play that lays in the limit between progressing and being static, we can interpret that this new step rule can be applied for this play too.
  • Catch and Go: if you make a step to the right before receiving the ball, you can enjoy the step zero rule.
basketball plays zero step, basketball coach

When not to use the zero step

There is one foul called “traveling”, also known as “walking”. This happens when a player has taken more than two steps without dribbling the ball. Therefore, this maneuver is still sanctioned as “steps”.

If you want to “travel” through the court without committing a foul, you’ll have to dribble just before jumping and then finish your play with passing the ball. With this dribble play you can get past the defense.

However, coaches say that doing this won’t be necessary anymore. You’ll lose one step now the zero step rule has been approved.

What are your thoughts on this new FIBA rule? Do you think it will change the offensive game? Leave your comments below!

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