Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Zone offence
Bill Self basic and motion

Bill Self

The best zone offence is good shooters. Play zone defence and run motion to practice against them. Principles of beating a zone are:
- quick ball reversal
- inside-out
- screen the zone
- penetrate the zone
- skip pass
- 2 on 1 weakside rebounding
- overload the zone.

a) Basic zone attack

Perimeter play

Hot potato. The wings play in indecisive areas between defenders. Don't bounce it except to get a piece of the paint, the ball moves the zone, make the zone chase it. Don't look to attack on the first side, so 3 squares and gives it right back (or skips it). 1 passes to 2, don't throw back where it came from. Fake a pass to make a pass. If X3 comes out to guard 2, it opens up the short corner. You have to make four defenders guard three attackers, not two guard three.

Post play

Good post players score before they catch the ball. Get an angle, get a body on a defender all the time, get to the foul line. 4 is sealing X2 at the high post.

The bigs X when the ball moves around the perimeter. On the pass to 3, 4 goes down trying to post between the ball and the basket, 5 tries to seal a defender outside for a lob pass, then makes a delayed flash to the ball.
basketballcoachingnotes.blogspot.com - to get four defenders covering three attackers, Self brings the wings lower, so the bottom defenders feel like they need to come up. Start with hot potato just to get the defence chasing, stay stationary and swing the ball around, once a bottom defender comes up, the ballside low post reads and hits the short corner, on a catch the other post rolls down the lane.

However, the bigs don't X on a skip pass (not enough time), they bleed (come across). 5 seals then bleeds.

Also bleed on ball reversal through the high post.

On a pass inside to 5, 4 dives weakside (for rebounding), 5 looks in order are score, his buddy 4, fan the ball to 3 or 1, or back where it came from.

If the ball goes to the high post, he looks to score then for his buddy.


If the ball is fanned, 4 screens for 5 then changes places. Often 5 is a decoy, look for a lob pass to screener 4 sealing a defender outside. 3 relocates baseline because the bottom defender has to guard the crackdown.

If a bottom defender guards a wing with the ball, drag the zone if the low post isn't open. Here 2 was able to relocate lower when the ball was on the other side, as soon as he bounces it up the floor, 5 goes short corner, 4 drops to post, 2 looks for a left-hand behind-the-back bounce pass to 5.

X5 can't guard 5 and 4. If X1 takes 4, 1 is wide open.

4 dives on a pass to the short corner, 5 wants to throw it to 4 or 3.

4 cracks down on a fan pass out, 5 comes over the top.

On ball reversal, a big can seal and flash if the defender is outside, or screen the weakside if the defender is inside (e.g., 5 was in the short corner but didn't get a pass). The wing slides down, look for a skip pass.

b) Zone motion

Post play is the same, but the perimeter player at the top must cut after passing, the point guard is interchangeable. The bigs look to screen weakside for cutters then post. Here 2 fills when the point guard passes and cuts ballside.

You have to cut baseline any time you pass above you.

See Zone offence - Pitt 3-out 2-in.

If the point guard is the best post feeder, have him pass and cut, the high post steps out to reverse the ball then get it back to the point guard in the corner. Use this to initiate zone motion.

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-14 Eric Johannsen