Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Zone offence

Kirby Schepp
Basketball Manitoba

See YouTube video - Attacking zone, also Zone offence - Schepp vs 1-3-1, Zone set play - Schepp double-stack.

Against zone defence, go where they're not. Make two zone defenders play you, draw a triangle where you are a point between two defenders.

4 can be in the middle (high post) and draw lots of triangles, or go real low and draw a triangle like 5 (shown).

Try to distort the zone, get them to go in places where they are not supposed to go.

You want the ball to change sides, to get paint touches, and to attack with the dribble then pass-pass. One of the hardest things to teach is what is a good shot.

See Scrimmage - Nash zone gap.

Bring the ball up the middle against a 2-3 zone.

If X1 guards 1, pass to the weaker side of the zone (fewest defenders) for a 2-on-1.

5 is the Gretzky, with his butt to the baseline so he can see the court, he goes side to side.

4 looks for the ball, or steps in to the paint.

Put your best player in the high post or the short corner, and make that your focal point.

Move the ball against zone.

In 5 on 5, start by having attackers pass the ball around, they can't move except 5 who can go side to side. Then allow movement and shooting, but 4 or 5 has to touch the ball before a shot.

4 and 5 are partners, and your partner is always your first look then opposite where you got it from.

If 4 gets the ball, 5 cuts towards the charge circle. 4 reverse pivots, and chins the ball to protect it.
(Option) - 5 does not cut to the basket unless 4 faces up, use the high-post for ball reversal, e.g. 2-4-1-3 (Geno Auriemma) or 2-1-4-3 (Mads Olesen), see Geno Auriemma.

If 5 gets the ball, 4 goes to the charge circle, 5 looks for 4 then the weakside wing.

On a skip pass to 2 (or 1), 4 goes to the short corner, 5 becomes the high post.

On ball reversal, 4 and 5 keep their positions.

In order, perimeter guys move the ball, get a touch inside, attack with the dribble (then pass-pass).

To overload a zone (with 4 players on one side), instead of bringing players to the ball, overload one side then bring the ball to it, the defence doesn't have time to react.

Dave Odom - 5 does not stay behind defender X2, step clear up or down.

(5 can pin-screen X2 for reversal to 1, who drives)

When Schepp coached high school, his zone offence was to put best-shooter 3 and best-player 5 (even a guard) on the same side, and have 5 stay there (option - choose the side with the weakest defenders).

4 is a guy who can make a layup, preferably a bigger guy. but a guard can blow by a big defender.

1 passes to 2, who holds for a second, reverse the ball to shooter 3, if two defenders go out on him (because he played in the gap), he passes to 5, who looks for 4 then weakside-wing 2.


- high-post reversal, e.g. 2-4-1-3 or 2-1-4-3
- 1 shallow cuts 2 (and can turn the corner, or feed the post if 5 is ballside)
- freeze dribble at X2 (Olesen)
- 5 pin screens for 3, who slides down
- if X5 cheats out early on 5, 4 cuts to a gap in the middle for a pass from 3, who can pass fake to 5
- if only X2 goes out on 3, look for high-post 4
- if 4 is overplayed, he looks to pin-screen for 1 to drive on reversal.

See Zone offences - Geno Auriemma, 1-3-1 basics, Dave Odom 1-3-1.up

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-17 Eric Johannsen