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Archives by Tag 'Zone Offense'

Dynamic Drills to Beat Zone Defense: Box Drill and Bigs Shooting

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2012

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.

Box Drill

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

One Year Anniversary on Bob Hurley DVDs!

By nate.landas - Last updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A year ago we released Bob Hurley’s Basketball DVDs and since then he has had an exceptional performance as a coach.  During this time period he passed the 1,000 win mark for his coaching career.  He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, and selected as National Coach of the Year by USA Today in 1989 and 1996.  Here are the One Year Anniversary Bob Hurley Basketball DVDs:

Bob Hurley: Motion and Zone Offenses

  • Learn how to breakdown the 2-3 zone, 2-3 match-up zone, 1-3-1 zone, and the 1-2-2 zone with multiple looks
  • Discover the importance of attacking any zone defense from behind
  • Maximize your Motion Offense with 10 key concepts to defeat man-to-man defense
  • Bob Hurley: Practice Planning & Program Development

  • Learn practice planning strategies from one of the most successful high school coaches in the country
  • Get a look inside the coaching philosophy, keys to success, and the basketball contract to building a successful program
  • Get a variety of fundamental drills for passing, dribbling, shooting, defense and rebounding
  • Implement and benefit from the same coaching and program philosophies that have made Bob Hurley one of the nation’s elite high school coaches.
  • Bob Hurley: Building a Multiple Defensive System

  • Create a dominating Multiple Defensive System that confuses your opponents
  • Learn four signature presses and traps
  • Implement strategies to shut down your opponent’s best player
  • Bob Hurley: Developing Perimeter Players

  • Develop 3-point range and mid-range jumpers
  • See on-court demonstrations of 11 multi-dimensional drills
  • Drills teach ball handling, passing, shooting, cutting, pick & roll, as well as individual defense and rebounding
  • Purchase any of the above Bob Hurley DVDs and use the code BH38MM to get $10 off each of these discs! Hurry, offer expires by 3/16/2012!

    Mike Krzyzewski: 5 Essential Principles for Attacking the Zone

    By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    In this week’s team concepts feature, we’ll highlight key offensive principles when attacking the zone. With his Duke team on hand to simulate key coaching points, legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski provides simple solutions to running a highly effective zone offense. Follow along with Coach K as he explains the five major components of his offense before letting his players demonstrate on the floor.

    Zone Offense Principles: An Overview

    When it comes to attacking regular half-court zone defenses, Coach K prefers to attack in a simple manor. Many people feel like they must run a different offense based on the zone defense. At Duke, however, the team runs just one offense against all zone defenses.

    A familiar offense against multiple defenses keeps your players more instinctive. If you keep changing things back and forth, the team gets out of rhythm and that’s exactly what a zone defense is looking to do against you.


    On the Court: The First Three Principles

    Against a two-man front, the first thing we want to do is have intelligent use of the dribble (i.e. gap penetration, step back dribbles, and getting 2 on 1 scenarios). Look for gap penetration to force two defenders to play one. Also, we can have angle penetration. By getting angle penetration, this creates movement and forces the zone to move.

    Second, ball reversal is also important. When you have the ball, look to create 2 on 1 matchups you can exploit. You can then use ball reversal and a chance to hit an easy shot.

    Next, another key principle is flashing to the middle in the middle of the zone. This can be done in a number of ways. When you flash into the middle, it doesn’t have to be for a shot. As you get the ball in the middle, the easiest thing to do is a hit a guy up top and he’s got a shot. You can also turn and reverse to the other side for a shot. But if you got a shot, take it.

    Players can also flash to the middle of the zone from the wing, not just with the big men down low.


    On the Court: The Final Two Principles

    Next, it’s key to keep the big guys behind the zone. If a shooter takes a shot, who has inside positioning for a rebound? The bigs do. Also, you can look at posting the zone.

    By being behind the zone, your players can see everything. If you can tell that a defensive player isn’t looking at me, you can come up and post the zone and you’re ready for a good shot opportunity. If you stand right next to the defense, they know you are right there. Also, if they come down to meet me, it creates a bigger gap on the floor.

    Also, bigs should post up the middle of the zone if the bottom defender comes out to play the wing player. The big men must be able to make the read, but be sure that you make the play before the wing guy even receives the ball. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

    KEY: Staying behind the zone allows you to post, flash, and rebound.

