7 Offense Selection Tips

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The first thing we wanted to do is give you some helpful tips regarding offense. Because the structuring and the selection of your offense is so important, we have given you 7 tips to consider.

Here they are:

  1. The Big 3 We're not referring to Boston or Miami. We're referring to the three critical components of any offense.

    When designing or choosing an offense, it's crucial that your offense has spacing, ball movement, and player movement. With any successful offense, you will definitely see these three components executed.

    You should ask yourself these questions:

    Is there proper spacing between your players? Are your players spread across the floor? This is vital to create gaps in the defense and also make the defense work harder to defend more area.

    Is there ball movement? Do your players move the ball from side to side on the floor? Do your players create penetration via the dribble or the pass? When you get your players to move the ball side to side and penetrate the defense, this is typically when defenses break down and your high-percentage scoring opportunities occur.

    Is there player movement? Does your offense have your players cutting and screening over a large area or do they stay in a relatively small area?

    You should ask yourself these questions after EVERY practice and game you play!

  2. Defensive Transition - When picking your offense, do you choose a formation that allows you to get back on defense? An offense such as the 1-4 low can be subject to fastbreak opportunities, where an offense with a 2 guard front might be less susceptible to easy transition baskets.

    Or does defense transition even matter to you? Do you take the Tom Izzo approach and put so much pressure on the offensive boards that you will deal with a few breakaway lay ups because you feel your aggressiveness will benefit you more on the scoreboard? This leads into our next topic.

  3. Rebounding - Does your offense complement your team's rebounding strengths? If you have a good offensive rebounding team, your formation may vary compared to a team that is not a good offensive rebounding team. For example, you may incorporate a 2out, 3in offense if you have a bunch of big bruisers who like to bang and crash the boards. You might use a 4out, 1in offense if you have a bunch of athletes who utilize their quickness and speed to maneuver around the defense to get rebounds.

  4. Easy To Teach - Unless you have unlimited practice time, you typically want an offense that is relatively easy to teach. The easier it is for your players to comprehend, the easier it will be for them to execute it. Some offenses look great on paper, but are terrible for application.

  5. Player Development - If you're a coach at any level, player development is going to be vital to your success. Better players = better teams. If your offense gets in the way of your player development, you may want to reconsider. Even better, your offense should promote player development and your offensive drills should not only improve your offense, but they should improve the skill level of your players as well.

    Some coaches also love set plays and they can certainly help you get easy buckets, but you should not sacrifice your player development time. It may help you get a few easy buckets in the short-term, but will hurt you in the long-run if you sacrifice player development.

    As the legendary Don Meyer said, "When it comes time for the playoffs, which would you rather have, two better players, or two new plays? I would rather have two better players."

  6. Highly Interchangeable - When you are picking an offense, you want to choose an offense that is highly interchangeable. This means that your players will play all positions on the floor from the post positions to the guard and wing positions. This is especially important at the youth and high school level, because this allows you to develop great well-rounded players.

    Also, I can't count the number of times that we get an easy basket from a guard post up or a post player driving the lane. Opposing guards are not used to guarding in the post and opposing posts are not used to guarding players on the perimeter so this exposes their defensive weaknesses.

  7. Highly Adaptive - Is the offense highly adaptable? Does it allow you to counter what the defense does or does it depend on the pattern?

    If your offense depends on a strict pattern, you will run into an array of problems when the defense takes away the pattern. When this happens, your offense looks bad, your team looks bad, you look bad. That's why it's important to teach the kids how to play basketball within your.

    You will see that the most successful offenses are not strict and rigid, but highly adaptive and free flowing. They are offenses with motion principles. For example, if you are overplayed, you go backdoor or set a screen for somebody. If you teach counters to the ways that the defense will play, it makes you nearly impossible to guard.

We hope that these tips help you choose and structure the right offense and help improve your offensive efficiency.

If you like the motion offense (recommended for youth), you can take a look at the
How to Develop a High Scoring Motion Offense

If you need a little more structure, we really like the
The Hybrid Flex Offense with Don Kelbick.

If you don't like the flex or motion, we also have more continuity offenses like the open post, ball screen, hi-low, and more .

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


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Tony Patterson says:
1/24/2023 at 2:12:54 AM

I need help. I’m coaching varsity at a very small school. We have ten kids, but only a few basketball players. We have a lot of football or baseball players that “also” play basketball. Of then ten, I have a couple good spot up shooters but mostly, I have two very dominant players and a bunch of young guys and/or role players.

I am in the 5-out offense because it’s the easiest to learn but it’s not the right offense for my personal. What offense would you run if you had two very dominant players?



Gerald says:
2/10/2014 at 10:42:23 PM



dominick says:
2/8/2014 at 8:03:44 PM

thanks so much im getting better and better everday!!!


Ken Sartini says:
1/25/2014 at 10:16:40 AM

Ashley -

Remember to be a POSITIVE leader. The last thing you would want is for one of your teammates to read your post.

Its great that you are thinking enough about how to help you teammates to become better. Eveybody improves that way and so does their attitude.


Ashley says:
1/25/2014 at 10:04:38 AM

I play basketball and my other teammates are OK but some suck. I taught them this, it worked! Thx!


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