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PostPosted: 01 Sep 2010, 15:50 

Posts: 2
I coach a 3rd grade boys team that has played together for 3 years. We utilize good sound defense and I have taught them many of the offensive fundamentals. We utilize only man to man defense and I have yet to teach them any structured offense. This season we move to 10 foot goals and I ‘d like to teach them a motion offense. But, UNFORTUANTLEY, 85% of the teams we play, play a zone defense against us. Can you guide me to some youth oriented offensive systems on your site that I can teach my boys to counter the hated zone. I have purchased from you guys in the past and would appreciate you directing we to the best areas of your site to combat a youth zone.

PostPosted: 01 Sep 2010, 16:06 
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Posts: 3139

God Bless you for teaching these kids the proper way to play the game. Zones should be outlawed at this age, they are NOT doing these kids any favors.

I heard a college coach talk about attacking zones... he had a very simple approach..... "put em where they aint!" Put your kids in the gaps/seams and attack from there.... ball movement, dribble and kick, screen etc. You can run your motion vs this without screening. KISS method at this age.

PostPosted: 01 Sep 2010, 16:08 
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Here is something I found - take a look, use what fits your personnel.

These are some zone attack principles from former Auburn Coach Sonny Smith.

You can attack a zone by moving the ball or moving people. We use a combination of ball movement and people movement.

1. Have a Gap Rule. That means getting between a baseline and wing defender. We use a saddle dribble to gap so that we are only facing one defender and not two when dribbling between them. We don’t dribble straight into the gap, we dribble at one of the defender’s shoulders.

2. Have a Screening Rule. Do you screen people? Do you screen the interior or the perimeter of the zone? We screen the interior of the zone more than we screen the perimeter.

3. Have a Dribble Rule. Our dribble rule is that if I dribble toward you, you run away from me. If I am behind the dribbler, I follow the ball. This rule helps maintain our spacing and helps us get shot by throwing back to the trailer when the zone shifts.

4. Have a Flash or Duck In rule. We flash from the front of the zone, the interior of the zone, or from behind the zone. We like to get behind the zone so that the defense cannot see us. We define a flash to be a short burst or a quick cut.

5. Have a Cutter Rule. Do you want to cut from the strongside to the weakside or from the weakside to the strongside? We feel that cutters from strong to weak are better than from weak to strong. That way we are not running players into the heart of the defense and it sets us up with good ball reversal and skip pass possibilities.

6. Have a Step Out Rule. You have to reverse the ball to beat the zone, so step your post players out to the high post to assist in ball reversal.

7. Have a Post Cross Rule. We X our posts when the basketball is on the wing. We run the second cutter right off the hip of the first cutter. Make sure you know whether your players shoot better off the move or stationary. That applies to both your interior and perimeter players.

8. Have a Man Behind the Zone Rule. Do you stand him or cut him? When we cut him, he goes from side to side and then into the heart of the defense. We like to stand a man in the short corner.

9. Fake a Pass to Make a Pass Rule.

10. Diagonal Rule. Do you make diagonal cuts and diagonal passes? We feel that is very important.

PostPosted: 02 Sep 2010, 06:45 
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I also applaud you for teaching fundamentals and sticking to M2M defense. Let me give you a couple thoughts regarding your situation....

- There might not be anything you can do about it, but 3rd graders shooting at a 10 ft rim is a little early. I work with 11 and 12 year olds, and even they struggle a bit. In practice I try to keep them from shooting more than 10 ft from the basket because the shooting form goes to crap when they move away from the basket. If they do go out that far, I require them to use LEGS for upforce (not their arms). Here's a thread that discusses the subject:

- Youth zone offense. I hate to say this but there is not one good solution I can point you to. I have personally watched at least 20 zone offense dvds and I have searched for one good resource. I haven't found it yet. But I did come to some conclusions...

The bottom line is that any zone offense can be effective. The key is for YOU to understand the zone defense slides, how a zone defense works, and fundamental concepts that work against a zone.


If you study game tape, know your players, study zones, study things that work, and learn zone offense fundamentals, then you will succeed.

I know that's not the answer you are looking for. I wish I could keep it super simple and just tell you what to do, but without seeing your team I just can't. There are probably 30 different fundamental zone offense concepts (reversing the ball, find gaps, etc). Coach Sar gave you 10 good ones above. You need to pick a few concepts that would work with your team.

I personally like to teach player to block out and always be physical so they exploit seams in the defense and take advantage of the weakness of a zone. I also like using the short corner and playing the inside out game and banana cuts. But that's just me and it depends on personnel.

So with a youth team I would keep using motion offense and incorporate a couple really simple concepts to exploit the zone. If you have any questions or need more direction, let us know. You can post on the forum or send us emails.

Jeff Haefner

PostPosted: 02 Sep 2010, 13:08 

Posts: 2
Wow, Coach Sar. You nailed it with the 10 points. The concept of rules is perfect for my boys. I can implement them over time.

This has been so helpful!

John Bernard

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