Part II: Basic Motion Offense
(pass and screen away)
The following is the 2nd part of our four part blog series.. We will discuss our first offensive system and our suggestions on how to implement this offense with your team, including sample practice drills. I would suggest teaching defense first and then doing some of the drills and getting to the full offense by the end of practice. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO POST COMMENTS WITH ANY QUESTIONS!
Does this offense fit your personnel?
In my opinion, any team can use this offense. You can run this type of system even if you don't have true post players. I have watched youth teams run this offense using 2 inside players that are able to catch and finish around the basket. They may be taller players, or just players that are much better in close range. Yes, that's right, being tall doesn't always mean you have to be glued to the basket. I'll talk about this in a later post.
The Basic Motion Offense is a 3 out-2 in offense. This means that 3 players work around the perimeter (3 out), while two players hover around the basket (2 in). The basic principle with this offense is to pass and screen away (guard and post). It sounds very simple (it is), but you have use the screens properly with the intent to catch and drive, shoot, or pass inside for an easy basket,
Below are a couple of diagrams of the basic set up of this offense. In diagram 1,1 you will see the 3 guards spaced out on the perimeter and the two post players starting on the blocks. To start the offense 2 and 3 should v-cut to get open and then a pass is made to either side (diagram 1.2). Once a pass is made to one side or the other a screen away is made by 1 (diagram 1.3) Guards should be taught to brush shoulder to shoulder with the screener and curl to the ball. Post players also screen across and should brush shoulder to shoulder as well (diagram 1.4). When 2 gets the ball he/she can look inside for the post or reverse the ball back to the top of the key (diagram 1.5). Once 3 gets the ball he/she can drive to the hoop or quickly reverse it back to the left wing and player 1. The basic motion starts again with 3 screening away for 2 (as seen in figure 1.6).
There are a number of additional options with this offense. A few of these options will be discussed in the advanced section to give you some additional ideas.
Is this offense simple? Yes! It is a very simple offense, but can be effective if it is run properly. Players have to be taught to use screens and then must look to score when they catch the ball. Below are some sample drills to teach the nuances of the offense.
1,1 Basic set up
1.2 Guards v-cut to get open, 1 passes to 2 **Note-1 should dribble toward 2 or 3 to cut down the distance of the pass and improve the angle of the pass. Passing from middle is not a good idea.
1.3 1 screens away for 31.4 shows post action in the basic motion offense. 5 looks for the ball from 2 and then if he/she doesn't get it they screen away for 4.
1.4 5 screening away from 4. 4 flashes to the ball looking for an easy basket
1.5 3 catches the pass from 2 (offense resets) and reverses the ball back to 1
1.6 3 screens away for 2
In order to successfully implement any offense you will need to develop drills to break down each component of the offense. I suggest developing drills for each part of the offense, which includes some of the details that can be overlooked at times. For example, how to set a proper screen, use a screen, and catching in triple threat position (Drill #1). You should try to incorporate these drills into your daily practice schedule. In the beginning you will not be as efficient and may only get through some of the basics. Be patient, give it some time, and you will be running this offense in no time.
Below are a few suggestions for practice drills that will help you run the Basic Motion Offense:
Note: Drills 1, 2, and 3 can be done at the same time by splitting guard and post. this is very typical for most teams involved in youth, high school, and college basketball. Drills should take up about 30-45 minutes of practice time. If you only have an hour in the gym you can work on basic fundamentals (layups, etc....) at the beginning of practice, followed by defense, and then finish with your offensive period. In high school we have 2 hour practices so we can fit a lot more drills and situations into practice.
Pass and Screen Away Drill (Guards)
5, 10, or 15 minutes at practice. The drill will take more time at first and every time you add something new (shooting, etc..) it will take additional teaching time.
2 lines with a coach as the 3rd person in the drill You can also have a line of players as the third line (advanced) or if you don't have enough coaches. I would probably be the 3rd person so I can stop the drill if I'm not happy with it.
Have one line at the top of the key and one line on the left wing. The player at the top will pass to the coach on the right and then go screen away for the player on the left wing. (switch sides after a few times through)--this action is seen in the above diagram.
Have the players run the drill slow with the coach making corrections at first. Once they get the hang of it the players should be able to run the drill rapid fire.
Coaching Points (what to look for during the drill):
- Make sure the top player is setting the screen properly with a good base and not moving.
