A Stupid Simple Entry that Always Works - How to Initiate Your Offense

Coaches. At some point, I'm sure you've had this problem...

Your opponent's defense is set. Your point guard brings the ball up and looks to start the offense. Nobody is open. The point guard is dribbling for what seems like an eternity trying to find an open teammate and get the ball entered. The ref is counting, the fans are starting to yell, and your point guard starts to get anxious.

It can be really frustrating when your players can't get open for that first entry pass and can often lead to a turn over.

Offensive entry plays can solve that problem. But as a coach, you don't want to spend time teaching and practicing a bunch of entries so your players remember them. There are plenty of other things to do!

Here's a dead simple entry that has worked really well for us. It will save you a bunch of time, promote aggressiveness, and works almost every time.

I picked up this entry idea (along with many other ideas) from Keith Haske's Uptempo Basketball System.

Initiate Your Offense by Getting into the Seam

The concept is simple. Have your players set up in their transition or half court spots. Then have your point guard attack and get into a seam.

On the right, you can see our transition offense spots. We quickly try to pass ahead looking for an easy basket. If nothing is there, we want to immediately start our motion offense (4 out 1 in).

If we're unable to get the ball to the corner or the post immediately, the post man quickly clears to the weakside.

Then the point guard attacks and gets into the seam. If the point guard attacks the right side, here's what we want the point guard looking for...

Option 1 - Lay up

In most cases the point guard should be in "attack mode" pushing the ball up the court. Then make an in/out dribble move (fake cross over) to get in a seam.

If they can get all the way to the basket, our first and best option is a lay up.

We want our point guard to have an attack mentality.

Option 2 - Drive and dish to 5

If the point guard beats the perimeter defenders and then gets stopped by 5's defender, they should dish to 5.

It's important for 5 (and all players) to maintain spacing and improve the passing angles as the point guard drives.

Option 3 - Pitch to 2

If the perimeter defenders seal the seam, then 2 should maintain spacing as the ball moves and improves the passing angle for a pitch back.

On the right, you can see that 2 moves to improve the angle to receive a pass from 1.

The ball is now entered and motion offense starts immediately.

This is a very fast and easy way to get your offense started. I also like the "attack" mentality that goes a long with it. We generally get a couple lay ups in transition by attacking immediately while the defense is scrambling back.

Not to mention, it's a simple concept for players to understand. You just need to show them once or twice to get in the seam to draw the defense and then pitch out.

Getting into the Seam with 5 Out Motion

You can do the same with the 5 out. In fact this is what we do with our 3rd grade girls team. With high school we're running a 4 out 1 in. With our youth team we run to spots in a 5 out and start from there. It works at any age level.

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


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Scott von Stade says:
3/19/2014 at 2:21:42 AM

Definitely not stupid, nor simple unless...you have penetrating guards. We run a Memphis dribble drive (boys 8th grade) which is 4 out 1 in. This is very similiar where the pg's job is get to the rack, if stopped in paint, kick to the 2 in the corner for the 3pt, or if 1 is stopped above the stripe (as you have diagrammed) then drop it to the 2 for the shot.

It is quite a task for point guards to know their focus is getting to the rack. They need speed, counter moves, and quick decision making. The repetition of actually getting there will build their confidence. Great stuff, thanks to all of you.


Brian Sass says:
3/18/2014 at 12:23:28 PM

I have been using an entry similar to this for a couple of years now.

Only differences:
1). We keep our wings on or a step below the free throw line extended. We keep the corners open for our point man to fill after a basket cut.

2). Our post starts on the opposite block. We keep the ball side block open for backdoors from our wing and drives by our point guard.

3). Part of our initiation and one of our options is a pinch post cut by our 5 to the same side elbow. Against zones he is often open and against man it further drags the defender away from the basket, opening the driving lane and backdoor cuts.

I have found with this spacing most teams just let us have the wing pass.

If the point beats his man, the post dives back to the opposite block for weak side rebound. On high post feed, the feeder runs basket cut to same side corner.

It has been very effective for us the last couple of years.


Steve Graham says:
3/8/2014 at 10:50:29 AM

We are on the same page...just last night we practice 4 out and 1 in without seeing your suggestion. Our guard play has change with a few players moving on and I totally agree with this method of play. it will take pressure off the guard play and loosen up tight defense on the wing play. I will write back after our tournament this afternoon.


Ken Sartini says:
3/5/2014 at 1:51:43 PM

Ricky -

Like any other offense / play... when 1 drives to the basket..... this forces 5 to make a decision...help or let him go. IF he tries to help and recover, now its 5's responsibility to get in a passing lane.

That should solve the problem with the passing lane. Like anything else, its all about execution and as my friend Creighton Burns always says....
" IF your Jimmiy and Joes are better than my Xs and 0s, you will win. "


Ricky says:
3/5/2014 at 1:43:05 PM

Fist diagram, dribbling with your right hand at the big man, to me is not what I want. Easy to help and shut off the pass to 5 because of the bad passing angle.

I also dont like it when players rotate to the ball. Option 2 You bring your man to the ball or you got in his sight of the helper.

But hey. Its just what I think! :-)


Wayne Woodard says:
3/5/2014 at 10:47:55 AM

I agree with coach Rick. How is this poor spacing? You couldn't get much more spaced out unless you went into the backcourt.


Coach Rich says:
3/4/2014 at 2:24:33 PM

Ricky, how is this poor spacing? I have ran these sets and very similar sets for years. They are simple and very effective.


Charlene Bakke says:
3/4/2014 at 11:53:29 AM

I run the 5 out with my Grade 7 girls. This year, my point guard is not as strong, so I have the #2 come and set a pick, then roll to the basket and leave my #5 out for the pass. When they make a good pick, the floor opens up nicely for them.


VMI04 says:
3/4/2014 at 9:38:08 AM

If the wings are being overplayed, I teach the back door cut. I always tell my players, if their shoulders are almost even with yours, cut to the basket. When the wing cuts back door, the player in the corner (of a 5 out formation) cuts to the wing and then you have two options: pass to the backdoor cut or to the player moving from corner to wing. It could also create a seam for the point guard to drive to the basket as the wing defender is moving with the cutter.


Brian Johnson says:
3/4/2014 at 9:08:45 AM

I like it. I coach a middle school B Team and they put a ton of pressure on the wings to get the offense started.

This is a nice alternative to push things and get into the motion offense.


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