in bound basketball plays
Basketball Strategies

Simple Basketball Plays For Youth- Take Command of Pressure Situations

There are basketball plays made for every possible situation you could find your team in. Search the net, and you’ll find plays for when the team is down by three points with seconds on the clock;

for when you are up by two points with a minute and a half remaining; for when your point guard gets fouled out with two minutes to go; and for when your center gets fouled out in the first half. Name the situation, and you’ll find a basketball play designed to work with it.

Your coaching strategies need to include some of these along with your usual offensive plays, but we need to do this within reason – we will not have enough time in the season to spend rehearsing plays for every eventuality – there are just too many possible situations and not enough time in the day.

But there are some situations that we do need to be well prepared for because the likelihood of having them pop up in a game is very high.simple basketball plays for youth

We can pretty much expect to need to inbound the ball at some point every game, and although most leagues have ditched the jump ball on held balls in favor of alternating possession, games still begin with a jump ball. And of course, teams press, trying to rattle our offense and force turnovers.

We don’t want to overload or overwhelm our plays with too many plays, but we want them to feel confident when they come up against these pressure situations.

So choose some of the plays below to teach your team and prepare them well to take control of these situations.

In-bounding the Ball

Whenever a dead ball is called in our favor, we need to get the ball inbounds. On the surface of it, this appears to give the defense a bit of an advantage – we effectively have one of our plays out of the action (the inbounder), and so the numbers game on the court goes to our opponent.

But this also gives us control over the situation, and if we use that control right, we can not only get the ball inbounds but score while we are doing bound basketball plays


The trick is to focus your team on aggressively trying to score – not just to get the ball inbounds, but to make some points off the inbounds play.

The Sideline Inbounds Play and the Baseline Inbounds Play are both designed to open up scoring opportunities. Also, try the Baseline Stack Inbounds Play – an excellent play that should help you put points on the scoreboard.

So you need to have one or two basketball plays to handle inbounding situations – I never use more than two, since you usually only need them a couple of times in a game and there are plenty of other things I need my practice time for. But I always have one sideline inbounds play and one baseline inbounds play.

Breaking the Press

Another situation that will crop up regularly – too regularly some coaches would say – is the press. Being pressed can be a frightening thing, and teams that aren’t ready for it often give up the ball many times before the press is called off. And some teams will press the entire game if they know it’s working.defensive basketball plays

Against this pressure, you need a basketball plays that will attack the press, will constantly look for opportunities to score, and will carve out its opportunities.

You can’t be defensive against a press or you will be eaten alive. Attack it aggressively, score against it, and make your opponent call off the press because they get tired of being scored against.

Otherwise, your opponent will press you all game long.

Be sure you have a good press break to work against a full-court press – here are a few options:

  • this 1-4 Press Break is easy to teach and easy to run and very effective against the most common full-court zone presses (1-2-1-1 / Diamond)
  • or try this Stack Press Break if the defense is man-to-man
  • or check out this Full Court Press Break along with its Press Break Options page, which can be applied against any style of press

As well, you want a solid Half Court Press Break to help you score in these situations (you can also check out more ideas on breaking the half-court press).

Other Situations

Other special situations occur now and again that special basketball plays would help you deal with. You should have a Jump Ball Strategy, for instance, though this wouldn’t require a great deal of practice.

And as I mentioned earlier, most leagues have gotten rid of the jump balls after a held ball, so you should only expect to need a jump ball play once a game.

But since it is the very first play of the game, it would be nice to assert control right away.

You should also have a simple Last Second Shot Strategy, for those games in which we find ourselves down by one with a couple of seconds left to play.

But this situation may arise two or three times the entire season (hopefully!), so spending a large chunk of practice on a play for it is likely not the best use of your practice time.

Plays don’t need dozens of basketball plays floating around in their heads. They need solid, basic skills, good conditioning, and a good idea of what they should do in certain situations. For sure, practice these plays, especially the press breaks and inbounds plays since they are used so often. Be sure your team can use them effectively.

But stick to the simpler plays, and there is hardly ever a need to have two or three plays for each situation. You’ll spend too much practice time teaching plays that may only be used a handful of times the entire season, and your plays won’t remember them anyway.

I’ve only ever used one play per situation – usually, the ones listed above – and as long as I’ve done a good job teaching the team how to run them, we’ve always come out on top.

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basketball practice model
Basketball Strategies

Basketball Practice Plan- How to Create a Powerful Team

Preseason basketball practice makes or breaks the team. A good pre-season will develop players – their conditioning, their fundamental basketball skills, their attitude, and their ability to work together.

