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Archives by Tag 'Set Plays'

3 Fast Break Plays to Improve Your Transition Offense

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Current Texas head women’s basketball coach and former Duke coach Gail Goestenkors is a big proponent of the fast break offense. She prefers her teams to score via the fast break as much as possible and believes that an effective transition game can directly translate to success on the court.

This week, learn three versatile fast break plays that Goestenkors has implemented successfully with her teams over the years. Watch as the Texas coach explains each play and assists with player movements before they are fully simulated by a team on the basketball court.

Fast Break Overview: Carolina Break

In the first play, there’s a point guard at the top of the key with the ball. There’s a guard in the right corner, a low post player on the same side low block, a farside wing player at the free throw line extended, and another forward up top. Take note of this set-up. The spacing is similar in each of these three plays. In this case, this offense is up against a zone defense.

First, the ball is passed to the corner wing player. If the wing has an open lane to the basket, they should drive to the hoop. If he can’t, he should go to the baseline because we want the post defense to be low side. If the post defense is high side, look to work the ball to the inside.

From here, you can get into the “Carolina Break.” Once you get the defense low side, don’t just look to pass it back up through the point guard. Instead, look to skip to the high post because you have a seal and potential easy layup for the post player. Remember, “SKIP, SEAL, IN.” Keep the opposite side clear. The low-post player should remain on the strong side until the ball is reversed. If the defender denies the outside wing player, go backdoor.


Once the ball is reversed to the opposite wing player, the low post player will now cut to the strong-side post. Next, the corner player sets a back screen for the high-post player, who cuts off the screen and has the option for a lob pass down low. If he’s not open, there’s a pass to the new high-post player (i.e. the former corner player). If that player doesn’t get a lob pass, there’s a seal and he will look to get a low pass in for a right-handed layup.

Key: These fast break plays allow you to transition into any offensive set.


Meanwhile, you can run two different breaks depending on who the trail post is. Goestenkors likes to run this break quite often for her three-point shooters. When they trail in, the defense must respect them. They will also come up to defend her. When the ball is reversed, there’s a great angle available for a back screen.


Notice when the ball is reversed to the wing player. Now instead of the back screen, we are setting a down screen with the high-post player. The corner player pops up top off this screen, receives the ball, and the two post players open up. The player with the ball up top looks immediately inside to his two options.

Depending on personnel, the point guard should know whether to call Basic or Down (usually depends on who the trail post is).



If we have a shooter that’s really hot, we go into “Double.” It’s just like Down, but there’s a double screen. On the reverse, the PG and high-post player set a double screen (staggered) for the corner player, who receives the ball up top. The two low players now open up and look for the inside feeds. The corner player can also shoot the three-pointer up top if he’s open from the double screen.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Gail Goestenkors: Transition Offense & Quick Hitters.” To check out more transition offense-related videos, visit our basketball library.

3 Game-Winning Sideline Inbound Plays Used by the Pros

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hoping to add a few new inbounds plays this season to spice up your playbook? Check out these trio of plays used by the Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, and Boston Celtics during the 2008-09 NBA campaign. NBA Advanced Scout Noel Gillespie gives you exclusive access to a variety of effective in-bounds plays designed to net points — particularly for late game situations or late-clock scoring opportunities.

Houston Need 3

The Set-Up: The 1 guard or shooter starts with the ball out of bounds on the sideline. One forward is at the far-side elbow, the other guard is at the nearside elbow, the big man is at the top of the key, and the other forward is at the low near block.

The Action: The farside elbow player cuts to the near corner, then the low block guy cuts to the far opposite corner. The ball is passed in to the player in the near corner. Then the near elbow guy cuts to the top of the key and replaces the big guy. The big guy comes down and sets a screen for the inbounder just to the left of the top of the key. The inbounder cuts around this screen to the top of the key. The corner player hits the inbounder with a pass at the top of the key for a shot.


Toronto Starburst

The Set-Up: A guard takes the ball out of bounds. Two players start on opposite side wings (guard and forward) just off the top of the key. The big man is just above the foul line and another forward starts down low in the middle of the paint.

The Action: The big man sets a back pick for the nearside high wing player. That wing player will cut to the opposite corner. The big man will then screen for the 3 man on the opposite high wing area. That 3 man will then cut to the near corner. Then the big man will set another pick, this time for the guard down low and that player will come up to the top of the key.

The inbounder passes to the guard up top. After that pass, the inbounder cuts down towards the near low block and around the low side of a double screen there set by 5 and 4. The inbounder cuts below and then up to the far wing area, receives the pass from 2, and takes the shot.


Boston Need 2

The Set-Up: The inbounder (forward) starts on the sideline. Another forward starts up at the top of the key. One guard is on the opposite wing. A second guard is just off the low near block and the big man is at the near elbow.

