Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

4 on 4 on 4

Three teams, team O attacks team X.

Option - 3 on 3 on 3, or 5 on 5 on 5 (to practice half-court offence and defence).

Variation - 4 on 3 (e.g. for younger players), see 4 on 3 zone.

George Karl

a) to teach their players how to play quick, they play a lot of 3-on-3-on-3 or 4-on-4-on-4 with a shot clock of 12 seconds or even 7 seconds, push it and play. In practice, players have to shoot, pass, or attack within 3 seconds of catching the ball (catch and go) or itís a turnover.
b) if you want to play fast, spacing is the first priority. If you want to run, you have to teach running, and you can't teach plays at the same time. The best way is to make the shot clock 16 seconds, then make it 13. Know what you are going to do before you catch it, go-catch, move toward the basket before you receive the ball, don't catch and then go. San Antonio has a one second rule - you can't have the ball for more than one second.


a) Regular

On a stop or score, defending team X attacks team 2.

When team 2 gets possession, team O defends the attack.


- no inbounds pass after a make,
- any ball out of bounds goes to the defence.

Ian MacKinnon - 5 on 5 on 5, no dribbling, the third team is out of bounds at halfcourt, comes in on a stop or score, and can pick up fullcourt.

b) Cut-throat (UNLV)

If attacking team O scores they attack team 2.

As in option (a), team X attacks team 2 if it stops team O.

c) Cut-throat with pressing

If defending team X gets the ball on a stop, team O can press in the halfcourt to win the ball back, then attack the other way against team 2.

If team O scores, it must inbounds the ball to attack team 2, and team X can press to get the ball and attack team 2.


- 2 on 2 or 3 on 3, and team 2 is on the floor at halfcourt ready to defend once the ball crosses centre (simulates full-court pressure)
- one or two delay defenders for the team waiting to defend
- one shot, on a miss (or on a make or miss) the team that gets the ball goes the other way
- if a team wins the ball on the press, it attacks the same basket, not the other way (more game-like).

Dave Arseneault - 5 on 5 on 5, make-it take-it with pressing, attackers have 10 seconds to shoot once the ball crosses halfcourt or place the ball on the floor and defend.

See Scrimmage - 4 teams, Hurley 4 on 4 on 4, Bauer 5 on 5 on 5, Transition - Florida 4-44.

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