Video and Tips: How to Move without the Ball and Get Open Shots

To score more points, your goal is simple... You want to use a variety of movements to get enough space for a wide open uncontested shot.

To get open, you'll want to use a variety of cuts and screens. You can learn about the dozens of different screens and cuts, by reviewing these offensive diagrams.

Once you have a basic understanding of different cuts and screens, you should learn some basic guidelines and tips that apply to all screens and cuts.

Here are some universal tips to help you move without the ball and score more points:
  1. Set your man up before using the screen. In other words, before rubbing off a screen, take a step away from the screen and fake like you're going the other direction. Then you can rub off the screen. This will get your defender off balance and give you more space.

  2. Run off screens shoulder to shoulder. There should be no space between you and the person setting the screen. This makes it difficult for the defense to "slip" through and take away your shot.

  3. Read the defense! One of the best skills you can learn as a player is how to read the defense. If your defender cheats over the screen, then you can flare the other direction so the defender gets stuck behind the screen. If the defender denies you the ball and overplays the passing lane, then back door them cutting hard to the basket. These are just a few examples. Learn the different ways you can read the defense. This will make you a better player!

  4. When cutting, vary your speed. In other words, you might want to take a few steps one direction at half speed, then quickly change direction sprinting off a screen. This keeps the defense guessing and off balance.

  5. Know where your teammates are at. This comes with experience and game awareness. The better you know your teammates and your offense, the easier it will be for you to find them and use their screens.

  6. Never stand still for more than two seconds. If you're a great shooter, keep moving. Don't stand in one spot for more than two seconds.

We suggest that you check out this excellent video by Rip Hamilton that shows you how to move without the ball. He also shows a few simple drills:

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


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Isaiah says:
11/28/2015 at 10:05:03 PM

Whenever I make a cut wether it's off a pass or off a screen, one of my teammates always seem to be going to the same spot which forces me to leave the court unbalanced or move somewhere that does not follow the play and does not help. Can you give me any suggestions on fixing this?

  1 reply  

Jeff says:
11/30/2015 at 4:11:43 PM

See above for the post I wrote for Abby. That should answer your question.

  1 reply  

Isaiah says:
12/4/2015 at 4:19:31 PM



Abby says:
11/24/2015 at 6:32:20 PM

Every time I run to make a cut, my teammate seems to consistently running and cutting to the same area I am, which usually results in me either running into her or me having to cut somewhere not useful to the play. Any thoughts on how to minimize this in the future?

  1 reply  

Jeff says:
11/30/2015 at 4:10:31 PM

It somewhat depends on the offense you're running. But generally speaking, you simply go where there's open court space. Might sound over-simplistic but that's basketball. It's all about spacing. It also requires some experience so you and your teammates get comfortable with each other.

Pick your eyes up and see where playing are at and where they are going. Then look for an open area. Sometimes that is simply replacing a player that just go to the basket. Other times that could be flaring away from the ball as it's dribbled toward you.

Also, when you sit on the bench, watch teammates so you can an idea on what they like to do.

Lastly, ask your coach. This is a great question for your coach. They might have specific things you are supposed to do in the context of your offense. If you need more help, let us know. But I'd suggest talking with your coach.


Emily says:
12/11/2014 at 2:34:56 PM

Thanks for that great info I try so hard every day one day I want to be in the WNBA


35weekspreg&stillcoaching says:
7/25/2013 at 11:59:53 PM

Fantastic video, reinforces all I say to my u14 boys, keep moving, move to space, watch for your teammates screen & follow your shots! Many thanks for your fantastic site - it has provided countless invaluable drills, excellent tips on coaching & thought provoking player/coach philosophy.


gabriel-uv says:
9/21/2012 at 9:01:50 PM

hello everyone!

Waching the drill of moving w/o the ball it a high level skills but still it gives a big help to my personal skills,ive realized how important to move time to time when playing basketball it will create so many options to score and it will develop a good habits of decieving the defender......

tyvm & God bless!



Ken says:
5/24/2012 at 1:19:33 PM

Navid -

You can use a chair to practice moving without the ball, make good V cuts and come off the chair - you can do the same with the ball.

As for setting screens without someone to set it on.... not sure about that. Come up to the chair and set a good screen, imagine your player coming off your screen and then You open up to the ball. They say the player that sets the best screen is the one who comes open the most.


Navid says:
5/24/2012 at 10:57:48 AM

How can i practice moving w/ball and set and use screen on my own?


Ken says:
1/18/2012 at 7:57:02 AM

Austin -
The least is easy - a player who is lazy and doesn't stay focused in practice and games.

There are a lot of things that impress me as a coach.... a kid who will dive on the floor after loose balls, take charges and plays great defense.
Someone who can shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor, inside and outside the arc, someone who is quick and can handle the ball / read defenses and make good decisions. Is money from the free throw line and makes his teammates better - is a team player, not SELFISH. All those are tangibles.

The intangibles are kids that have great character, are coachable and reliable and every team needs a leader.


Austin says:
10/17/2011 at 7:36:25 PM

Hey coach,
Thanks for the tips they are really helpful. I have a question for you; as a coach what impresses you the most in a player, as well as the least?


Zach says:
6/5/2011 at 2:22:52 PM

Thats a great way to get rid of your man, get to the basket, and get open shots. I'm going to try some of these.


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