- Teach the wing player to jab step and brush off the screen shoulder to shoulder. Basically, they should step to the left (toward the baseline) to set up the defender and then use the screen. If they are on the right side they should take a couple of steps right and then use the screen.
- When they catch at the top of the key they should be in proper triple threat position. This means they have an opportunity to catch and dribble drive, catch and pass, or catch and shoot. They should be low and in an athletic position.
- Look to score! Too many teams run this offense and just keep passing and screen away. After a while it is tiresome to watch. Every player coming off a screen should be looking to get to the basket or take an open shot!
- Advance the drill as the players get better at using screens. Eventually, you will be able to have the players come off the screen to catch and shoot or catch, head fake, and drive to the basket.
- Advance the drill by adding in defensive players that are trying to get through the screens
- You can also incorporate some of the advanced principles I talk about below.
Screen Away and Flash Drill (Post)
5, 10, or 15 minutes at practice. This drill should be done at the same time as the guard drill on the opposite end of the floor.
2 lines with a coach (or player) on the wing passing into the post.
Have the coach(or a player) on the right wing as the passer. The post player on the right block screens across for the other post who flashed to the low block catches the pass and scores. It is a simple drill, but you are putting the players in a game situation. They are going to catch the ball in this same spot in the game and will have to turn and score.
Again, have the players run the drill slow with the coach making corrections at first. After a few days the players will be able to run it rapid fire.
- Make sure post players setting screens properly (shoulder to shoulder)
- Teach the post players to fake one way and then come around the other way off the screen.
- Have them catch the ball and turn to the baseline and to the middle finishing with both hands.
- Teach them to use a head fake, up and under move, or even jump hook to make them more efficient around the basket
- Mikan and other post drills around the basket are a must in practice if you are to run this offense (see drill 4)
10 or 15 minutes at practice.
Varies depending on the drill.
Post (mikan, 2 ball mikan, clean ups, back board shots, etc..)
Guards (v-cut, catch and shoot.....v-cut, catch, head fake, drive to basket....etc....)
Post Drill 1: Mikan Drill (can be used with guards as well)
Use a stop watch and time the players for 30 seconds. They keep shooting layups consecutively with the left and right hand. Give them a target for the number of layups they need to make in 30 seconds.
Post Drill 2: Back board shots
Have players catch in the short corner and take back board shots. Again, you can time them for 30 seconds or even 1 minute. Have them go from side to side and count the number of makes.
Post Drill 3: Cut and Score
In this drill you can simulate the flash cut for post players and have them score. Drills that simulate game situations are always important in practice.
Guard Drill 1: V-Cut Drill
Teach players to perform a simple v-cut, square up, rip through in proper triple threat position
Guard Drill 2: V-cut, catch, and drive
Players should v=cut again, but this time catch the ball in triple threat, head fake, and drive to the basket. You can run this drill on both sides of the court.
Guard Drill 3: Pass, screen away, and shoot drill
Once your players learn how to pass and screen away you can make this a rapid fire shooting drill. I would use 3 lines and keep rotating the players from one line to the next. Make them hit a certain amount of shots in 2 minutes to keep it competitive.
- Fundamentals. I would focus on the fundamental aspects of making a layup, shooting properly, using screens, triple threat, and how to head fake and drive to the basket.
- These are suggested drills for guards and post, but you should adjust them to the needs of your team.
- Adjust drills as your players get more advanced. I could keep giving additional suggestions so feel free to message me.
Passing into the post
5 or 10 minutes at practice. I would suggest splitting the post and guards for drills 1, 2, and 3. Once you complete that period you should bring them together to work on this drill.
I usually have the players work on passing into the post and relocating. You will need two lines of guards and 2 lines of post players.
The guards will v-cut to get open against a defender and the post players will get position on the block. The guards have to ball fake (you should teach this in practice) and get the ball into the post player. Guards then relocate (see below) into an open area looking for a kick out and a shot.
**Players should always relocate when the ball is passed into the post. This means they should slide toward the baseline or up to the top of the key. If there man helps down against the post, then they will be in a different spot when the defender turns back around. Now they have an open shot.
- Teach the guards to use ball fakes to pass the ball inside to the post players
- Good opportunity to work on v-cuts with the guards
- If you don't have true post players work with your low players to use the screen and shoot right away or square up the basket and beat the defender off the dribble. Hopefully, if the screen is good, then the post will be wide open.
