By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
With Rutgers University head men’s basketball coach Mike Riceas your guide, learn how to maximize your zone offense efficiency and train your players how to become instinctive to attacking zone defenses. The goal here is that after mastering these drills, your players should become better players against zone. Plus, they’ll be able to read defenses better and react to them, making them complete players for any system.
4 on 3 Passing
Efficient passing is a necessity when it comes to attacking the zone. As a team, you want to attack the paint, collapse the defense, and then finish the play from there. While this is a great passing drill for anything really, it is especially helpful for reading the defense. For coach Rice, if Rutgers is about to play a zone team, this is the drill that the squad starts out practice with. It gets players to keep their heads up, make ball fakes, play low, and understand who is open.
Four players start out on the blocks and elbows and three other players begin in the middle of the paint. One defender is closing out to the ball, and the other two players play how they want but must get in the passing lanes. The only rule is that the defense has to play the ball and be active. Coach Rice often implements the rule that after eight passes, if the defense deflects the ball, they put a point on the board.
Start with three lines of players around the arc. The drill begins with a pass to an adjacent player, he makes a shot fake or ball fake, and then immediately gets into a gap. Coach Rice will often use coaches or even chairs so that players can effectively get into the gaps.
Next, players will kick out the ball to an adjacent player. From there, players can either fade and pivot or go behind their teammate from there. Once the ball gets to that third player, he/she will shoot it. A coach will also have a ball on the side and will pass to the middle player for a shot. The only person that doesn’t get a shot here is the player who started the drill.
Tips for Zone Offense: Don’t be lined up exactly where the defense lines up. Remember, a possession in basketball comes down to whether your guys can make better decisions than the opposing players. You do this through drills so it eventually becomes instinctive.
The drill eventually moves into “Next Pass Shooting.” Any of the three offensive players can start out the drill this time. But this time, there’s only one penetration, then a shot fake, a next pass, another pass, and shot. According to Coach Rice, sometimes we over-penetrate, so we need to practice making the drive and short kick.
By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Legendary basketball coach Hubie Brown is a master tactician – particularly when it comes to zone defense. With Brown as your guide, learn effective offensive strategies to beat tough zone defenses, no matter if it’s a 2-3, 3-2, or 1-3-1 look. These are some of the same offensive tips and schemes that Brown implemented with his teams during his Hall of Fame career, including most recently as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies from 2002-05.
A Quick Play to Beat Zone Defenses
This play is designed to beat most zone defenses, especially 2-3, 3-2, and 1-3-1 schemes. If implemented successfully, opponents should be getting out of a zone defense alignment in a heartbeat.
The Set-Up: 4 and 5 start out at the top of the key but spread out and just inside the 3-point line (elbow extended). 1 has the ball at the top of the key, while 2 and 3 are on opposite wings.
Keys to Remember
*When you leave an area, replace
*You must have a short pass and a long pass to make the offense work
*You must be able to reverse the ball
The Action: The point guard passes the ball to the big guy on the left (though he can pass to any of the two big guys if he desires). When running the big men in the transition game, Brown likes to run them to the middle of the paint. When it comes to zone stuff, he prefers to run guys to the same exact spot every time.
After the ball is passed to one of the two big guys, we run an X. The opposite big guy cuts toward the paint immediately and looks for the immediate pass in stride down low. If he doesn’t get it, he goes to the low block and the PG replaces his spot up top.
The ball then gets skipped to the player in the corner. The passer then makes an X-cut down the lane and looks for the pass. The big guy on the low block will now cut up the lane and the opposite wing player should fill the spot up top.
The player with the ball in the corner now has a short and long pass available. The skip pass goes back up to the top player on the opposite side.
Options with the Zone Offense
If it’s a two-man front (i.e. 2-3 defense), you should step right up into the two guys. This will give you two more options. If it’s a 3-2 zone, always step into between the point and the wing.
Meanwhile, any time against the zone where you throw the ball into the post, (don’t forget: post players should be set up on the first lane line, don’t be on the block), leave an area and replace. The player now has options with the skip across for the 3, a cutting player down the opposite side of the lane, and more. If you screen the zone up top, the opposite player then cuts diagonal to the box and opposite wing guy drifts to the corner.
*Now watch as the squad runs through the drill at full speed run with all of the different options.