And it develops basketball teams. Because a team is more than just a bunch of guys wearing the same basketball shirt.

Basketball Practice Plan For a Powerful Team

Basketball Practice Success Begins at the Beginning

Coaching basketball begins with tryouts, not with the first game of the season. It is on the first day of tryouts that you begin to build your team.

Know what to look for during tryouts – the skills and abilities that will be important for players to demonstrate – and organize your tryout practices with excellent tryout drills to help you make your decisions.Basketball Practice plan

Part of your tryout process may be to use basketball tryout stations to help you evaluate players during tryouts, an approach that I favor although, for a coach in a small school, without help and resources, it can be a little challenging to carry out the stations smoothly.

It is these first few basketball practices that will inform you what skills you need to focus on and what abilities your players will be bringing to the team – be sure to perform solid player evaluations during tryouts and in the first few pre-season practices so you can set appropriate player goals and team goals, so all of your players – and thus your team – can develop throughout the pre-season.

And then the work begins…

Once your team has been chosen, it’s time to buckle down and get working. Every basketball practice is one more opportunity to improve, one more chance to become better than the opponents you will face, and you can’t waste any of these opportunities. Plan well.

Starting with your season overview, develop your practice goals, and work them into practice plans so that you consistently develop stronger players and stronger teams.

I don’t know if this can be stressed enough – practices need to be well planned and organized, progressive in that you build on what you have done previously, and ultimately each practice needs to push you towards your overall goal.

If you aren’t organized, if you show up without a plan and a concrete vision for what you want to accomplish, your team will not develop to the best of their abilities.

Basketball Practice organisation

Ultimately, the success of your team comes down to you, the coach. There is a saying in sports – “If the team wins, it’s because of the players.

If the team loses, it’s because of the coach.” Well, let’s face it – we’re not here for the glory. We do our job well, and people will comment on the incredible talent of our players.

Develop players to the best of their abilities, so that when they get to the game they can be confident and competitive. Create good practice plans, teach your basketball drills well to develop good fundamental skills, and organize your team on the floor so they can perform successfully.

If you do everything right, you’ll probably win more games than you lose. But remember it’s always an ongoing process – reflect on what works and doesn’t work during practice, and make changes as you go along. Not only will your players improve, but so will you as a coach.

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Fast break basketball
Basketball Strategies

Eight Alternative Strategies for Defensive Rebounding

It helps to have a size in the sport of basketball. I have had the luxury of coaching size with talent, speed, and heart. Those teams won a lot of games. I have also had the luxury of coaching teams without size, much speed but lots of heart.

Those teams won a lot of games. One of my favourite teams of all time went 29-9, won an undefeated district title, advanced deep into the state playoffs and did not have a player over six feet tall, except our excellent but undersized 6’2″ centre.

The common wisdom of the sport says size matters, and it does when it comes to rebounding. You will win a lot of games with great rebounding. Or can you? It may require a considerable bit of rethinking of how you teach and coach the game as a coach, but it can be done.

Here are eight Strategies for Defensive Rebounding to consider to help resolve your team’s defensive rebounding problems.

First, let me get a couple of things clear. Defensive rebounding matters and size is a factor. These ideas are a bit out of the box, but they will cause problems for the opponent if you, as a coach, teach these ideas, make them habits and stick with them.Strategies for Defensive Rebounding


There is no escaping the need to rebound defensively, and the idea is to reduce the problem to a manageable level if your team struggles with defensive rebounding.

Number One:

Rely on turnovers instead of defensive rebounds. If the opponent does not get a chance to shoot the ball, you don’t have to worry about the defensive rebound. Consider a high-pressure defence designed to force a huge number of turnovers.

Half-court traps and pressure denial man-to-man with traps like the famed North Carolina Scramble defence are effective. Complete court trapping defences, zone or man-to-man, can be equally effective.

For small teams with speed and quickness, this is a fantastic approach. It has the advantage of attacking the opponent, forcing the opponent to react to what your team is doing, and not focusing on taking advantage of its size and rebounding strength.

Number Two:

Encourage the 3-point shot in certain situations – long rebounds are like loose balls. If the opponent is an OK outside shooting team or a poor one, consider encouraging the 3-point shot. Play a defence that fiercely contests all interior shots, whether by penetration, cutting or feeding the post, but concedes the outside shot.

