Championship Productions Blog

Archives by Tag 'Tom Izzo'

Two Dynamic Quick-Hitting Zone Plays with Tom Izzo

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In this week’s team development feature, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo reveals some of his favorite zone quick-hitting plays. These special situation plays – perfect for quick baskets or change-of-pace looks – have been used with great success by Michigan State over the years. Coach Izzo first breaks down each play before getting players to run through them with a ghost defense and then eventually 5-on-5.


Remember, these are just quick-hitting plays. They aren’t actual zone plays run to get continuity. We start in a 1-2-2 or 1-3-1 set in our basic offense. For these plays, if we start in a 1-2-2, we can get into the 1-3-1 pretty quickly by flashing the left low player up to the foul line area.

Rule: Never have the point guard and high post player in a tandem.

1-3-1 Special

The 1-3-1 Special can be done two different ways, especially if you have a good point guard shooter or a good 4-man shooter. We will enter the ball to the right-side wing. If we want the shot for our point guard, we call out “Special For Me” and the player taps his chest. The point guard will then run down to the block and post up.

The flash player will now pop out at the top of the key lane extended. The opposite wing player will now rotate up almost lane extended. Next, as the wing player with the ball is looking in down low for the PG, he will then reverse it around the key and the PG will cut baseline and into the opposite corner.

The remaining low-post player will set a screen down low for the PG (if the player fights over the pick, he should step into the middle man in the lane). The PG then receives the pass in the corner and hits the shot.



If the PG isn’t a great shooter, he should make the pass to the wing and then step away to the opposite side of the key. Now, the 4-man (or flasher) will run baseline for the corner shot.

As for the low-block screener, his job is to read the bottom guy in the zone because the zone has been shifted. If he steps out, then you must step into that middle guy. You can look to receive a pass from the guy up top, so be aware. Otherwise, we can hit the 4 in the corner, or the 4 can receive the pass and then pass it down to the low-block player for a layup.

Key: Look to get a quality shot off within 10 seconds.

1-3-1 Double

Here’s another quick-hitter called 1-3-1 Double. To begin, the sleeper player starts out down low on the right block. The PG then passes to the right wing player. The PG goes through and posts up down low on the block. The player in the middle now pops out to the top of the key and the wing player with the ball dribbles down to the corner to shift the entire zone.

Next, the opposite-side wing player will now come down and set a double pick with the other low post player. The player with the ball passes back to the player up top, and then the PG down low cuts baseline and right off the double screen to the opposite wing. Finally, the top screener flashes to the top of the lane, and the low screener goes for the lob. You have three solid options here.

Note: Most zones try to get you to pass the ball around the perimeter, so if the ball gets into the middle of a zone defense, we are in business.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Tom Izzo’s Basketball Smorgasboard of Drills and Basketball Wisdom.” Check out our entire Tom Izzo/Michigan State DVD catalog by clicking here.

All-Access Pass: Behind the Scenes with Tom Izzo and Michigan State Men’s Basketball

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you to East Lansing, Michigan for an exclusive look inside a Michigan State men’s basketball practice. Watch as head coach Tom Izzo — who led the Spartans to a 2000 National Championship and six final fours — walks through a variety of team drills for you and details specific roles, player instruction, overall strategies and general team tips.

First, Izzo leads his team through a standard warm-up that Michigan State uses nearly every day and incorporates many different facets of the game. Next, the coaching legend provides explicit instruction to his players as they work their way through their “Daily Dozen” practice drills. With this behind-the-scenes look, see what kind of ideas, drills and coaching tactics you can pick up on and implement with your team. Most drills can be used across all levels of basketball and are easily adaptable.


In this particular warm-up session, Coach Izzo has guards working at one end and forwards/centers at the other. First, the guards start with pound dribbles. After practicing in-place, players will go from the baseline to half court as one repetition and even work their way up to using two balls at the same time. Additional warm-up work for the guards includes baseball passes, plus drills focusing on hop-steps, pivoting and passing.

Meanwhile for the big men, players will explode to the rim for quick monster rebounds before passing to an outlet. Then, the drill graduates to tip-rebounding, which is essentially trying to tap rebounds into the basket while in the air and never returning to the floor. Finally, a dummy will be put in the paint so that players have to work their way around contact while looking to finish the play.


Daily Dozen

In the “Daily Dozen”, players start out with right and left-handed layups. Note that even at the college level, the fundamentals of basketball are still used on a daily basis. Reverse layups are incorporated next before it’s time for hanging layups, where players try to avoid the charge and finish the short-range basket in the lane. And finally, the team breaks out into a 3-man break drill. The drill starts with a rebound on one end of the floor and finishes on the opposite end with all participants making a layup or jumper. Consider using this drill to add some variety to your own daily warm-ups.


