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The Fundamentals Of A Basketball-Offense.


FREE Basketball E-Book The offensive part of basketball is essentially the most important. Some may say that a good defense may result in a good offense, but this is not always the case. Possession of the ball is what makes the opposing team defend its goal. Nothing could be better offense than to retain and regain possession of the ball. It is with the ball that the scores are made, so why not control the score?

Every basketball team should have an organized basketball-offense attack, and a “system” of play with solid back court players. In this way, every player will know what is expected of him. He'll know where to go. Moreover, a system play will often overcome individual weaknesses of one or more players.

Over the years, basketball coaches have devised many kinds of basketball offenses. In general, they fall into two groups; those designed to defend against the man-for-man defense and those put together to crack the zone.

These basketball offenses have many characteristics. Some are slow and deliberate, involving a series of “set” plays. Others are of the slam-bang variety, sometimes referred to as “race horse” basketball.

Regardless of how the basketball offense is paced, it must be “sound” to be successful. By that we mean that the offense must have certain features; it must give its players short, medium and long shots. It must give the team good rebound strength off the offensive board. It must be able to switch to defense quickly in the event the ball is lost.

Most of all, the basketball offense must include passing “options.” If player A wants to make a pass to player B to start a screen play and suddenly finds B covered, he should have the option of starting a play with another teammate without the flow of the offensive attack being interrupted.

How To Choose A Basketball Offense.

Ideally, any basketball coach would like to have players suited to every position; however, it doesn’t always turn out that way. The type of players you have as a coach will dictate how the offense is to be shaped.

This places the responsibility of selecting an offense on the coach. The coach must be imaginative and sensible when he sits down to plan his basketball offense. He has to carefully analyze his team of players and come up with an offense that will take fullest advantage of the type of players that make up the team.

If a team is small, for example, a “possession” type of offense would be best. The offense should be designed to keep the players moving constantly, to give them plenty of good screens; screens that will lead to medium and short range shots. This team wants to rely, too, on specialty and spot shooting. A possession game and a good shooting percentage will go a long way toward making up for lack of size.

If the team has one or two big players, the basketball offense can be built around a single or double post system (against man-for-man).

Since the principles of the man-for-man defense differ from those of the zone, the principles involved in the attack against each of these defenses differ too.

Basketball Offense Against Man-for-Man Defense

In any attack, the objective of the basketball offense is to make the defense move; to get it out of position so that an offensive player can have an opportunity to shoot.

In the man-for-man, the guards play the man. To move the guard, you must move the offensive man. In moving the offensive man, however, you must maneuver the defense out of position. The best way to do this is to set up a series of screens,a “pattern.”

What kind of pattern you establish for your offense depends on the kinds of players making up the team. Let's assume you have three players of average height who are fair outside shooters and better than average drivers. Let's also assume the remaining two making up the first five are big men that are poor from the outside.

The pattern might take this form. The two big men establish post positions on either side of the foul line. The other three bring up the ball. From this three-out, two-in pattern, you can devise all sorts of screens. It will give you a long, medium and short attack. It will give you rebound strength and defensive strength.

In building up the pattern, remember that the offensive players must keep moving in order to move the defense. To get continuity of movement, the passing pattern must include several options.

Basketball Offense To Attack The Zone Defense

The guards in the zone defense primarily play the ball, not the man. To move the zone, then, one must move the ball. But the ball must be moved to take advantage of the weaknesses of the zone and not played to its strength.

The zone defense, as it is normally used, has great strength against close shots. It is weak against outside shots. The guards in the zone cannot cover the whole of a regulation front court. When the ball is on one side of the court, the defense shifts to that side, exposing the other. Each guard in the zone covers a certain area. Put two offensive men in one of these areas and the defensive man is at a distinct disadvantage.

If a team is prepared to meet a zone, it should be able to get good shots by excellent passing and moving the ball. If an attack is to be successful, your percentage of shots must be good against any type of defense.

The attempt to score inside must be made against the zone at least one third of the time. Failure to get the inside shot will favor the zone and lessen your chance to penetrate the defense.

Purposes of the zone defense:

1. To frustrate the driving and screening game of the offense.

2. To increase the rebounding opportunities for the defense.

3. To create an opportunity for fast break.

4. To force the offensive team to shoot a high-risk percentage long shot.

5. To keep the players on defense, especially key players, from committing unnecessary fouls.

6. To develop a focus on playing the ball.

What are the simplest ways to beat a zone?

1. Good ball handling.

2. Strong outside shooting.

What Is the Best Basketball Offense for the Zone?