Missed 3-point shots take much longer rebounds, about half the distance from where the shot was taken. This reduces, to a degree, the size advantage of the larger team. The rebounds are more like loose balls than rebounds, making quickness to the ball as big an issue as size and position. If the opponent has one great shooter, they pressure that shooter and let the rest cast up long-range 3-point attempts all game long.3-point shot

This tactic has to be practised, and the emphasis should be on being the first to the ball and either controlling it or deflecting it to an open area on the court where possession can be obtained. It should be combined with an overall emphasis on obtaining every loose ball.

Number Three:

Consider adjusting your help side positioning. The closer your help defenders are to their defensive assignments, the quicker they can block out. In certain situations, this may render your defence a bit more vulnerable (well, there is no way about it), but you have to consider if the trade-off is worth the quicker block-out times.

Number Four:

Send the point guard to the weak side or middle – the other team’s point guard will be getting back on defence or moving towards balancing the floor to prevent a fast break.
Let’s face it, how many point guards rebound? Nearly every team sends its point guard back to prevent the fast break.

This should allow your point guard to be a free, extra rebounder. Since 80% of missed shots rebound on the side of the goal opposite from the side, the shot was taken (can you believe someone charted that?), run the point guard to that side of the court. Not only will it provide you with an extra, gratis, unblocked rebounder, but this is also the quickest possible way to initiate a fast break.

Number Five:

Pick who you block out – play percentages and flood the weak side with multiple rebounders. Some players are just not going to rebound well. When confronted with an exceptional rebounder, it might be an excellent strategy to find the one player, other than the point guard, who does not rebound effectively and not block that player out.

Use the defender ordinarily responsible for that player to double block out the gifted rebounder. Be sure to send the point guard into the area to improve the chances of obtaining the rebound.

Number Six

Turn rebounds into loose balls – tip the ball into the short corner and run it down. Don’t slug it out with a heavy weight; you’ll lose. Try to tip the ball to the short corner, the area between the goal and the corner, near the baseline and behind the backboard.

By tipping the ball to a general area, your team will have a greater chance of running down the ball. If the opponent does secure the offensive rebound, it is a difficult location of the court to score from, requiring the opponent to set up their offence, giving your defence time to reset.

Number Seven:

Fast break on every opportunity – teams stop crashing the offensive glass to get back. This may seem more like an offensive tactic, but it works, especially against deliberate teams. Opponents who fear the fast break are vulnerable to this tactic.

Fast break

Deliberate teams heavily emphasise defensive transition to prevent the fast break, allowing them to control the game’s tempo and keep the pace slow; they will often concede the offensive rebound to make a defensive transition.

Number Eight:

Emphasize obtaining the rebound more than blocking out. Heresy, I know. But as I said before size matters. In this case, the size of the rebounder’s heart is the level of desire to obtain the ball. The issue should never be how the ball is obtained but that possession is obtained legally, without fouling or turning the ball over.

To effectively use any or all of these concepts, they must be practised daily and emphasized. Remember, players, do not know what their coach teaches but what their coach emphasizes!

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Fast break basketball
Basketball Strategies

12 Pointers to Improve Your Primary Fast Break Attack

Don’t you hate it when your team generates a turnover or can get the outlet from the defensive rebound, gets the numbers on the break, and does not finish?!

These twelve-pointers will help your players finish their primary breaks and increase your scoring, even if you play a deliberate style of basketball.

Improve Your Primary Fast Break Attack

  1. Must have 5-6 look-a-heads every game – this is how you win!improve Fast Break Attack
  2. Must be able to score every time in a 2-on-1 situation.
  3. Get wide first –then attack!
  4. Concept of best – players know who is “best” – the best handler handles – the best finisher finishes.
  5. Turn all 3-on-1 and 3-on-2 situations into a 2-on-1 situation
  6. Never away from the best scorer to shift the defense over and create space – this is how you create a 2-on-1
  7. Put the ball in your hand opposite the direction you will never in, i.e. if you veer to your right, dribble with your left hand.
  8. Give the cutter the ball where they can do something with it.
  9. Cutters and penetrators must be able to finish at the rim – teach power lay-ups!
  10. The ball handler should never penetrate after passing – should step to the ball side “T” for a return pass.
  11. If the cutter cannot score, they should quickly stop and “Euro” the ball back to the passer.
  12. If you cannot score, post up the post, fill the perimeter spots, and swing the ball.

