Motion Offense Drill & Brad Stevens' Secret To Better Offense

Home > Coaching > Drills > Team Offense > Motion Offense Drill & Brad Stevens' Secret To Better Offense

In the video clip below from Don Kelbick's Motion Offense, this drill improves passing and increases ball reversals.

And ball reversals are one of the most important ingredients of a great offense.

"There is a direct correlation between the number of ball reversals and defensive breakdowns."
     - Kevin Eastman, assistant coach for the 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics

According to Brad Stevens (current Boston Celtics head coach), he recorded these stats on ball reversals while at Butler.
     - Zero reversals = .63 ppp
     - One reversal = .83 ppp
     - Two reversals = 1.1 ppp

Think about that for a second... if you have a 60 possession game. This is the difference between scoring 38 points with zero ball reversals and 66 points with two ball reversals.

Of course, this is an extreme, but think what 5 or 10 points per game could do for your season.

Additionally, your defense gets better. More made shots means fewer fast breaks. And more possessions where your defense gets more time to get set.

Here is how the drill works:

You play 4v4.

However, you can only shoot a jump shot after 3 ball reversals.

You still allow lay ups. This encourages the offense to still be aggressive and look for easy baskets.

This might be the most impressive thing about the drill...

I'm sure you'd agree that the ball movement was good in the drill above.

Well, this is the first time Don has worked with these players. And all of the players are from different schools and haven't played together.

So Don made this progress in one weekend with a bunch of players unfamiliar with each other. And they're tired from being in a video shoot for 8 hours a day.

Now what do you think you could do employing Don Kelbick's Motion Offense strategies and drills over an entire season or over a few years?

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

wayne nicholls says:
11/22/2017 at 8:58:44 PM

I agree that by shifting the defense and causing more closeouts your opportunities improve.

This opens up both perimeter shots and driving lanes. Passing drills as seen in the video help players also become right and left sided. Too often everything is happening on the right, making younger teams very easy to defend.

Often younger teams offer more open perimeter shots while clogging the key. If the open shot is regularly available I can see purpose in exploring first. If your players cannot move the ball from side to side without turnovers maybe there are certain skill gaps that need to be addressed.


midd44 says:
6/11/2017 at 3:15:11 PM

just throwing this out there: for NBA & D1 teams three ball reversals work. for the rest of us high school coaches three ball reversals usually results in a turnover. i have no stats to back this up, but passing is probably the least worked on skill by younger players. i would like to see some stats on how many turnovers come from "trying" to reverse the ball 3x.

just watching teams like Golden State & Grinnell College i see basketball trending towards just putting up the 1st "good" shot. my old coach was a firm believer that the team that took the most shots won, that for the most part teams shoot the same percentage.

  2 replies  

Joe Haefner says:
6/13/2017 at 5:54:57 PM

Yeah. I'm not sure. I've never seen any stats on that.

When it comes to playing the game, I think we're relatively on the same page. I believe you should take high percentage shots. I don't care if it's zero passes or twenty passes.

However, I've used similar passing strategies in practice and in games. I believe to our team's benefit.

In practice, I think 3 ball reversals before a jump shot is a great way to practice passing, patience, and shifting the defense. And yes. You may get more turnovers in practice, especially at first.

I've had teams that became much better passing teams because of drills and games similar to this... even at the youth level.

During games, there has been times where I've said "10 passes before a jump shot." I've done it to force my team to be aggressive attacking the basket. I've also used it to chew time off the clock or take a high percentage shot. I've also used it to get a good possession and a good shot. At the youth level, I've used it with the intent to teach. At the high school level, I've used it more for strategy.

Depending on your personnel & beliefs, at the high school varsity and college level, you may use different philosophies to win.

I've also been around programs that emphasized passing and still had very few turnovers per game. The skill of passing was taught in the program. So I tend to be biased and believe you can teach it.


Scott C. says:
12/18/2018 at 7:20:56 PM

I understand the worry about turnovers at that level, but you're mistaken about the trends. Golden State is the best ball movement team in the league and ends up with a lot of catch and shoot opportunities because of it.

The trend in offense at the moment is towards points per possession. That's why high percentage is #1 followed by high value. Thus the focus on either a layup or an open three, and the huge avoidance of mid - and long-range jumpers.


Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
Nineteen minus five is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank
    Check this box to receive an email notification when someone else comments on this page.