Breakthrough Basketball Newsletter:
3 Best Screens to Exploit a Switching Defense

December 7th, 2021

Here you can find some helpful coaching tips for offensive strategy and player development...

  • 3 Best Screen Actions Against Switching Defenses (NEW YouTube video) - You'll see 3 screens that are effective against a switching defense...and a little bit of the history behind the screens

  • Do Your Players Look Lost On the Court? How to Develop Bball IQ (article) - If your players ever look lost on the court or just make poor decisions, this teaches you how to develop high IQ players that can adapt to any situation... and the important mental approach the best coaches take in regards to this

We hope these help and let us know what you think!

3 Basketball Screen Actions to Beat a Switching Defense

In this video National Championship Basketball Coach Tom Billeter is going to take you through 3 Must Have Ball Screens to exploit switching defenses.

In case you're wondering, here's a little background on how Coach Billeter developed these rather simple but highly effective screens...

Billeter coached under the legendary Lute Olson (Arizona) and Fran Fraschilla (St. John's), and as part of that, he got to recruit overseas in Europe.

While in Europe, he started noticing new aspects of spacing and ball screens that we never see in the States, so he morphed them into his own offense to give his team an incredible advantage.

Every screen you see in this video takes advantage of what the defense is doing...just implement Billeter's screens and drills and your players will get downhill and score!

3 Best Basketball Screen Actions to Beat a Switching Defense

Do Your Players Look Lost on the Court? How to Develop Bball IQ

Does it ever feel like you're doing all the drills and putting in plays, yet players aren't transferring that "basketball IQ" to the game-like situations in controlled scrimmages?

Players are going to forget what they were taught and look lost on the court.

This is especially true at the beginning of the season. On top of that, it's more prevalent with players at the youth and middle school levels who have little experience.

This is very common - don't feel like it's only happening to you. So how do you get your players to apply what they're learning to scrimmages and games?

The advice below comes from Coach Don Kelbick in the article How to Teach Guards to "See the Floor" - With 9 Practice Drills:

As a coach or observer, you see the game the way you do for 3 reasons...

1. You have learned the game over time.

2. Experience, this has taught you what to do with the knowledge you have gained.

3. You (the coach or parent) are on the outside of the play so you do not have to deal with the stress of having people running around and putting pressure on you.

Inside of those 3 concepts lie your answer.

First, you must understand that there is no substitute for experience and that takes time.

Be patient and take your kids through as many situations as possible, as often as possible.

Second, teach. Teach the game, not just plays or skills. Teach them concepts such as spacing and situations.

Ask them to study their teammate's abilities and tendencies.

They should know that if Billy is a great shooter and he is coming off a screen, they should look to him first, Joey can't catch in a crowd so don't throw him the ball in the lane, but Sam has great hands if you throw it to him high.

Teach them that on ball reversal, the best scoring opportunities come away from the pass.

For example, a pass from the right wing to the top, your best scoring opportunity will come to the left. This way, not only do they beat the defense but they get to scan the entire floor.

Teach them that they see the entire floor by looking at the rim. There are so many other things that can't be covered here but they are simple and become instinctual in a very short period of time.

I think the third aspect is the most important of all. If you have done any study in the psychology of learning, you will learn "stress narrows the perceptual field."

The more stress the player is under, the narrower his field of vision becomes. You must remove the stress from the learning process.

Instead of pointing out the error, give better alternatives. Include them in the process, "What would have been a better pass and why?" Let them correct their own mistakes, give them a few tries before you jump in. Interrupt them on the positive plays and point it out to everyone instead of stopping them on an error and jumping them.

More functionally, be sure that when you teach one player, teach them all. If you are teaching your point guard, your posts should be learning as well. They do play together.

Also, work on skills. A player does a better job of seeing the floor when he is not worried about his dribble. He is a better passer if he is not worried about catching.

These are only a few simple things that you might want to consider. Just remember that it will take time. Players are constantly changing and the game is a fluid entity. Give your players the tools to adapt and they will surprise you.

Related Resources:

Simplified Motion Offense with Don Kelbick

Attack & Counter Skill Development System with Don Kelbick

Game-Based Training System (50 Drills) with Nate Sanderson

All the Best,

- Joe Haefner
Breakthrough Basketball