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basketball Strength and Conditioning tips
Basketball Strategies

Strength and Conditioning Tips for Top Basketball Performance

Proper conditioning is essential for athletic performance and health, as well as preparing your body for the rigors of competition and the demands of your sport. Adequate conditioning only takes a little talent, but it does take a certain amount of intelligence (to do it right).

Top conditioning separates men from boys, the women from girls. It seems all so simple; it makes you think about how it all can go wrong. It’s common sense, but it shows you that common sense is rare.

Here are a few of my top conditioning tips to help you raise your game.

Train Body Weight

Bodybuilding still has an iron grip on the iron game and, sadly enough, sports performance. The beginning of your strength routine should have nothing to do with iron in the first place.

Some overenthusiastic coaches will have the athletes start with benching, which could be better. The chance of acquiring an injury is too great; begin your strength training with the basics.

basketball Strength and Conditioning tips

Train your body weight before using weights or any other external resistance. Many athletes scoff at mentioning bodyweight exercises, like bodyweight exercises are only for punks. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Body weight exercises are f—ing hard! Athletes have no business benching or squatting until they can control their body, stabilizing their shoulder girdle and core by doing push-ups and full squats.

I can’t count how many athletes I’ve witnessed load up the bar for their squat and bench press (and execute these exercises with poor form) while they can only correctly do a full squat or one-leg squat with no weight! Body control and stabilization are far more critical than Max strength.

With power and stabilization, stability is of use. Once you develop these qualities, you will be surprised how fast you progress.

Train with free weights.

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about free weights. I am a strong advocate of free weight training over machine-based training. For every athlete training today, the benefits of exercise with free weights should be common knowledge.

Benefits such as stabilization and body control in three planes in motion cannot be acquired with machine training. But I still see too much machine-based activity in several of the strength and conditioning workout books I purchase (e.g., lots of leg extensions and curls).

People, we are “athletes,” not bodybuilders! As far as I’m concerned, machine-based training is only valid for beginners for a limited time and very sparingly.

Use various methods to train multiple joints to develop strength and power.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, which was said to me a long time ago (O.K., I admit getting old!–But aren’t we all?). Meaning there’s more than one to get the job done. But there’s only one way to get the job done if you want maximum strength and power – Training multiple weight strength basketball

Training multiple joints helps develop explosive force and coordination. It can do much more for you than a bicep or leg extension exercise, which has no place in an athletic development program. They’re more for aesthetics (show) than anything else.

Don’t limit yourself when choosing MJ exercises (In this case, for those that don’t know, MJ means multiple joints – not Michael Jordan!). For example, Back squats and leg presses aren’t the only game in town when it comes to developing leg strength to increase your vertical jump.

Try doing full-front squats instead. This version of the squat should be used more often, rarely. Great exercise! In one movement, you develop core strength and multi-joint flexibility (wrist, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle).

Also, combine various lifts to cut training time and intensify your training effect. For example, deep front squats with a shoulder press, lunge with a shoulder press, or combining a Romanian deadlift with a back row. These lifts will tax your nervous system!

Train multi-planar and unilaterally.

More than 85% of your core musculature/powerhouse/pillar, whatever you want to call it, is rotational. And most sports, I’ll say more than 95%, take place in all three planes of motion simultaneously, backward and Forward, side to side, and up and down, with unilateral movements.

multi joint exercises for basketball

Yet most strength programs use exercises and activities with bilateral movements in the sagittal plane (Back to Front). How is that possible? More than 80% of the gait cycle (running and walking) is spent on one leg.

Every sports performance program on the planet should include one Leg squats, split squats, lunges, and step-ups. If these exercises are not in your schedule, you must seriously reevaluate your program!
Hey, nobody said that getting better was easy! Keep focused.

There’s nothing like old-school exercises for enhancing athletic performance. By adhering to these tips listed, you’ll already have a big jump in the competition. I guarantee it.

ARM TO THE SIDE during shooting
Basketball Strategies

To Be a Great Shooter, You Need To Be a Straight Shooter

When talking to players that are having problems making their shots, I often ask, “How do you miss?” I need information and I also need to understand if the player thoroughly understands his/her shot.

Most do not. Accurate shooting is all about finding out how a player is missing and then fixing that area. Follow basic basketball Shooting tips and improve your game.Be a Straight Shooter

It’s similar to a doctor. When you go to the doctor, normally he/she will ask, “What seems to be ailing you?” In other words, “What is wrong?” If I ask a player, “What direction are you missing?” and he/she doesn’t know I will say, “When you find out, let me know.

Then we can start.” Coaches need to study each player’s shot and understand how each player is missing. In short, there are four ways a player can miss–Short, Long, Left, and Right.