Most zone defenses cannot be attacked with the same method used against a man-for-man defense. In attacking a zone, keep the following objectives in mind:

1. Move the ball well inside and out.

2. Aim at overloading and employ cutters through the defense.

3. Place men in open spots to force the defense to change to man- to-man type of defense.

4. The best way to beat the zone defense is to bring the ball quickly down the floor and attack the zone before it can be set up strongly.

Basketball Offense Against The 3-2 Zone

Players in the offensive attack must be placed according to the open spots in the zone. There are two variations of attack against the 3-2 zone. These attacks are the 2-1-2 attack and the 1-3-1 attack. The center man in each of these attacks may be moved slightly to force the defense to protect the middle at all costs.

In the 2-1-2 offense, either of the attacking front men can go to the side to pull the defensive wing man out with him. As the pass is made from the front man to the corner man, the inside back defensive man must move out to cover him. At this point the center man playing in front of the free throw line, moves to the side of the ball. This move forces the zone to drop back to fill the middle.

In the 1-3-1 offense, the baseline man moves as a floater to the side of the ball. He must not go too far toward the corner. This maneuver would make the shot attempt too long. The high post man playing at the free throw line also moves to the side of the ball. Thus an overload situation is created and a double triangle is formed with the four men on the side of the ball. The opposite wing man will need to come out toward the mid-court line to protect position for defensive possibilities.

If the wing man shoots, he should never follow his own shot as the overload favors his side. The congestion will not allow the wing man shooting to get on the boards effectively. The front man who is the key feeder of the attack should be mobile, moving to either side of the defense for good angle passing opportunities.

The floater along the baseline and the high post man should possess good rebounding and close shooting abilities. The two wing men should be fast and be able to shoot from outside. The front man in the attack must be smart, able to diagnose movements of the defense, and be the best shooter and passer on the squad.

Basketball Offense Against The 2-3 and The 2-1-2 Zone

The 2-3 and the 2-1-2 zones are much alike due to the placing of the men in the defense. In the 2-3 zone the middle man plays closer to the basket. He may maneuver at times to also set up the 2-1-2 zone.

The 1-3-1 offensive attack is generally the best attack against these two zones. By placing these men in this offensive formation, the overload can be set up easily by moving the ball. At the same time, the players move also to the ball side.

The floater along the baseline moves to the side of the ball, attempting to get the 10-foot shot. The high post player also moves with the ball to create a double triangle with the wing man and the feeder.As in other 1-3-1 attacks the opposite wing man must move toward mid-court to protect with the feeder.

Shots are easily obtained when the wing player passes to the floater or the post player for shooting opportunities. The floater, the post player, and the opposite wing player make up the rebounding triangle.

In the 1-3-1 attack, the front feeder should never penetrate the defense beyond the free throw line unless he is used as a cutter through.

Conclusion About About Creating A Basketball Offense Against The Zone Defense.

In establishing a pattern against a zone defense, you must be able to combine the following features:

1)Give the offensive players good opportunities to shoot from outside.

2)Place the players in and around the zone so that the ball can be moved rapidly.

3)Place players so that zones can be overloaded.

4)At the same time, the offense is in position to make fast, spot passes and shoot from the outside.

Weaknesses of System Play

There is one weakness to “system” basketball, but it can be overcome by the thoughtful coach. When a pattern is finally devised, the coach of the basketball team, like the coach of the football team, will find that he has developed “specialists.” In football, it might be a right end, a fullback, or center. In basketball, the system develops the pivot man, the outside man, back court, or front court man.

To overcome this problem, the coach should build flexibility into his squad. He wants to be able to switch his men about and to train substitutes to fill in anywhere.

Situation Plays

A successful basketball team needs more than just a front court attack against the zone and man-for-man defense. It needs to plan for special “situations”—out-of-bounds plays, jump ball plays, plays that follow a free throw, plays designed for the last few minutes, or seconds of a ball game. These situation plays are needed to round out a team's attack. One cannot expect to win many ball games without them.

The coach can design these plays to his own liking; however, they should be fitted into the team's overall pattern.

Escape from the Press

A pressing defense very often catches a basketball team unprepared. This unpreparedness may turn a victory into defeat. (Normally a team doesn't use a press unless it is behind in the last few minutes of the game.)

A smart coach will prepare for this “situation’’ just as he does for others.

Actually, a pressing defense is a reckless and dangerous maneuver for the defending team to use. It will be useless if the offense is prepared and refuses to panic.

The major problem for the offense is to get the ball in court, because in court, five defensive players are playing against four. In the press, the guard will play very tight. This means he will be easy to decoy and fake out of position.

