In this week’s team concepts feature, we’ll highlight key offensive drills for beating zone defense. With his Duke team on hand to simulate key coaching points, legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski breaks down the “Box Drill” and “Bigs Shooting” to show you how to run a smooth zone offense. These drills are perfect antidotes for any team looking to improve against stifling zone defenses. Meanwhile, check out our previous feature featuring Coach K and his five essential principles for attacking the zone.
Coach K uses this drill quite a bit with his team and is a great tool for perimeter players. Start by putting four defenders in a box or diamond shape to simulate a zone. You can even use managers if you’d like. The goal here is to teach the kids movement. Ask the players to have their feet set, be ready to shoot, use dribble penetration, and to keep balanced.
Offensively, use pass fakes and shot fakes to get the zone moving and to get open looks. Always be ready and use penetration to create and maintain spacing. This way, you’ll always be ready to hit your shot. This also forces the defense to come out and play you.
Also, implement quick fakes back to the direction that you received the ball – AKA misdirection moves. This creates great opportunities for you and your teammates and keeps the defense off balance. Make the defense think you are doing one thing but then go and do another.
Bigs Zone Shooting
One key principle for your big guys is to keep them behind the zone and having them flash. This is a good way of attacking the zone inside. However, they must know how to move first. Next, we’ll get into the different kinds of shots they will get against a zone. Like before with our perimeter players, they must be ready at all times to catch and shoot. This is also quite different than with man-to-man, so you must teach this in your build up as to how you attack the zone as a unit.
Start by getting one player or manager with a pad in the middle of the lane. The offensive player is going to crack into that defensive player. This creates an opening for the bigs to get a good post move. Be sure to show your hands, too.
Next, the post player comes out to the short corner. Look to get that 10-12 foot shot along the baseline.
On the heels of the short corner shots, the bigs are cracking in to the helpside of the zone. The big man should crack into the man who would normally slide down to stop him from making that move. Show a target to that perimeter teammate so he passes right to it. From this position, he can also block him out and screen the defender. Your bigs can also get lob passes after blocking out the defender, too.
After this, we move into flashes. Flash into an open area, like up around the free-throw line. Remember to flash from behind the zone. Flash, catch and face, shoot, and follow your shot.
Finally, put two guys into the post. Watch as they continue to work with each other. Both are posting, one on the ballside and helpside. Let them move around and don’t hit them every time.
The previous clips can all be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball – Attacking the Zone.” To check out more videos featuring zone principles, click here. Got any zone drills that work wonders for your own team? Let us know by commenting below or e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.