The following clips can be seen in their entirety on Championship Productions’ DVD “All-Access Basketball Practice” with Tom Izzo. Check out our extensive All-Access catalog by clicking here.

Breakdown With Tom Izzo: Techniques and Drills for On-Ball and Help-Side Defense

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This week’s player development feature breaks down proper technique and strategies for on-ball and help-side defense. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo walks you through a series of drills aimed at developing the appropriate spacing, footwork, movements and communication needed on defense so athletes can benefit at every level and the actions become second nature.

Breakdown of Drills

Start with two lines out at the top of the key. The following drills will feature two offensive players and two defensive players going 2 v 2. One player will start with possession of the ball and the other offensive player will be off to the wing a bit. Meanwhile, one defender will play on the ball at first while the other is in help defense.

Drill 1

Begin with the two offensive players going back and forth passing the ball while in place. At the same time, have the defensive players keep switching from on-ball to help-side defense. The defense should always be working at a very fast pace with frequent arm movements.

Keys to remember on defense:
-The “line of the ball” is the direction that the ball can go. A help defender should always be one “big step” off the line of the ball.
-Keep your body between the ball and the basket. Coach Izzo prefers that players go chest-to-chest and shoulder-to-shoulder on defense so they don’t open up their feet up and funnel their man to the sideline.
-Be in a help position versus a deny position.
-Pressure the ball with one hand. One hand should be up in the face of the man with the ball and one hand be down to defend, always switching depending on which side the ball is on.


Drill 2

Next, integrate pivoting and arm gestures with the ball for the offensive players in order to simulate typical game action and quick movements.

Keys to remember:
-Defenders should always move on the pass, not on the catch. When a pass is made, the defensive man is already moving from on-ball to help-side.
-Move with the outside foot to the direction of the ball. After two steps, a player should be in proper position.
-Never get the outside foot “up.” Players will have a harder time getting back into a play for on-ball defense and will be a step behind.
-Always keep down low and take one step before pushing off.

Drill 3

Now have the offensive players take one dribble in either direction before passing. This puts additional pressure on the defense and forces them to keep proper positioning and techniques.
Keys to remember:
-Your goal is to beat the ball into the offensive guy’s hands.
-With a dribble, the defense now must really anticipate. The minute a help-side defender picks up the man, he releases. He steps in but never changes the line of the ball and is still parallel to the line. The help defender shouldn’t jump to the ball.
-Move to where the ball is thrown and then look. Don’t look and then move.
-Always have four or six “defensive eyes” on the ball at all times.


The drills and techniques covered in this feature can be found in Championship Productions’ DVD “Tom Izzo’s Basketball Smorgasbord of Drills and Basketball Wisdom.” To check out additional videos in our exclusive Tom Izzo collection, click here.

New Basketball DVD: Winning Dead Ball Situations with Tom Izzo

By nate.landas - Last updated: Monday, December 20, 2010

We have recently released a new basketball DVD featuring Tom Izzo titled Winning Dead Ball Situations.  Izzo is a master of developing set plays and utilizing a timeout to get an easy basket.  Within the DVD, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use dead ball situations to attack the basket
  • Win more close games by being purposeful in dead ball situations
  • Take advantage of jump balls, missed free throws, out-of-bounds plays and intense defensive pressure

More customer favorites’ from Tom Izzo include:

Tom Izzo: Dominating Rebounding & Man-to-Man Defensive Drills
Tom Izzo’s ‘Basketball Smorgasbord’ of Drills and Basketball Wisdom
Tom Izzo: Multi-Threat Scoring Offense
Tom Izzo: The 1-3-1 Zone Offense
Tom Izzo: Rebounding Drills and Defending the Pick-and-Roll
Tom Izzo: The Numbered Fastbreak
Tom Izzo: Quick Strikes & Warm-Up Drills for Winning Basketball

New Tom Izzo DVD: Plays & Strategies for Dead Ball Situations!

By mike.oconnell - Last updated: Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Basketball DVD featuring Tom Izzo,  Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Michigan State and 3x National Coach of the Year!

Tom Izzo: Winning Dead Ball Situations

  • Use dead ball situations to attack the basket
  • Win more close games by being purposeful in dead ball situations
  • Take advantage of jump balls, missed free throws, out-of-bounds plays and intense defensive pressure

For More Best-Selling Tom Izzo Instruction Click Here: Tom Izzo


Drake University Continuing Education Gold Medal Guarantee Sign Up for our Newsletter Request a Catalog Testimonials Career Opportunities
SecurityWorry-Free Shopping
Championship Productions, Inc. Follow danbergan on Twitter