The Action: The elbow player comes down and sets a screen for the low block player. The top of the key player then switches with the wing player (trading spots) while the big man sets the down screen. The low block player curls around the pick and receives a lob from the inbounder for a quick layup.


The previous plays can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “25 Game-Winning In-Bound Plays From the Pros” featuring Noel Gillespie. To check out more play-oriented videos, visit our extensive DVD catalog.

Two Dynamic Set Plays to Beat the 2-3 Zone Defense

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The 2-3 Zone Defense is one of the most common zone defenses implemented by high school and college basketball teams. Quite simply, it’s effective with the right personnel. Here are two proven plays designed to attack the 2-3 zone. Follow along with the movements and actions before watching the set plays be carried out live on the court. Then look to feature  these plays in your playbook later this season.

Set Play vs. 2-3 Zone Defense

Submitted by Ricky Norris, Oak Ridge HS, Oak Ridge, TN

The Set-up: This play is designed to create a mismatch for your perimeter player who has the ability to score close to the basket. Begin in a 1-3-1 look.

The Action: Make a first pass to 2 on the right wing. 1 then moves to the corner on the left side (weak-side). Now 2 must catch the ball above the free-throw line. The defender X1 will then go out to guard 2. Next, 3 moves into a position below the free-throw line and into the left corner.

Now, 4 must make a ball screen just off the right elbow. 2 goes hard off of this screen and passes to 3 across the court to the far wing. He/she can also pass to 1 if X3 cheats.

The Finish: 3 now has several options: Hit 1 who is isolated in the short corner against X5 OR pass to 4 who is diving to the low block OR pass to 5 in the midpost for a jumpshot or a dump down to 4.


“Pitt” Set Play vs. 2-3 Zone Defense

Submitted by Jim Boeheim, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Syracuse University

This is a tough set play to defend against for a 2-3 zone. Pittsburgh had a lot of success using this against Syracuse when Brandon Knight was their featured guard.

The Set-up: Set up two players behind the zone along the baseline and then place a post player on the weakside elbow.

The Action: A guard will bring up the ball on the left side of the floor, drawing the top defender toward him/her. The other guard cuts from the right side and receives a pass from the ball handler. The weakside forward then cuts wide into the corner.

Next, the player at the elbow breaks to the top and sets a backscreen on the top defender. The guard curls around the screen and drives straight to the basket. The drive to the bucket is always the first option. But as the middle defender steps up to defend the drive, the far-side baseline player cuts to the lane and sets up in the right side low block.

The Finish: The ball handler fakes a pass to the right corner and drops a bounce pass to the low block for a post-up scoring opportunity. The offside guard cuts to the basket on the weakside forcing the weakside defenders to stay at home.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Over 50 Set Plays to Attack Zone Defenses” by Winning Hoops. To check out more set plays in the Winning Hoops library, click here.

Key Concepts and Strategies for the Spread Pick and Roll Offense

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan is one of the game’s top visionaries when it comes to the pick & roll offense. The concept was in place when a Donovan-led Florida program won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007 and has proven to be quite effective at the high school, college, and professional levels.

Watch as Coach Donovan discusses the overall background, key concepts and important techniques to the offense, including the flat pick & roll (which offers multiple opportunities to score in a half-court setting). Plus, catch a breakdown of the offense and plays in action 5-on-5 and see what you can take away from this exclusive look with one of the game’s most respected coaches.

Pick & Roll Concepts

Some of the hardest things to guard in the game of basketball are ball screens and pick and roll action. At Florida, Coach Donovan has featured a few big guys that are quite talented and can catch and pass with the best of them. Any time that you are running pick and roll action, it’s key to have a big guy that can pass, catch and also step back and shoot three-pointers. Under this concept, the big guys need to roll to the basket or roll toward the baseline where they can hit that 15-foot jumper or create something off the dribble.

Everything done here is also based out of spacing and trying to take advantage of the way our pick & rolls are being guarded. For the offensive breakdown, Coach Donovan likes to work backwards and first runs through three main ways that the pick & rolls can be defended:

1) You’ll get a hard show or trap

2) You’ll get a switch

3) The opposition will back off or go under the screen to keep the ball out of the lane.

Once you go through a bunch of pick and rolls through the game, you’ll get a good feel for how they are being defended. Therefore, you need actions in your pick and rolls to take advantage of how the opposition is playing them.


Flat Pick and Roll

First, we want the floor to be extremely spaced. Next, we want the wings to go down to the dead corner to start out. The screener starts off above the three-point line and angles his body with the pick. Players will then move based on when the screener moves off.

The first screen is a ball screen between the top of the key and mid-court. We will take the screener and turn him facing the opposite basket. How far he comes out is based on where and how the point guard is being defended. He’s got to give the guy with the ball one step so he can make a move. Note: This is perfect for teams who have their best player as the PG and he’s getting constantly pressured and hounded. It’s also a great way to relieve pressure so he can go off either way.

