Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Zone offence

Coach K

1. Use the dribble properly
- gap penetration, get 2 defenders to play 1
- angle penetration (shallow cut), create movement, set up ball reversal
- freeze a defender for a 2 on 1 (go right at him)
2. Ball reversal
3. Flash into the middle
- by a weakside wing or post
- it doesn't have to be for a shot, a pass inside moves the defence and creates openings
4. Keep the bigs behind the zone
- for rebounding position, to flash, and post the zone
- on a pass to the wing, the ballside big posts the middle defender if the bottom defender goes out
5. Screen the zone
- on a shallow cut, 2 can screen the top of the zone for the point guard (shown)
- or 5 can screen the bottom defender, 2 goes to the corner, then 5 posts the middle.

Also - use pass fakes, and misdirection (reverse) dribbles.

Against a 2-1-2 zone

Use a 3-out, 2-in set. As a pass to the wing is in the air, the weakside big looks to seal a weakside low defender, or flash to an open area looking for a pass then go back. Demand the ball, meet the pass, catch and face. The ballside big looks to seal a middle defender or step to the short corner. The ballhandler needs to look inside (north-south), not just east-west around the perimeter (a scrimmage option is no shot unless a post touches the ball).

Perimeter players need to be ready to shoot off an inside-out pass, getting behind the arc for a 1-2 step-in shot.

The opposite wing should rebound a shot, giving three guys on the boards (including a weakside big). A shot against a zone is like a pass inside.

On dribble penetration, jump stop to pass, then get out to create spacing.

Bill Self - the weakside big looks to seal then make a delayed flash (also see zone motion)
Mike MacKay - if covered, 5 can pop to the short corner dragging the defender, creating a seam or gap for another player.

If 4 is a perimeter player, he can just flash to open areas, or he can run the baseline to the ballside corner, creating an overload if he is on the same side as the post.

4 does not have to run to the other corner on ball reversal, but actively running the baseline helps confuse and open up the zone. If the defence doesn't know where he is, they will want to know where he is. Bottom defenders will go out as the baseline runner goes to a corner, pass fake and pass inside for a two on one. On a pass to the corner, look to drive it.

- 5 stays on one side
- on a pass to the corner, the passer cuts through, other players fill.

See Greece 2006 - 4-out 1-in simple play (4 stays in the corner), after a few passes and penetrations finish with a 3-point shot or a pass to the low post, also use pick and roll with 5.

(Option - if weakside, 5 looks to screen then seal on reversal)

Or 4 can start at the foul line, then pop out above the arc when 1 uses angle penetration to push a wing into a corner. 2 will run the baseline.


- 1 passes to 3 or 2 then clears opposite to push the other wing into a corner (take the ball away from a shooter, bring it back)
- 1 passes to 3 or 2 then cuts to the ballside or weakside corner to become the baseline runner
- for a continuous overload, 5 moves ballside on reversal
- 4 ballscreens to help reverse the ball (see Florida ballscreen 3s, Kermit Davis four high, Geno Auriemma, Atkins high)
- use against an odd-front zone (see Atkins Iowa, 5star Iowa, Maryland Women)
- 4 and 5 exchange on ball reversal (Wisconsin, China).

Against a 1-2-2

Use a two-man-front attack against a one-man-front zone to get into the gaps, and use the same principles - look for a flash, stay behind the zone, shallow cut, reverse the ball.

Use a 2-3 set ("three deep"), 3 runs the baseline. 1 and 2 must be in the game.
(Option - the weakside post flashes high on a corner touch, see Atkins baseline, Syracuse vs 1-3-1, Pitt vs 1-3-1)
See Zone offence - Runner (and Reverse)
- reverse-action entry
- 4 and 5 screen for the baseline runner, who can cut up the middle of the lane (also see Dave Odom rover)
- inside (post) rotation on a pass out of the corner.

Or move 4 out to the corner if he is a perimeter player, 5 has the inside.

1 and 2 should maintain their spacing, e.g., if the ball is dribbled across the top.

Look to drive middle from the corner and pass opposite, because the defence is spread out.

USA zone offence - 1-2-3-4 stay outside and use quick passes and penetration, 5 sets ballscreens.

(Variation - put 5 at the high post, especially against a 1-3-1)
Don Kelbick - against a zone, players shoot from behind screens instead of coming off them; if you do have players come off screens, look for the screener to be open.up

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-20 Eric Johannsen coacheric53@gmail.com