Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills


Fast breaks
Zone offence
Zone set plays
Other offences
Quick hitters
Press breaks
Skills & Drills
Free throws
Post play
Fast break
Press break
1 on 1

Youth Basketball


"Team offence" concepts often start with 3-on-3 at the U8 and U10 levels, then progress to 5-on-5. 5-out "open post" offence is common at the youth level, with 4-out 1-in as an alternative, and dribble-drive options can be added. Key team offensive concepts include

  • spacing
  • ball reversal
  • pass-cut-fill
  • getting open
  • backcut
  • dribble penetration
  • dribble-at
  • screens

5-out offence is positionless, 4-out 1-in is not. 5-out spacing is better for cuts to the rim, not as good for dribble penetration or getting open for passes.

Open-post progressions

Open-post motion usually starts with pass-cut-fill, but should add creating, maintaining and using gaps for dribble penetration, and using backcuts against pressure defence. See

U8 concepts

  • 3-out offence
  • spacing
  • floor balance
  • ball reversal
  • see the ball and teammates
  • cut to the ball (ball cut) if a pass is too long
  • on a catch,
    • shoot if open, in range, and on balance
    • drive for a shot or pass
    • pass if a teammate is open, then cut or move
  • pass, cut, players without the ball find new spots
  • drive the paint, pass, players without the ball find new spots
  • if a teammate dribbles at you, cut or get out of the way
  • pick up the dribble only when ready to pass or shoot
  • if a teammate picks up the dribble early, be ready to cut for a pass or a hand-off
  • offensive rebounding
  • get back on defence when the other team gets the ball
  • see Resources (offensive concepts)

U10 concepts

  • 3-out motion
  • pass and cut from the top, replace
  • read the defender, face cut or cut behind
  • give and go return pass
  • pass and cut from the top or exchange weakside
  • fill through a read spot, or cut backdoor
  • delayed fill cut to maintain a gap
  • blast cut or v-cut to get open on the wing
  • backcut on a dribble-at
  • does a teammate with the ball need space or help?
  • see Tactics - 3-spot pass-cut-fill

U12 concepts

  • 5-out motion
  • fast break
  • backcut if overplayed, to create space, or on a pass fake
  • add corner pass and basket cut
  • dribble-at backcut or hand-off
  • react to dribble penetration, e.g., on a backcut from the wing, exit cut opposite a drive from out top
  • see Tactics - 3-spot pass-cut-fill (5 on 0)

U14 concepts

  • 5-out youth motion
    • pass and ballscreen
    • pass and screen away
    • pass and follow for a handback
    • post up on a basket cut or backcutup

4-out 1-in motion

For simple 4-out 1-in motion, see

  • Tactics - Teaching basic 4-out motion
    • floor spots, basket cuts, blast cuts, backdoor cuts, drive and kick, dribble-ats
    • adaptable to 5-outup

Dribble-drive motion

Dribble-drive motion can be used in youth basketball, added to the pass-cut-fill passing game (or in the reverse order), e.g.,

  • rotate behind a middle drive (Euro cut) for a pitch (kickback)
  • 5 sets up weakside, stays opposite the ball on dribble penetration, ballside 2 or 3 can backcut
  • 2 and 3 set up in the corners, can blast cut for motion passes, or lift for kickups.

To simplify the offence at the youth level, at least to start,

  • use dribble hand-offs (DHOs) with the corner players, instead of kickups (with a backcut option)
  • optionally use DHOs instead of pitches
  • basket cut on a guard-to-guard swing pass (looking for a give and go), then exit opposite dribble penetration, or clear weakside on a pass to the wing (or make a late ballside corner cut).

See Blog post - Dribble-Drive Motion, Dribble-Drive Hacks, Offence - Dribble-drive outline.

Dribble-drive concepts can be used in a 5-out offence (see below), with 5-out dribble-drive motion as a progression.

See Offence - 5-out dribble-drive motion, Blog post - 5-Out Dribble Penetration. up

5-out continuity dribble attack

5-out youth motion relies on passing and cutting. "Euro" continuity dribble hand-offs are a simple, positionless counter (continuous backcuts, DHOs) that could be used by teams as young as U10.

Dribble-drive kickbacks and kickups can be used as a progression, for a 5-out dribble-drive motion.

See Blog post - 5-Out Dribble-Attack Continuity, Offence - 5-out dribble-attack continuity (with Progressions).up


2007-23 Eric Johannsen