Today we will focus on how to fix side misses.


Bad shooters miss to the side. It’s that simple. Watch a poor shooter that struggles with accuracy and you will notice he/she misses to the left and right CONSTANTLY.

I have a saying that I use in all my camps: “To be a great shooter, you must be a straight shooter.”

I have never seen a great shooter that constantly misses to the right or left side AND I probably never will.

Side misses are EASILY the worst way a player can miss. Why? Because the shooter will rarely make it if the ball hits the side of the rim first.

While a player will get bounces when missing a long shot, rarely will he or she make it when it bounces off from the side.

If you want your players to become better shooters, let’s focus on making them become “straight shooters.”


I see thousands upon thousands of bad follow-throughs each year. I have seen all types of shooting follow-throughs from Hook ’em Horns, to Hang Loose (The Hawaii greeting) to the High Five, and finally to the Arthritic Grape Fruit Squeezer.

If you have followed my basketball champs blog, I am fond of the one down, three up release also called “The Finger.” I learned about this a decade ago by attending a Los Angeles Lakers game at the Staples Center and watching Kobe Bryant use it in warmups and the game.

Kobe of course “borrowed” the finger from Michael Jordan The index finger is the straightest and strongest finger.

Whichever finger(s) on the follow-through that is down the most is the finger(s) that dominates the shot. Teaching the index finger to players is simple and will get your players a straighter shot.

The premise of the finger is simple: where the finger goes, the ball goes. If the finger goes to the left or right of the target, the player will make it 1% of the time.

If the player puts the finger above the rim and through the rim, the player will make it 50-70% (depending on the ability level) of the time.

If the ball rotates off the ring finger or the pinkie, the ball will travel to the side every time. This can occur either by using Kobe’s finger or using the “cookie jar” method (four fingers down).

In other words, a player will miss to the sides often if the ball fails to rotate off the index finger.


If you keep your index finger straight, the shot will be straight. Players miss to the side quite often because the index finger will pull to the side. I am amazed at players who don’t understand this concept.Basketball RELEASE TO THE SIDE

Recently I had a player from London ask me on Facebook, “Coach, I keep missing to the right of the rim because my finger (release) is pulling to the right.

What should I do?’ Instantly I wrote back, “You put the finger through the rim.” “But Coach, how do I do that?” He asked.

“You put your finger above the rim and through it.” For some people, this is hard to understand and yet it is so simple.

I love the acronym KISS which stands for: Keep It Simple Stupid. I have recently adapted the KISS theory to now stand for “Keep It Straight Stupid.”


Young, inexperienced, and the worst shooters are prone to having their arms pulled to the side when s

ARM TO THE SIDE during shooting

hooting. Usually, when this occurs the player not only misses by inches but sometimes my feet.

It is imperative that a player not only keeps his or her finger and wrist straight but his arm as well. When a player pulls the arm to the side, he or she has a zero chance of making it unless that player is shooting in a tornado.

In other words, a player MUST keep the arm straight to the basket if he/she wishes to be a straight shooter.


Accurate shooting starts with straight shooting. If your players can’t shoot straight, they basically can’t shoot. Think about the 100% of shots that your players miss.

What percent do they miss to the side? Ray Allen will miss 1-2% to the side. Great shooters will miss less than 5%.

Good shooters will average 10% and average shooters will miss 20% of their shots to the sides. Anything more than 20% is simply unacceptable.

Lastly, PLEASE don’t scream to your players, “Make it!” I hear horror stories about coaches doing this daily.

Focus less on the makes and more on players shooting the right way. Make sure your players shoot straight and you will see a great increase in your shooting percentages.

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rebounding in basketball
Basketball Strategies

The Importance of Rebounding

As a coach, you probably already know rebounding is essential. But do you know how important rebounding is?

Put, top-notch basketball rebounding will win your team games.