So in review, the screener comes up and makes a back screen for the point guard. Once this happens, the PG has the entire floor to work with now.

The goal here is to get two guys on the ball as much as possible. If this happens, our PG has done this job. Now, we are looking to play four against their three in this situation.

Next, there’s a drive down the lane and the option for a pitch out for the three. The guy on the baseline also must make a read. It’s his job to get open. Also, if a player gets the ball to the middle of the floor or paint area, his done his job. That’s the last place the defense wants the ball. So if your player gets in the middle, all other players must work to get open.

Meanwhile, if the ball gets to the man in the corner, there is the opportunity for an immediate post up. We can now throw the ball up top and get right back in it as well. Remember, the screen starts at the FT line. Move and get open and make the game easy for each other.


Pick and Roll in Action

Watch players running the offense now as Coach Donovan provides some key tips along the way. Players should drive the ball down the lane right away. Someone will top you but the game is easier now that you’re in the paint. Drive the ball down the middle and then make a play.

It’s key that players don’t always pass directly into the corner on the 4-on-3. Get the ball into the middle of the paint every time. Meanwhile, off-ball players must read the play and get open.

For the screener, right when you set the screen up top, roll towards the basket and not backwards (where you’ll be a non-threat). The screener must get back into the play quickly after the screen. Also, the PG must make effective use of the screen by rubbing right off his man.


The clips above can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Billy Donovan: The Spread Pick & Roll Offense.” To check out additional videos featuring Coach Donovan, click here.

3 Effective Offensive Plays Against Man Defense

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In search of some effective new plays to add to the playbook this season? With defensive techniques becoming more complex, it’s key that coaches are equipped with a variety of creative set plays they can call upon for any offensive situation. Check out the following offensive plays designed to attack man-to-man defenses. The plays have been submitted by several of the top basketball coaches in the nation, including Tubby Smith and Fran Fraschilla.

4 High Quick Hitter

Submitted by Tubby Smith, University of Minnesota Head Coach

The Set-Up: Player 4 should be your best post-up player. Player 1 brings the ball up the floor and the rest of the team should set up in a 1-4 high set. Players 4 and 5 set up at opposite elbows, while 2 and 3 are at opposite wing areas and behind the three-point line.

The Play: Player 1 passes to 2 and 2 cuts to the ball. Players 4 and 5 criss cross in the lane and both break down to the opposite low blocks. Player 2 immediately looks to get the ball to 4 posting on the low block. Player 1 then cuts to the weakside behind the three-point line. Next, player 5 breaks up to the top of the key. Player 2 then initiates a quick ball reversal by passing to 5 at the top of the key. 5 then immediately passes the ball to 1 on the wing. Player 3 breaks toward the basket and sets a screen for 4 on the opposite low block. Player 4 then rolls off the pick and heads to the lowside block. 1 then looks to pass to 4 posting up on the block.


Side Two or Side Three

Submitted by Fran Fraschilla, former St. John’s Head Coach

The Set-Up: Player 1 starts out at the top of the key with the ball. Players 2 and 3 are down low on opposite blocks. Player 5 is on the left side wing area beyond the three-point line. Player 4 starts on the opposite wing area.

The Play: Player 5 sets a down screen for player 3 around the low block. Player 3 then curls off the screen and into the middle of the lane, then pops up to the opposite elbow. Player 4 moves towards player 1 as 1 dribbles to the left. Player 5 then sets a screen at the left low block and player 2 cuts baseline off 5’s screen and to the opposite corner.

Player 2 looks for a shot in the corner or 5 in the post. If it isn’t there, the offense resets as 2 passes back to 1, and 1 passes to 4 at the top. The same inside options are available like before, as 5 can set the screen on the low block for 2 as 2 cuts to the opposite low block. Player 5 then cuts off the screen and into the middle of the paint.


Quick Hitter out of a Stack

Submitted by Nate Webber, Nottingham HS, Hamilton, NJ

The Set-Up: Initially, look for a quick hit option for the guards off the double screen. Two guards start out on opposite low blocks. Two forwards are stacked with them just above them on the blocks. The point guard starts up top with the ball.

The Play: If there is no shot available off the double screen, the left-side guard and forward both screen across the lane for the opposite forward, who cuts around the picks and to the opposite corner. It’s his shot to take if open.

If the shot isn’t open, the forward and guard who last made the double screen now have options. The forward down low sets a screen for the guard right below him, then cuts to the middle of the paint. That guard cuts outside of the pick and to the elbow. At the elbow, the top of the key guard makes an elbow pick, while the other guard then curls around that and to the top of the key area. He should be ready for the catch and shot.


The above plays can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Over 60 Plays to Attack Man-to-Man Defenses” produced by Winning Hoops. To check out the entire Winning Hoops collection, click here.


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