Whatever the pattern, it should include deliberate fakes; fakes that will give the out-of-bounds man a clear opportunity to pass the ball in court.

If either of the side players pretends to run down court, the defense must turn to follow. It's a simple matter for the side players to reverse position and race toward the ball for a pass. Once the ball is in court, the strength of the press is weakened. The front court is wide open. A quick maneuver and a good pass will lead to another score. Be prepared for the pressing defense and you'll out play it every time. But be prepared!

The Fast Break

To the casual fan, a fast break attack may look like a disorganized form of basketball. It is anything but that. The fast breaking team attempts to get a shot at the basket with the fewest number of passes. It is not unusual for a good fast break team to go from one end of the court to the other (and score) on three passes.

Though speed is essential for such an attack, the main prerequisite for a fast break is good, tough rebounding. In short,you must get the ball before you can run with it. Along with the missed-shot opportunity, the fast break presents itself off a bad pass, stealing a ball, free throws, and out-of-bounds situations.

The fast break usually forms with a three-on-two or & two-on-one advantage where lanes are established and execution is good to capitalize on the advantage before the defense can recover.

The Fast Break Must Be Organized

Unless each man in the attack knows and carries out his responsibility, the fast break is wasted. Many times the three-lane attack is not spread sufficiently, so that the defense spreads with it.

If two men are coming down the floor who are closer than approximately 15 feet, then one defensive man will be able to defense both of them.

At other times, a fast break is unsuccessful because the speed is not checked. Speed is very necessary after the first pass out, but as the attack nears the free throw area, the tempo must be slowed to allow successful completion of the play.

The middle man on a three-on-two situation must make the defense commit and come out to force the play. The dribble will force the defense out quicker than the cross pass. When the side man in the attack attempts the dribble, the defense can delay commitment longer. The defensive man off the ball can drop back and defend the opposite wing man as well as the middle man.

All the players on a basketball team must know the fast break offense well including their responsibilities or assignments, and be able to execute it when the opportunity presents itself from any position on the basketball court.

If a player doesn't know his assignment inside as well as outside in a fast break offense, the fast break attack may be slowed down; therefore, each member of the team should be able to pass and dribble effectively. Various options in the fast break offense should be practiced, because every attempt will be made by the defense to stop a team's fast break attack.

As mentioned above, good rebounding is significant and important to the success of a fast break offense. Good ball hawking and tight defensive play will cause the opposing team to make mistakes that may result in easy fast break scoring opportunities.

Good passing and dribbling are essential. The baseball pass as well as the two-hand chest pass and the bounce pass must be executed well. Position in the two-or-three-lane fast break attack is important to maintain balance and keep the defense spread. The organization and tempo of the attack also become important parts in fast break basketball.

It The fast break offense is based on two principles: control of the defensive basket, and a clear first pass after recovery of the rebound.

The rebounder knows that as soon as he gets the ball, his teammates will be breaking toward certain areas. Thus, he must understand that his first move is to LOOK. Look for the receiver. Don't—as so many, many players do—bounce the ball. If the rebounder can't find a receiver as he comes down with the ball, then he can dribble.

Just as the rebounder must first “look” for a receiver going up court, so must his teammates. The rebounder starts the fast break. Each receiver has to keep it going. The same principle applies. Look before dribbling. Pass before dribbling, if possible.

When attempting a fast break—-whether it's a part of an organized attack or not—-pass to the first teammate ahead of you. The defense cannot travel as fast as a pass.

The players concentrate on getting the rebound. On catching the rebound, the pitchout, or first pass, must be made toward the outside of the court. All but the rebounder and receiver break for the opposite basket as fast as possible, but in different lanes. It's rebound, pitchout and go! Rebound, pitchout and go!

As the team sweeps up the court, however, get the ball to the middle man before he reaches the top of the foul circle. With the ball in the middle of the court, the attack will put maximum pressure on the defense and develop the greatest number of scoring opportunities.

Jump Ball Plays

A player may be certain of getting the tap on a jump ball play (his opponent may be four inches shorter), but this advantage is rather meaningless unless his four teammates have an organized method of getting the ball to and through the basket. The jump ball play, in other words, should be part of a team's overall basketball offense.

When a player has a definite advantage on the tap, he should indicate where he's going to put the ball. This involves a signal. He can, for example, close his right first before the jump to indicate the ball will be tapped to his right. The player on the right should lay well back. As the ball is tapped, he should drive forward to the indicated spot, and go up and get the ball. He can either tip the ball to a teammate or bring it down and pass it.

In any event, each team should have a jump ball pattern. In designing this pattern, the coach should remember that—-should he lose the jump—-his players have to be in a good defensive position.


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