    The next principle is screening the zone. An easy way is to screen (whether picking the top man or bottom man) when using angle penetration.

    Attacking the 2-1-2 Zone Full-Speed

    Any time we get the ball inside, perimeter players must be ready to shoot. Don’t toe the line. Get behind the line so if a player gets the ball, he can step into it and have momentum. The zone gives you an opportunity to get your feet set and ready to shoot it. Make sure you are reacting at all time and creating your passing lane if a teammate needs to kick it out, he can.

    Tip: The jump stop is a great move when penetrating the middle.


    The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball – Attacking the Zone.” To check out more videos featuring zone principles, click here.

    3 Proven Offensive Plays to Beat the Zone

    By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Check out these three effective offensive plays designed to attack zone defenses. You’ll receive an overview of each play and a full diagram before seeing the play being simulated live in action on the court. The following plays offer a variety of options for teams, from three-pointers to lob plays, and mid-range jumpers.

    Zone Offense vs. 2-Man Front

    Submitted by Keith Siefkes, Beth Eden Baptist School, Denver, CO

    The Set-Up: 4 should be your best shooter and is set up in the post (left side). 1 is up top with the ball. 3 is on the left wing and 2 is on the right wing and both are behind the three-point line. 5 is at the free throw line stationed in the middle.

    The Action: 1 dribbles to the right wing area to initiate action. As 1 dribbles toward 2, 2 sets a baseline screen for 4. After setting the screen, 2 releases to the top of the key for the ball reversal. 5 rolls down to the mid-post area and 3 drops to the weakside low post area for rebounding. 1 can pass to 4 off the screen or hit 2 after the screen in the low post or 5 at the mid post.

    For ball reversal: 1 passes to 2 up top and 2 dribbles to the opposite wing as 3 moves to screen for 4 on the low block/baseline area. 4 cuts across baseline to the opposite corner. 5 follows the ball reversal and set up at the opposite mid-post area and 1 drops for weakside rebounding. After screening, 3 releases to the top for ball reversal.

    Also, use this pattern for quicker ball reversal: The play begins the same with 1 dribbling to the wing. After 2 sets a baseline screen for 4 (coming across to the near corner), 2 releases to the opposite wing. 5 then steps out and up top for ball reversal. The reversal goes from 1 to 5 to 2 around the horn.


    Lob Play vs 2-3 Zone Defense

    Submitted by Jim Rosborough, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

    The Set-Up: 1 starts with the ball up top. 3 is on the right wing and above the three-point arc. 2 is on the opposite wing and also beyond the arc. 5 is on the left side low block area and 4 is at the free throw line area.

    The Action: 1 passes to 3 and then takes a few dribbles toward the baseline/corner. 3 then passes back up to 1. As this is happening, 4 cuts below 5 and to the left corner. 2 then cuts across the lane and close to 5 and heads to the opposite baseline area/low post.

    The Finish: 1 takes a few dribbles and then puts a pass up in the air for 5 right at the rim.


    Crunch Play vs. Zone Defense

    Submitted by Eddie Sutton, Oklahoma State, Stillwater, Oklahoma

    The Set-Up: This play is set up in a 2-3 high alignment. 1 brings up the ball on either side of the floor. The other guard stays up high and opposite the guard with the ball. The center lines up on the foul line and the forwards stay wide on each wing.

    The Action: The point guard passes to the center at the foul line. As this is happening, both forwards break hard from their wing area and to the basket on slants. The center takes the pass and looks to hit either forward streaking to the hoop. Once the forwards get to the low post, both guards become headhunters and quickly break to set screens on the forward’s defenders. The forwards curl around the screens and pop out beyond the arc on each side respectively.

    The Finish: After setting the screens, both guards seal and curl into the lane and the center feeds the teammate with the best shot opportunity.


    The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Over 50 Set Plays to Attack Zone Defenses” produced by Winning Hoops. To check out more set plays for your coaching playbook, head over to our basketball library.

    Key Tips and Drills for Attacking Zone Offenses

    By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    With Rutgers University head men’s basketball coach Mike Rice as 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.


    Gap Shooting

    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.


    The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Mike Rice: Zone Offense and Zone Concepts.” To check out more videos focusing on zone basketball, simply head over to our basketball library.


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