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What is A Backdoor in Basketball? Explained With Tips!

The term back door in basketball isn’t the secret way into the stadium to watch your favorite team play in the playoffs when tickets are all sold out. No, the back door in basketball is a strategic play used to get open and score a basket.

What exactly is a back door in basketball? The back door starts with the ball handler at the top of the three-point line or further looking to pass the ball to his teammate on the wing. The back door works best when the player is being heavily guarded by the defense. Once the player being denied the pass goes towards the ball looking to receive the pass he will instead cut towards the basket by slipping behind the defender and catch the pass from the ball handler. This is why it’s called the back door.

To further explain the back door and how to effectively use it, continue reading, I will explain the Dos and Don’ts to scoring more points with a counter to when the back door doesn’t work.

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Why use the back door cut in basketball?

In basketball, if you are one to stand around the three-point line ready to shoot the ball, I can guarantee you don’t score a lot of points. Basketball is a difficult game as it is to score baskets.

You really need to mix things up and have the defense guessing what it is you are doing. If you are not aggressive on offense you will not be able to put up the points you really want in a game.

Simple plays like the give-and-go and back door are all great tactics that you can use to score more points.

I will be honest you will have a difficult time scoring easy baskets if you don’t have teammates who can pass well and have good court vision on offense, but there is an easy solution to this more on this later.

Don’t be alarmed by bad teammates, for the 5 back door attempts you may try in a game you may only receive the pass once. That is just the nature of the sport, nothing works all the time, but hard work and determination.

But when successful, using the back door can lead to an easy layup or made shot from prime scoring positions.

At first glance, this may be difficult for you to pull off, but you will realize quickly that you can still use it often because if it doesn’t work you can have a counter-movement and still get open, more on that later.

How to use the back door? Dos And Don’ts


  • Communicate with your teammate the back door.
  • Go towards the passer first.
  • Cut hard behind the player towards the basket.
  • Use a swim movement if necessary to separate yourself from the player.


  • Don’t cut back door if the defense is sagging off you.
  • Don’t jog back door.
  • Don’t give up on the play, use the counterplay.
  • Don’t give away your movements, commit one way and sprint the other way.
  • Do not attempt the back door if your ball handler is not looking.

What is the counter backdoor?

The counter back door is not really a term, I just made it up. But what you want to do if you tried going back door and it doesn’t work or you don’t get the pass, you will want to cut back towards the ball.

This is because the defense has you covered in the back door but if you turn on go back to the ball you should be open for a shot if you curl or V-cut out for the open shot.

This is almost a reverse back door or also called a V-Cut in basketball. I use this a lot to get open shots. You will need to have a quick jumper but it is deadly if you are a good shooter.

Remember you want to fake as if you are getting the ball at the wing from the passer. Cut back door and if you are covered come back to the ball and you should be able to curl and shoot the open shot.

You want to commit several steps in each direction and not be choppy or shorten the backdoor. You must look committed and the defense will be too.

The key to making the back door successful?

The key to making this successful is the ball handler and the pass. The point guard must be looking towards his/her teammate. If they are not, make no attempt to go back door, it’s a waste of energy. 

The player must take a couple of steps towards the ball handler who is also dribbling to the same side as the player is planning to go back door.

A pass fake is necessary and will make the defense bite on the player even more thinking they can steal the ball off the pass.

The player will cut hard instead and will be open. If the player receives the ball and is met with help defense, prepare for a contact layup.

If the player is not comfortable they can use a floater or short jump for their shot selection. This will be up to the player’s strengths.

Player Communication

If you want to score more points in general talk to your best passer and point guard. You should be talking about strategy in the game and what you can do to get an edge on the defense.

These mini-plays like the back door are great ways to get more scoring opportunities in the game and coaches never frown upon them.

Communicating what you’re going to do next play is crucial and you won’t need to wonder if the player with the ball will hopefully see you.

You have just communicated what you are going to do and now he’s on the same page ready to try and make it happen. 

The back door is great for players who are able to jump over their opponents, it’s an easy way to throw lobs or alley oops.

I can throw the pass high without having to worry about the defense intercepting the pass. Keep that in mind.

The last thing you want to do when it comes to communicating with your point guard and planning a play is forcing the shot or play.

When the play doesn’t present itself it is a good idea to abandon it for the time being.


The back door is a fundamental basketball that has been around since the time basketball was invented and is an integral option for most team’s offenses, added it to your play book and score more points.