Here are five Importance of rebounding for you to consider:

  1. Great rebounding will offer your team more opportunities to score and give the opposing team fewer opportunities. Think about it: just one rebound could add a 6 point swing to your team’s score! Good rebounding will give your team more possessions, which means more scoring.Importance of Rebounding
  2. Great rebounding is going to improve your team’s scoring percentage. Often, offensive rebounds are put-backs from close in. These are easy shots that usually go in. Additionally, defensive rebounds that end in a great pass often allow for a fast break score before the defense on the other team can even get set up. These are also high-percentage shots. Great plays start with an excellent rebound; the better you are at it, the higher your team’s percentage will go.
  3. Great rebounding also reduces the other team’s shooting percentage. When your team cleans up the boards, they stop the other players from running all the time.
  4. Great rebounding will get your team more free throws and might cause trouble for the opposing team over fouls. Great rebounding also shows that your team has heart. And great basketball defense. When couples have empathy, they usually spill over to the defensive side of the court.
  5. As you can see, great basketball rebounding drills can affect how well your team plays and how often they score and win. There’s no doubt that there are a lot of uncertainties in the game of basketball. But if there’s one thing you can always count on, it’s this: no matter how talented your players are and how great a coach you are, shots will get missed.

This is why ensuring your team knows how to control those missed shots is so important. It significantly impacts your team’s effectiveness at both ends of the court.

Most coaches know that basketball rebounding is essential, but few devote the practice time to improve their team’s performance.

Teams that focus on rebounding skills play smarter, stronger, and more aggressively than those that don’t. And this means they win more games.

1 3 1 half court press
Basketball Strategies

Basketball Strategies for Breaking the Half Court Press

You can find basketball strategies for breaking any form of the half-court press if you do a little searching online – you can find press offenses designed to break half-court presses set up in formations of 1-2-2, 2-1-2, 1-2-1-1, and plenty more.

But frankly, I don’t have the practice time available to teach a variety of half-court press offenses and still be able to teach everything else my team needs to know to improve and have a successful season.

So I teach a basic half-court press offense (vs 1-3-1 press) and then teach my team how to adjust to a variety of setups.

Half Court Press Breaker Tips

I teach specifically a press break against a 1-3-1 press because I think that is the most common formation for the half-court press.Half Court Press Breaker

Most zone presses starting at half-court rely on directing the ball to the half-court corner and trapping the ball carrier there, which means the defense will have one guard out front to do the directing.

Even presses that are designed with two guards at the top generally have one of the guards directing the ball, with the other protection against the ball reversal to the second offensive guard.

So if my players understand basketball strategies for breaking a 1-3-1 half-court press, I feel they have a good base to work from and any additional strategies we add can stem naturally from this base.

So, a few guidelines I try to instill in my players for half-court press breaks, regardless of the press being put against them:

Half Court Press Break Rules

  1. Reverse the ball before the trap (possibly more than once as we come up the floor) – the more we force the defense to shift their attack, the more likely that one or two of their players will leave a gap we can exploit.
  2. Keep the floor spread – don’t have two players so close to each other that one defensive player can guard them.
  3. Have a man deep – this will spread the defense more (if you don’t have that man deep, the defense can cheat easier and clog up passing lanes).
  4. Move quickly to the open spot.
  5. Always look to attack.

The Focus of the Half-Court Press Offense

In general, the focus of the attack on any half-court press is to:1 3 1 half court press

  1. Look to pass into the middle or down the sideline as the trap is being sprung – but before the trap closes on the ball carrier. (Alternatively, a quick reversal and pass into the middle/sideline before the defense can react.)
  2. Once the pass to the middle/sideline happens, there should be at least two players cutting to the hoop on the attack.

Although you can diagram as much as you want, you need to teach your players to adapt to and act on whatever the defense gives them. Since pretty much every zone press I know of relies on that trap, then someone must be open somewhere. Find the open man and move quickly to capitalize on the resulting defensive adjustments.

What I tend to do is throw some different situations at my players in practice and let them adjust as necessary, stopping the practice to explain where they might find openings and offer basketball strategies they could use to capitalize on them.

But again, I don’t have the practice time available to teach a multitude of press breaks, and I don’t think that would be the best way to develop my players anyway. In the end, we want them to develop the ability to read the situation and react appropriately.

Here are a few situations you could use in practice:

Press Break Against a 1-2-2 Half-Court Press1-2-2-HC-Press-Break


As the trap begins to materialize, #1 reverses the ball to #2. Immediately (and they should be reading this and expecting it), the other players cut hard to the new ball side – #3 to the sideline, #4 to the middle, #5 and to the sideline across from the foul line.

Immediately after the reversal, #2 looks to pass the ball into 3 on the sideline or #4 in the middle, whichever is left open as the defense shifts. In this example, w,e have the ball going to #3 on the sideline.

Immediately we attack. #1 cuts hard on the weak side straight to the hoop. #3 looks to pass down to #5 or to #4 in the middle. Possibly to #1 on the weak side. But essentially, we look to get the ball first to someone in good passing position (the middle would be best as it opens up both sides of the floor), and then to a player cutting hard to the hoop.

