Three Keys To Running Basketball Plays
- By Jeff Haefner
A well coached basketball team executing their set offense always made me envious, so I came to realize we had to work hard at perfecting our offense. A team that can get their basketball plays to work for them is both successful and confident.
To help you improve your offense, here are three factors that will have a great impact on the success of your offense...
Know Your Options
Any basketball offense has a set pattern that the players follow; at each step in the offense, the pattern provides different options that the defense leaves open. At each step of your offense, you have to drill your players constantly to make sure they recognize which option will lead to a score, depending on how the defense reacts. For example, if you are running a screen, the player whose man is being screened must know which way to go to take advantage of the screen, depending on what the screened defender does.
To make things easier, you can drill this in a three-on-three set. One player sets a screen. One offensive player rolls off the screen and the third offensive player makes the correct pass. The defensive players can react in several different ways, so you have to stop and show your players where to roll off of the screen if the defenders switch, if the defender fights through the screen and many other possibilities. This involves stopping the action often enough to show your players what options are available if the defense reacts a certain way.
Get Your Timing Right
Your offense can become a jumbled up jigsaw puzzle if your players don't learn how to work the timing of the play you are running. For example, if your right wing is supposed to screen for your low post on the baseline, the low post can't get anxious and start rolling through the key before the screen is set. If that happens, the defender simply moves with him and the screener gets there late. Work hard to keep your players patient and to recognize when they move to the next step in the offense. Teach them what to look for before they make their movement.
You can drill this by showing the players what must happen before they make each of their movements in the offense. This involves stopping the movement of the play at certain points and telling the players who moves where at that certain point. So when the right wing starts to move down low to set a screen, you stop the play and show your players where they need to get before the low post can move off the screen into the key. At the same time, don't neglect the other three players. Show them where they go and when they go there. Give them clear indicators as to when they start and stop their cuts and screens.
Keep it Simple
Try not to make the offense so complicated that your players spend all their focus on running the play and never look for the score. I had a girl's team once that could run the play to perfection, but I noticed that they never once looked at the basket. They just kept running the play. Now, we don't get points for style do we? Put the pumpkin in the basket!
I like to make it so that the players have three movements to make to complete the set play. So it might be that the right wing first picks low and waits for the low post to roll through the key, second he runs baseline to pick for the left wing. After that, his third movement is to pop out to the left wing's vacated spot where he will wait for the other wing to pick for him. Then he starts the three part sequence again. I even ask them all the time, "What is your sequence in the offense?" The wing should answer, "pick low... pick wing... pop out."
Run your offense against a defense over and over, telling your players to look for shots and drives, but not take them until you call out that they can. You can make sure they are looking for the shots and drives, by having them yell out 'shot!' or 'drive!' anytime they think they would have a good shot or drive to the hoop. This way you can watch them go through the offense's sequence over and over while checking to see if they are recognizing when the scoring opportunity is there. This works well because you do not have to reset after the shot goes up. You also want to stop the action to point out options that are available at each step, and also demonstrate when the timing is off and when it is right. Once your players know their movements, time them with the other player's movements and understand options, then the shots will start to fall. Let the other guys get the style points and your guys get the baskets.
About the Author:
Jeff Haefner is the co-founder and co-owner of www.BreakthroughBasketball.com , a website with a variety of free articles, ebooks, drills, plays, and information for basketball coaches and players.