Inbound Plays For Youth Basketball - 6 Easy Sets

Best Inbound Play for Youth Basketball

Inbound play in basketball are very important for any team who wants to play a serious and competitive basketball. Inbound plays can be quick hitters in basketball games, or they can be a bit longer actions made to put your players in a good position to score the ball.

There is always a dilemma when we talk about youth basketball plays overall, not just the inbound plays: Is it better to let them run free or should we organize them in order to get things done a bit easier.

I think that we as coaches have to show them options that they can have, formed a certain set plays, but we must explain to them that every piece of the play is the opportunity to do something different. We must explain to them every action, not just inbound plays, step by step, all the things that they can do in every segment of the drawn action.
We all know that there are at least 10 actions that can come out of a single screen. It is just a matter of reading the defense and knowing your offense.
This particular time we are going to talk about some simple inbound plays that are fit for youth basketball.

The first thing that we need to do before we even start to talk about the details is what we need to have in mind that we are talking about young basketball players, kids, who are still looking at basketball as a pretty good game. Kids do not care about the detail and they certainly do not think about the basketball as we are. So, everything that we want to present to them needs to be simple, not demanding and not long.

The goal of all of the 6 actions is to put the kids in a position for a wide-open shot or a shot that is relatively close to the basket.

Side-Line Inbound Plays for Youth Basketball

1. Box

Box formation is a very usable play because it is very easy in terms of the geometry and the assignments. This formation is usually used as a starting formation for the production of inbound plays in basketball.

Inbound Play

1. Best shooter needs to inbound the ball

2. 1 and 2 need to be guards, and 3 and 4 need to be big players (or guarded by big players

3. The action on the weak side starts when the 1 is receiving the screen

4. As you can see there are two secondary options:

  • If 1 see that his defender is late and that defender of 5 is in a bad position, he can receive the ball and attack the free throw area
  • If there is a switch on 1, 5 can dive for a layup
Inbound Play Basketball - Two consecutive screens for the 3

5. 3 after the inbound pass needs to receive 2 consecutive screens from 5 and 4 and to get an open shot on the other side of the court

6. 1 pass to 2 who then needs to search for 3 who is going to be alone to take the shot

7. There are 3 secondary options:

  • 5 can slip from the screen and have a good look
  • 3 can turn corner after the first screen and receive the ball for a bank shot
  • 4 can dive under the basket after he screens for 3

2. Scorer

Scorer play is another one of those inbound plays in basketball that starts in a box formation but with the the different layout of the players.

As you can see the starting position of the players, you want your number 4 to be a good screener, number 3 to be able to make a precise pass and you want your number 2 to have a good drive and layup ability.

inbound play

1. Best passer needs to inbound the ball

2. Player with best layup/drive ability needs to be on a no.2 position.

3. Biggest player needs to be on a no.4 position

4. Players that are low in the box formation, after they receive the screen, need to go a bit higher then usual just to free up the space for the real action

Screen for the 2

5. 2 must aid his defender to the screen and make a hard cut toward the basket

6. 3 must throw a precise pass

7. Secondary options:

  • If the both players go to chaise 2 on layup, 4 can dive into the paint for a lob pass
  • If the player that is guarding 2 is instructed to go under the screen, then, 2 can stay above the screen and receive the ball for an open shot

3. Zipper pick and roll

Once again, we are starting with the box formation, and once again we have two screens coming for the players that are on the low-post positions. But now, we want our Point Guard to be close to the ball and we want our center (biggest and strongest) to be on the weak side of the box on that low position. This side-line inbound play can be recognized as a bit advanced stuff for the youth basketball, because it has more then 2 or 3 mini-plays in the whole set. Some of the other inbound plays in basketball are using same screen but from the different starting position.

Box and screen for the screener

1. Both screens start at the same time because you need continuity in the movement in order to be fully effective.

2. 1 must have the tendency to receive the ball and take a curve toward the far elbow area where he is expected to receive the second screen.

3. 2 is setting the screen for the screener. It is best that the he is a good shooter because his next movement is towards the corner and in many times this player is going to be alone due to a screen actions .

4. 5 (the screener) needs to go wait for the 2 to get to him and set the screen, and then to sprint towards his spot.

Box Pick and Roll

5. 1 and 5 play pick and roll action

6. 2 needs to go and be in the corner. This is the best shooting option out of this play.

7. 4 goes toward the 3 and makes a blind back screen. After the screen he Pops and get open for a shot

8. 3 cuts toward the pain but he has to aim the pocket area in order not to disrupt rolling 5

As you can see, all of the side-line inbound plays are presented in this article are starting from the same geometry. This is because it is very simple to memorize, and the mini-plays (movement, screens, passing) is not complicated but in a way simple and intuitive, and this is everything that a youth basketball player needs. The other good thing about this box formation inbound basketball plays is that they can be used not just when the game stops. You can instruct players to stand in the box formation, and the player with the ball can dribble it toward the sideline.

If you want to learn more inbound plays, go rent a DVD by clicking on the link below:

Base-Line Inbound Plays

1. Middle Split

Middle split is the the baseline inbound play in basketball designed in a manner that the first mini action is used to deceive the opponents, and the second action is basically a quick hitter who is supposed to put our players into a good scoring opportunity. The play itself is a bit naive so it can really work only with youth basketball players.

Split toward the corners

1. 2 starts the action by going over 4 and running toward the strong side corner. 4 should set a SOFT screen for 2.

2. 4 goes over 5 and now 5 sets a soft screen for 4.

3. Secondary option:

  • Both of the players that are supposed to run toward the corners, if they see that their defenders are stuck on the screens, can dive toward the basket for a layup


Vertical screen

4. 1 (who needs to be the smallest player on the team) climbs toward the 5 to set him a blind back screen

5. 5 (who needs to be the biggest player on the team) dives toward the rim and an easy layup opportunity

6. Secondary option:

  • 1 gets open after the screen to receive the pass

2. H Line

H line is the base-line inbound play for youth basketball designed to confuse the defense because all of the 4 players are going to start their movement at the same time. This can be concerned as a quick hitter action that can work only once in a game because the players are going to remember the chaos that it creates.

H line

1. Numbers 1 and 4 start at the same time, and 2 and 5 start half a second later.

2. 1 goes over 2, and 4 cuts into the corner

3. 2 and 5 are going in the opposite direction. 2 has to go a bit deeper and 5 should take 2 or 3 steps away from the ball.


Away screen for the 5

4. 2 turns toward the 5 and makes a blind screen

The whole point of the play is to make confusion and to set a good screen for the 5 who then has the easy layup situation.

5. Secondary option:

  • 2 opens from the screen toward the ball

3.V Line

This inbound play is perfect for the youth basketball because it is fun to play. Every player has its role and there are 4 pass options. Yes, we want to have easy layups, but that is not going to be the case every time we play some action.

1. Player closest to the ball runs toward the center and opens for a pass. This pass is the most secured to get the ball out of bounds.

2. Player that on the top of the line dives and cuts toward the basket.

3. Two players in the middle can change their roles. Sometimes they can cut toward the basket and other times they can open themselves inside the paint area.

Youth basketball, not just the inbound plays, are all about simplicity and making the right play every time. In my mind, we should tend to organize our young teams but not to strangle them into some X and O variations. We need to show them how can they take advantage of every situation that the play is putting them into.

If you want to learn more about youth basketball, go rent a DVD by clicking on the link below:

Nov 11, 2019 Viktor Sadikovic

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