Press Break Against a 2-2-1 Half-Courtress

Against a 2-guard front, the second guard makes the reversal difficult – although you could, and should, reverse the ball once or twice as you approach the press.

But with the second guard so high in the formation, the middle or sideline should open up easier once the defense moves to trap. If your players are spread well, and your ball carrier is composed and alert, a quick pass to whichever player opens up should be available.

In this example, the pass goes down the sideline to #4.

Once the pass is made out of the trap, immediately attack the hoop. With the ball on the sideline, #3 cuts hard to the top of the key, #5 cuts to the sideline, and #2 and ts down the weak side. Again, we take advantage of the defense as they struggle to fall back and attack quickly.2-2-1 Half Court Press

If it is the middle that opens up from the trap, we get the ball there – to #3 in this example. From here, #3 can lead the play into the hoop with other players cutting to the open lanes.

Again, these are just situations to throw at your players to get them thinking. The main focus of practicing press breaks is really on taking away the strangeness of the press – i.e., if your players are accustomed to pressure and are prepared to look for openings when it happens in the game they will be less likely to be hurt by it.

There are a variety of basketball strategies for breaking presses; I try not to overload my players with too many plays. I would rather help them understand basic movement and how to attack, and then let them take advantage of what the defense offers.

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collegiate basketball rules and regulations
Basketball Strategies

Basic Basketball Rules What Coaches Need to Know

Some Basic Basketball rules are not overly complicated, although if you’ve ever picked up the FIBA rulebook, or any rulebook from one of the major governing bodies, you might very well think otherwise. At first blush, there seem to be a lot of rules to know.

In reality; these rulebooks can be simplified and broken down into three basic types of rules.

Sure, every governing body will have its specific regulations concerning how things are done, and you should be somewhat familiar with the more important ones. But the basic rules, whether you are looking at rules from the NBA, the NCAA, or high school basketball rules, will be more or less the same.

There are three very broad categories of basketball rules that every player and coach should have a decent understanding of if you want to play or coach basketball and do well.

Realize the league you play in is likely to have its specific version of these rules, but if you compare basketball rulebooks for one league to another, you will find several areas where basketball’s basic rules are pretty much the same.

Three Main Categories of Basketball Rules To Know

We can break down the various basic rules of the game into three major categories:

  • Basketball Rules Concerning Game Time – in other words, when is the ball in play, and when is it not? How long is the basketball game, What starts the clock, and what stops it?collegiate basketball rules and regulations
  • Basketball Rules Concerning Violations – what moves can your players do with the ball, and what moves aren’t legal? i.e., what will your players do with the ball that will cause your team to lose possession of it?
  • Basketball Rules Concerning Fouls – what type of contact between offensive and defensive players is allowed, and how much of it is not allowed?

A general explanation of the rules of basketball will be all you need under most circumstances. Knowing this will get you through the majority of your coaching career, especially true if you coach youth basketball.

Basic Basketball Rules Is That All?

The only time when you would need to understand the rules in more specific terms than the basic rules above would likely be at game time. As mentioned already, every league will have its own set of specific rules, some more detailed and complex than others. Choose the set of rules that applies to your situation.

The high school basketball rules followed by most schools in the US are from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). You can’t download a free copy of the high school basketball rules like you can from the pros and college leagues, but the NFHS publishes rule books and guides, and a couple is carried by Amazon:

If it’s the pros you’re interested in, take a look at the NBA rules or the WNBA rules, or if you are interested in international rules, you can check out FIBA rules.

There are also college rules ( NCAA ) you should review if you coach at that level or are a die-hard fan.basic basketball rules

In general, understanding basketball’s basic rules is important for every coach and player, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that every coach needs to be able to recite verbatim every single rule in the rulebook for their league.

The specific rules are important at game time – always have a copy of the official rules on the scorer’s table for reference if a debate ensues – but most of our coaching career takes place during team practices. So for most of our coaching careers, I would suggest a general knowledge of the rules will suffice.

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Basketball Offense Strategies
Basketball Strategies

Basketball Offense Strategies – Crush your Opponents with the Right Offense

Finding new basketball offense strategies will not make you a championship contender overnight – any play is just a way to organize your team on the court, not a magical formula for winning.

But a good offensive play will help you, position players, where you want them and open up scoring possibilities that will help your team light up those basketball scoreboards.