- Teams may switch on the screens so teach your post players to adjust (see scenario 2 below)
- Teach guards to pass and cut to the basket for an easy layup
Running the motion offense
15 or 20 minutes at practice. You may not get to this drill on the first couple of days, which is fine.
You will need all 5 players for this drill and at some point will incorporate defenders to make it a shell drill. I say shell drill because I always keep a close eye on the defense too.
Run the offense through repeatedly with the passes and screens away. You can even have them pass into the post, relocate, and kick the ball back outside for an open shot.
Once the players get a feel for the movement as a unit you can bring in a defense. You may want to run it on air the first day.
- Try to watch the breakdown of each part of the offense. Make sure players are v-cutting to get open, screening away, using screens properly, etc....
- Be patient. Any offense you run will take time to perfect. Don't get bent out of shape if it isn't perfect the first week. It is going to take time, but once they learn the offense it will be fun to watch.
Like any good coach you should prepare your team to make adjustments during the game.
I would recommend learning the basic offense first and then teaching these adjustments as your team feels more comfortable with the basic principles. Players will not be able to understand the adjustments if they do not learn the basic principles of the offense. I would wait a couple of weeks and slowly teach them these adjustments. You can adjust the above drills to incorporate some of the changes I talk about below.
Before we talk about each adjustment I will give you an example of what a defense can do to slow down this offense.
What defenses do to slow down this offense?
Teams that are well coached with good defenses will always try to do something to make you adjust your offense. Sometimes they will even try to completely frustrate your offense. Since I have coached against this offense I can give you a few ways that defenses will try to stop it. No worries, I'll give you an idea to counter the defense. The rest is up to you.
*Again, I would wait to put these adjustments in until your players have a basic understanding of how to run this motion offense.*
Defenses switch on all of your guard screens. I did this to another high school team a few years back and it really frustrated this offense. Frustrated it to the point that they decided to scrap it soon after. Basically when your player screens away for the wing player the two defenders just switch. Now you are just running right into another man and the screen was ineffective.
How will you know they are switching? Well, that is up to you coach. You should be able to see the two defenders communicating and switching on the screen. My best advice is to watch to see if the defensive players end up on different people. If they do, then that means they switched on the screen.
The top player can take two steps to go screen away and then flash back to the ball for an open shot or wide open drive to the basket. If the defense is switching on the screen automatically, then the top player will have the switching defender on his back.
I'd have a play call off of "motion" to tell the point guard to take those two steps and flash back to the ball. You can call it rewind or just have a hand signal like thumbs up for it.
You can also have the point guard take two steps to the screen away, then have the weakside post come up and set a back screen. The point guard can cut right through the middle of the key, catch the pass, and get an open layup.
Defenses switch on all of your post screens. We also switched on all of the screens down low against the high school team we played. It gave them a lot of problems. Switching can create mismatches if you have a really tall post player. If not, then it may cause some problems for this offense.
After your post screens away have them flash back up to the ball side elbow looking for an open shot. This sounds like a small tweak, and it is, but it makes it more difficult for teams to switch with the extra movement.
After the post pops back up to the elbow (may not be open) have the post player on the block back screen (actually called UCLA screen) for the post and they can cut to the basket looking for a shot. Again, a small adjustment, but I know you will get an open shot. It will prevent them from switching next time or may cause some confusion since you are being unpredictable.
When the ball is on the right wing, you can have the point guard screen down for the low post on the left wing, instead of screening away for the other guard. A minor tweak, but I bet your post will get an open free throw line jumper the first time you run it.
Your guards are having a difficult time getting open on the wing.
Find new guards. Just kidding. This is a simple fix. Have your post players start high and screen down for your guards to get open. If they still can't get open, then you can have them cross the court to start the offense.
If they are being overplayed have them cut back door or have the post back screen for them to go back door. That will definitely loosen up the defense a bit and make them a lot less aggressive.
I would recommend teaching the basic and breaking everything down into small drills. The drills I suggested above are just a few ideas to get you started. I am sure once you start using this offense you will come up with many relevant drills for your team.
I know this was a long post, but I thought it was really important to break down the offense into small components. At the very least, you should understand the importance of teaching every detail of an offense. I hope you enjoyed the read. Feel free to comment below.
As always, hard work beats talent, if talent fails to work hard!