If you try to charge through an opposing basketball player, officials will charge you with a foul. But how do you pass a player from the opposing team so you can have a clear shot at the basket? One way to achieve this goal is by doing a nutmeg.
Nutmeg is a sports move that requires the offensive player to quickly move away when the defense of the defensive player relaxes. It’s a challenging move as athletes need keen eyes to notice the change in posture and movement before they can try to push for the goals.
The first step to doing the nutmeg in basketball is to understand how the move works. Here, you’re going to learn how to do this move so you have a better idea of how to execute it when you’re on the court.
Nutmeg is a move wherein offensive players will dribble the ball between the defending player’s legs. This action doesn’t only exist in basketball as it also exists in other sports, namely soccer. Other names for this move include megs, megnuts, codling, or tunneling.
Many players on the receiving end of this move would feel ashamed as it can mean that their defense is wide open. On the other hand, the player executing the action would feel a sense of elation as taking advantage of this move is no easy feat.
Most basketball beginners fail in executing a nutmeg because they don’t have enough experience to judge when the defender’s legs are open enough for the ball to pass through. Conversely, veteran players can find it easier to dribble or pass the ball through defending players’ legs. However, if the defender has experience in blocking this action, the offensive player would still find it tough to act efficiently.
Where Does the Term Nutmeg Come From?
The term nutmeg in basketball or other sports comes from a claim in the 1940s to describe a player’s skill to placing, dribbling, or passing the ball between an opposing player’s legs.
However, it can also come from the book Over the Moon by Alex Leith. Here, the author states that nutmeg comes from the language of football wherein the nuts, which refer to a man’s testicles, are exposed.
How to Nutmeg a Player?
Nutmegging isn’t something that’s accomplishable on the first try. It can take months or years of practice before a basketball player can perform it with little to no hassle. But, like any other learnable skill, to nutmeg another player requires feeding your mind with the correct information on how to execute the action. Despite the difficulties, to nutmeg an opposing player can earn you some brownie points.
Kindly note that different nutmegging styles exist in basketball. Some players have to look for distinct tells when they can initiate the move. Beginners can try to use two techniques to start learning this skill.
The First Method to Nutmeg in Basketball
The first, and perhaps easier way to nutmeg another player is when you’re playing a 5-on-5 match.
The scenario should look similar to the following setting: you’re on the defensive rebound and an opposing player is already waiting for you when your feet touch the ground. Running past the defender isn’t a good idea as it would give the individual several chances to steal the ball.
Instead, go for the backcourt steal; attempt to fake the defender by trying to move past through his sides. This action should make the individual open his legs wide. At this point, dribble the ball as quickly and efficiently as you can between his legs. Then, make sure you have enough speed to catch the ball on the other side so you can make a clean getaway.
The Second Method to Nutmeg in Basketball
Another technique to nutmeg in basketball is when you’re dribbling near the sideline. Here, an opposing player on the defense should come running to you to block your attempts to pass, shoot, or move forward.
However, most basketball players would do a wide blocking stance since you’re in a position where you can do several things. Take this opportunity to nutmeg the individual.
How to Pass with a Nutmeg
Most of the time, it’s easier to pass the ball using a nutmeg than catching the ball on the other side of the defending player. In many cases, other teammates of the opposing team are already ready and waiting to steal the ball if the offensive player fails to nutmeg correctly.
Therefore, instead of running around the defending player during a nutmeg, you can stay in place. Let your other teammates handle the scoring for you if the opportunity exists.
Seeking the opportunity to pass with a nutmeg is just as difficult as doing the move and running behind a defender. It can take several failed attempts before you can perform the move successfully. Keep at it, and you’ll know when the defending player’s legs are wide enough for the ball to pass through.
Remember, basketball is a team sport unless you’re playing a 1-on-1 match. So count on your teammates as they also rely on your skills while you’re on the court.
Pull off the nutmeg during a basketball game and watch as the crowd goes wild. This move is quite challenging and requires many practice and official matches to master.
But once you know the signs to pull off the move, you’ll know when to throw the ball between a defender’s legs to dribble or pass to a teammate. Becoming quite skilled in this action can put your team one step closer to victory.