Basketball Man & Zone Offenses

Basketball Offenses

There are many basketball offenses to choose from and our guide will help you learn about various basketball offenses. Read through our guide, check out our many Basketball Offenses Rental DVDs that can help you master any offense.

Motion Offenses

What is Motion Offense in Basketball? It's non-patterned movement of the players. The benefit of motion offense is that the defense shouldn't know what is going to happen next. A patterned offense is predictable and must be executed more precisely to be effective. Motion typically handles breakdowns or freelance play by the players because there is no "set" pattern to follow. Players learn to react to the ball and the defense and make movements accordingly.

Motion offense can take various forms. Most common are 5 Out and 4 Out 1 in, or 3 out 2 in sets. The second number is the number of post players and the first number is the players playing on the perimeter. Most youth teams should play 5 Out so that young players learn the necessary skills of playing away from the basket and develop a well rounded set of fundamental skills.

Now if you want to learn more about Motion Offenses we suggest you check out our huge selection of rental Motion Offense DVDs and you can master any motion offense.

Read & React Offense

The Read & React Offense is a motion offense that can be played 5 Out, 4 Out, or 3 Out. It's configured of 20 layers of actions. The base layer is Pass & Cut where players cut to the basket after making a pass. This offense is ran by youth teams through college. The most unique layer of Read and React is the Circle Movement.

Circle movement is where players move in a circle around the perimeter based on the dribble. Players are taught to watch the basketball and then make a read based off what the player with the ball does.

Read & React doesn't feature your typical screens but does incorporate hand offs and ball screens into the offense. It's a very flexible offense but most teams never come close to actually incorporating all 20 layers.

The offense can be run vs zone defense but usually takes some adjustments to truly work against a zone.



Dribble Drive Offense

The Dribble Drive Offense is a wide spaced offense with one post player in it's original format. More variations of the Dribble Drive have been developed but in it's true for it's a 4 Out 1 in Offense. Two players start in the corner, two at the top of the key, and the post player playing opposite the ball. So if the ball is driven at the post player they will move to the opposite side the ball is being driven to. This is an attacking offense off the dribble so you will need players who can drive to the basket and you will need 3 point shooters. If you have players who can handle the ball and 3 point shooters this is a great offense as the spacing of the offense makes it very hard for help defense.

The offense is to be started off the dribble and the perimeter players move based on where the ball is driven to. The players in the corner will always lift to the wings. The other top guard will either stay put or if the ball is driven across them they will switch sides. The Dribble Drive Offense is pretty easy to implement in just a few days the players will get it. Many variations have been developed off the original Dribble Drive Offense like the Flex Dribble Drive and the Ball Screen Dribble Drive Offense.



Triangle Offense

The Triangle Offense is an invention of long time coach Tex Winter. It was made famous when he coached with the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan was there and then later with Shaq and Kobe when Tex was with the Lakers. The Triangle Offense puts 3 players on one side of the floor and two players on the opposite side. Players make decisions based on how the defense is playing always trying to put the help defense in a tough situation.

This is a complicated offense and probably best avoided by youth teams as it will take players who really know the game to run effectively.


Pick & Roll Offense

The Pick and Roll Offense also known as a Ball Screen Offense utilizes ball screens to send players rolling towards the basket while other players spot up. Mastering the ball screen takes a lot of coaching and practice as players must be able to make the correct read and then make the best decision based on how the defense is playing.

Many defenses will hard hedge the ball screen and your team must practice how to counter this. The Pick & Roll is used a lot but it is a high level basketball action. If teams are successful with it it's usually because the defense doesn't know how to play the screens at the high school level. Any screening action in basketball is good because the defense must communicate and/or have a plan on how to handle the screens. Screens can cause confusion and therefore breakdowns by the defense.



Patterned Offenses

Patterned Offenses move players from Point A, to Point B, to Point and so on. An classic example of a Patterned Offense would be the Flex Offense since a player must go to a certain spot after the ball is passed to a certain spot. These types of offenses are predictable so a team must be very good at executing the pattern and being able to counter the defense if they take option 1 away.

Patterned Offenses should not be used at the youth level because they take away learning how to play the game by making players do an action even if it may not be the best action to do. And if a player makes a mistake the entire offense will break down and it will have to start over to keep the flow going. Most youth teams that run a patterned offense won't run the pattern very much before everything breaks down and then it's one on one play.


Delay Offense

A delay offense is used to run the clock down when a team is competing against the clock more than the opponent. A Delay Offense can be a unique patterned offense or it can be the normal offense a team runs - they just don't shoot the ball. Often teams that are in a delay will only shoot the ball if they have a layup. The offense can be moved out further from the basket to create wider spacing and make it harder for the defense (who is behind) to trap the basketball and force turnovers.

Teams that run Pass & Cut can easily run a delay offense by just using the entire half court and running pass & cut. This really spaces the floor and make the defense chase the offensive players. There are special offenses that are typically ran in delay situations but many coaches don't have the time to work on these. If you find yourself in situations where the games really matter and you need to run the clock, it's worth your time to spend 5 minutes every other day working on the delay game because many defensive teams are not very good at trapping when in a man to man defense. Typically delay offenses are better than end of game defenses.



Press Break Offense

The Press Break Offense is used to break a full court or half court press. The press break offense can be 1,2,3, or 4 players up trying to receive the ball inbounds. No matter how you start a press break it should always have good spacing to break the press. Any press break should end up (in relation to where the ball is)

  • Ball Side Sideline - Player on Ball Side Slideline about 15 feet from the ball
  • Middle - Player trying to receive the ball in the middle of the floor about 10 to 15 feet from the ball
  • Reverse - One player behind the basketball ready to help reverse the ball to the other side of the floor
  • Deep Diagnol - this player is an the opposite side of the floor of where the ball is and is the furthest player from the ball.

Successful press breaks have good spacing, use ball fakes, sharp & crisp passses, pivoting, and poise. Players need to practice all of these so when intense defensive pressure comes they are able to stay calm and perform.



Zone Offenses

Most man to man offenses can be adapted or ran against a zone but usually it's best to have a separate zone attack. It's best if you can just adapt what you already do in your man to man to zone. Your typical zone will be a 2-3 and most teams will attack it with high low action.

The key to beating a zone is to attack it where it's weak. Coach Bob Knight would overload the weak areas and make it very difficult to guard everyone. This will also force an opposing coach to be able to adjust to the overload. Zones are best attacked with at least one player in or around the basket if not two players. You can have different zone offenses against a 1-3-1, 2-3, 1-2-2, and 3-2 zone defense but it's best to keep it as simple as possible for your players.

Princeton Offense

Pete Carill is the inventor of the Princeton Offense and it's most famous for it's back door action. Coach Carill was able to compete against and upset teams that were more talented than his with the Princeton's patient style.


Swing Offense

Bo Ryan created the Swing Offense and made it famous as Wisconsin. The premise of the Swing is to swing the ball from one side of the floor to the other to move the defense. If the ball doesn't move the defense doesn't have to move.

Jul 17, 2019 Coach Chris

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