Triple-Threat Position in Basketball

What is the Triple-Threat Position in Basketball?

Don’t know what the triple-threat position in basketball is? It’s just a position that allows the ball-handler to shoot, dribble, or pass. Read on to learn some tips and tricks on how to use it effectively.

It was in the mid-90s and I was “chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin all cool…shootin’ some B-ball outside of the school.”

My teammate passed me the ball and I caught it. But since I was standing up straight, holding the ball above my head after receiving it, my defender got all up on me.

I couldn’t do anything.

He gave me no room to breathe and eventually, swiped the ball out of my hands.

The next possession, the same thing happened.

I didn’t know what to do. Frustration started to boil up in me.

So, one of my teammates said, “get into the triple-threat position after getting the ball.”

I nodded my head in agreement. But I really didn’t know what the heck he was talking about.

In my mind, I thought he wanted me to start dancing while singing while acting out a monologue.

“What in the world is the triple-threat position?” I thought, but actually said out loud because my teammate heard me and came up to me after our opponents scored to show me it.

He got into the stance and said that this position is what I want to get into after catching a pass. The reason why is that it allows me to do three things: dribble away, pass, or shoot. 

It also protects the ball from the defence, allowing me time to read the court and decide what I wanted to do.

Now that I’m thinking about it as I write this, this was a very highly intelligent young basketball player.

We were only in elementary school and this pre-teen knows so much about basketball. It’s like, I’m making this story up or something.


After I learned how to use the triple-threat position, I rarely ever got stripped…when I was in that position that is.

I still got the ball stolen from me almost every time when I tried to dribble away.

My ball-handling skills were not up to snuff. But that’s another story for another time (and you can read it here if you do have time).

How To Use The Triple-Threat Position In Basketball

After reading that story, you’re probably wondering right now how to effectively use the triple-threat position. I got you.

Watch the following video from USA Basketball and read my key notes:

Key Notes:

  • Your shooting foot should be ahead while in the triple-threat position
  • Hold the ball in a position where you can do the three things: dribble, shoot, and pass
  • Holding the ball above your head will give your defender room to clamp you up. Thus, DON’T do it!
  • Keep your head up and face the basket while in the triple-threat position to be able to read the court
  • Use the jab step in this position to see how the defender reacts. This could also be used to create space

How The Triple-Threat Position Is Useful

Aside from this position allowing you to attack, assist, and shoot, it can also help you make plays.

The triple-threat position is a secure stance. What this means is that the ball will be well protected and can easily be moved away from active hands.

Thus, you can spend time reading the defence and offence while in this position and not have to worry too much about the ball getting stolen. You will have a moment to decide what to do next.

You can also deke out defenders while in the triple-threat position.

You can jab step, shot fake, or fake pass here to see how the defender reacts. If you are able to get him to bite, then you’ll have more clarity as to what move or play you should do.

Final Thoughts

Many of the best guards and wings start their possession off in the triple-threat position. It allows them to figure out the defence and read the offence.

So, if you want to be an elite average Joe or Jane, you have to master this position and be comfortable in it.


P.S. If you’re struggling to get better at basketball, you may be doing something wrong. This is why you need to check out my Old Man Game Activity Guides and Planners. They’re convenient training systems that will help you work on your fundamentals and conditioning. Click here to learn more about them.