Spend some time considering how you plan to organize your basketball players before choosing the players you will use.Basketball Offense Strategies

And realize, of course, that basketball plays are a dime a dozen – a quick search online will pop up dozens of sites, each offering dozens of plays.

But you don’t need dozens – you need two or three. One play that works well against a man-to-man defense, and one that works well against a zone. And maybe one more to mix it up a little. Any more than that and you’ll just confuse your players.

Some players will focus on strengths – e.g., the play will focus on getting your big man open or isolating your star guard. I have nothing against setting up your best scorers, but I don’t like depending on one or two players to carry the game (consider the impact of injuries!).

I like players that give everyone a shot at scoring – the more opportunities, the better it is for everyone. And you never know who will have the hot hand on any given night.

Here are a few possibilities for you, players I have used in the past – and present – that have worked well for me. I’m not showing many, because I don’t use many.

Two well-executed basketball offenses, along with a good fast break and a couple of special-situation players, are all I have time to teach in one season. With that in my playbook and a strong focus on fundamentals, I’m confident my teams can win against the best of opponents.

But I’ll give you my opinion anyway.

Types of Basketball Offense Strategies

The first offense I introduce is the fast break – there are very few teams that won’t benefit from a good fast break, at least on occasion, and I like my teams to use this as our first option.

But as for set basketball offenses, perhaps the first thing to be taught should be a relatively simple shooting drill – the triangle offense. A simple, easy-to-learn drill that teaches the basic movements and shot selection found in many players.

Basketball plays can be divided roughly into two types – Motion Offenses and Continuity Offenses. Basketball Motion offenses follow no specific pattern of movement but rather have players moving according to the situation, adapting to what the defense gives them.

There are rules involved – e.g., whenever you pass you must immediately screen (away or on the ball) – but there is no strict sequence of set movements.

Motion Offenses

Motion offenses are often referred to as passing plays and are especially good to use if you are looking for youth basketball players, as they emphasize basic offensive movements and reacting to the situation, good skills to develop in young players.

Check out the offense overview of the passing game before taking a look at the possible offensive movements.

motion basketball offense

I have become particularly partial to the passing game, and for a variety of reasons, I feel it is one of the best basketball offense strategies I have used, especially with younger teams. In fact, with my junior varsity teams, I very often use nothing but the passing game, along with a couple of in-bounds plays.

Continuity Offenses

As for continuity offenses – these are plays that use a set pattern of movement – there are a hundred of those for any situation you are dealing with. Choose continuity plays according to your team’s strengths and abilities.

Do you have a team that is young or inexperienced? This easy basketball play focuses on fundamental movements, is not complex at all, and can be used with young players or with a team that has players capable of playing several positions.

The X is another play that isn’t too difficult, but one that I return to time and again because I find it to be very effective. The X would work best if you have two strong big men, though.

best basketball offense basics

If you have a strong post player that passes well, this spread offense will likely work well for you. Or if you are blessed with a good shooter or two, then try the swing.

Quick players? The shuffle is a great basketball offense strategy to use if your players can cut and pick and roll with speed. Or try this basic continuity offense, which features constant cutting and screening.

Another great offense to run with a quick team is the flex offense – effective if you don’t have any big men but you have players that can play several positions.

If you like the flex offense and want to see many more options for running this offense, check out the Complete Book on Basketball’s Flex Offense.

And finally, if you are looking for a good basketball play that is simple to use but effective against almost any zone defense, try the 1-4 Zone Offense. The 1-4 Zone Offense Setup looks at how it can be set up to combat different zone defenses, and on separate pages, you’ll find the Basic 1-4 Offensive Movement and the 1-4 Overload Offense.

These are all good basketball plays and will open up scoring opportunities for your players. They all offer more than one scoring option, as a good play should. And they allow you to reset and run the play several times – as many times as you need to get someone free.

A Few Final Thoughts

A couple of things to remember: first, it is crucial to transition quickly from defense to offense if you are looking for the best opportunities to score – the faster you switch from defense to offense, the more likely your chosen offense will be able to break down your opponent’s defense.

Secondly, remember that patience is a virtue, especially when you are running a set offense – you need to be quick to act on an opportunity to score when it arises, but you don’t want to force a shot or pass or drive that just isn’t there.

And finally, when your team runs these plays in practice, be sure they run them as if in a game situation – solid screens, quick cuts, strong passes, and take the ball to the hole like you mean it.

How they perform in practice is how they’ll perform in the game – it’s a learned response. There’s no “game magic”, except for those spectacular moments when a practiced play is executed perfectly.

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