Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Youth motion

Below are a few youth-oriented motion offences:

1) Steve Nash MVP 1-2-2
2) Michigan
3) Frankston Blues
4) Cutters 5-out motion
5) David Faucher
6) Kraus, Meyer and Meyer

Motion offence is commonly taught to young players because it teaches good basketball skills and principles. A problem is that many players don't yet have the skill set to effectively executive an attack based on passing and cutting, especially against defenders that get in the passing lanes to deny direct passes. Since the idea is to attack the basket, and the easiest way for younger players is by dribbling, they should work on dribble penetration attack and principles. Space the floor so the ball handler always has an open lane to the basket, then move on penetration to create passing angles and make it hard for off-ball defenders to help and recover. If a driver gets stopped, pass to a teammate then it's her turn. This is the basis of the "dribble-drive attack" developed by Vance Walberg and popularized by John Calipari, and movement off penetration is the first concept in Rick Torbett's "read and react" offence.

See Offences - Petitgoue open post, Huggins open post, Petitgoue dribble-drive, and 4-out 1-in motion.

1) Steve Nash MVP Basketball

A 1-2-2 offence for youth 8-10 years old. There is a point guard, two wings, and two forwards.

The wings v-cut to get open.


a) Pass and cut

1 passes to 2 (or 3), steps (fakes) away, and basket cuts. 3 and 4 rotate to fill empty spots.

Repeat this action on any pass from the point to a wing.

b) Pass and screen away

1 passes to 2, isn't open (the defender is in his face), so he screens away for 3, who lets the screener get close, sets up his man by taking him down a few steps, then comes off the screen shoulder to shoulder.

The forwards step in towards the basket in case their defenders help on the screen.

c) Screen high and low

1 passes to 2 and screens away for 3, 5 cross-screens for 4 (screen away from the ball).

2) Michigan (breakthroughbasketball.com)

4 and 5 are the post players. All players will rotate to every spot.

As soon as 1 brings the ball upcourt, 4 and 5 downscreen for 2 and 3 then try to seal their defenders behind them and open to the ball.

(Entry variations)

- 2 and 3 cross under (optionally one screens for the other) and use the downscreen on the other side, see Offence - Seth Greenberg slice
- start in inverted stacks with 2 and 3 on the blocks, they use screens to pop out, see Offence - Bill Self high/low motion.

1 passes to 2 (or 3) and screens away for 3 (who comes to the top of the key), 5 cross-screens for 4.

Option - 5 can post for 1-2 seconds before screening for 4, 1 should wait until 5 turns to screen before screening for 3.

On a pass to 3 out top, 2 and 1 downscreen for 4 and 5. up

3) Frankston Blues

U12 Principles of play

Layer 1 - Balance, spacing and alignment. Fill the five perimeter spots, 12-15 feet apart, outside the 3-point line, helping to bring the defence away from the hoop so you can attack it, and giving players maximum opportunity for creating, recognizing and attacking space.

Chuck Daly - spacing is offence and offence is spacing.

Layer 2 - Pass, cut and replace. 1 dribbles off the splitline to shorten the pass to 2 then basket cuts, making a backcut if the defence jumps to the ball or a face cut if the defence doesn't jump to the ball. 1 then exit cuts away from the ball and 3 and 5 v-cut to replace the empty space (always fill open space above you).

2 passes to 4 and basket cuts, 4 should look to drive to the hoop as players are replacing the empty spots on the floor. If 4 has no opportunity to drive, reverse the ball to the other side of the floor through 3 and 5, then 2 or 1 looks to drive.

Player skills/tactics
- v-cut and get open into triple-threat stance
- dribble with both hands
- finish at the basket with normal and reverse layups from both sides
- chest pass, push pass with either hand
- jump stop, forward or reverse pivot on either foot, pass
- read the defence to face cut or backcut
- pass to the advantage of the receiver
- recognize open space.

U14 principles of motion
- 3-out or 4-out motion
- pass and screen away
- post play - backscreens, post blocking.

- 3-out or 4-out motion
- onball screens
- multiple screens.

Basketball NSW - a cut that is made toward the basket creates space behind for a second cutter, or for the ballhandler to "drive on the back of the cutter".

4) Cutters 5-out motion (breakthroughbasketball.com)


1. Pass, cut to the basket, then fill the open spot on the baseline.
- You can allow a good post player to cut and sit in the post for 2 seconds (shown).
2. Cut only when you pass the ball or when the ballhandler is looking at you.
- Backcut when your defender is near the 3-point line.
3. If the player in front of you cuts, replace him.
- Wait until the ballhandler is almost done looking at the cutter, this will help with timing and setting up your defender for a backcut or straight cut.

(Note that all passers basket cut, not just on point-to-wing and wing-to-corner passes, although this can be a useful teaching progression)

4. The ball should be dribbled only to improve floor balance or beat a defender.
5. Avoid passing to the corner and keep the ball above the foul-line extended.
- If the player in the corner is a slasher or scorer, you can pass to him to shoot or attack.
- Pass to the corner to avoid a 5-second call, then basket cut, the corner player can immediately dribble out to the wing and be replaced by the cutter (shown).

5) David Faucher

The best way to teach the game at a young level is from a 3-2 formation with a point, two wings, and two corners. This keeps the basket open to score by driving, give and go, passing and cutting, and two-man action. You can change positions to give everyone a chance to handle the ball. From this formation you can

- give and go from point to wing or wing to corner (shown)
- pass and screen away
- pass and ballscreen from point to wing or wing to corner
- dribble handoff from point to wing or wing to corner.


a) If the other team is denying or intercepting passes, encourage ballhandlers to drive to the basket. If your players aren't skilled enough to beat their defenders, have one of the wings ballscreen as the ball crosses halfcourt. Also have players cut to the basket (backcut) if they know their defender will try to steal the ball. Other solutions are to have the wings exchange (switch sides) as the ball is dribbled towards halfcourt, or v-cut (step into their defender, back him up, then cut away).

b) If the defence is stealing the ball off the dribble, your players should try to pass early then ballscreen to take pressure off. If your point guard is having trouble against a good defender, have someone else bring the ball upcourt, e.g., with a bigger, slower defender.

c) If your team isn't scoring enough points, improve your fast-break skills, it's the easiest way to score at the youth level. If everyone can handle the ball reasonably well, whoever rebounds the ball is the point guard, the other players should run wide upcourt. If your team is not fast enough for a fast break, run a simple give and go, at least kids will be moving.

d) When your team is floundering and needs a basket to get revved up, have an offensive play like a pick and roll with your two best players that you have worked on extensively in practice (shown).

6) Kraus, Meyer and Meyer

One offence for beginning players is the 1-2-2 give-and-go offence with open post (or double low post). The rules are

- give and go on a point-to-wing pass or wing-to-corner pass
- a wing player who is denied with the ball at the point should backcut to the basket and replace on the same side (shown)
- a corner player who is overplayed with the ball at the wing should make a backdoor cut and come back to the same side (the corner)
- a (weakside) wing or forward can ball cut into the post area (high or low), then return where they started after two seconds.

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-24 Eric Johannsen