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Motion Offense Question #1


How do you get your best player the ball more often and green light him? What keeps an inferior shooter from being left open because the defense quickly learns that he is not a threat? Like the saying goes, there is a reason you are always open.

Good question, I assume you are asking about that situation in a motion offense.

While they can't all be anticipated, I think that all of those situations are taught in practice. You should not have to invent something during a game.

First is skill development. While most coaches address passing, shooting and ballhandling, we also must teach shooters how to read and come off screens, what opportunities present themselves when you are coming off the screen and when you are setting the screen. Often times the best shot opportunities come to the screener, not the shooter. Have your shooters set more screens. I guarantee they will get open more often. Moving without the ball is also a primary skill that is overlooked. The tougher your shooters are played, the more they should move. They may not get shots early but the cumulative effect of movement will be the defense will wear down and they will get shots in bunches later in the game.

Second is role definition. There are shooters, passers, screeners, non-shooters, post shooters, 3-point shooters, etc. Each of your players should have a role and understand it. Just because a non shooter is open, doesn't mean he should let it fly. You have to feel that out with your players. However, your secondary shooters might see more opportunities which certainly might create problems for the defense and force them to change their tactics. If you have post players that can score, unleash them. Inside scoring strips all defensive game plans. Find a place for your non-shooter. If he is a perimeter player and he is left alone, they will be able to load up on your good players. Put him in positions where he can score. He should know what shots he can make and should take. Have him move a lot and rotate into those areas. The defense will lose track of him and he will make those shots and demoralize the defense. I have also tried putting him in the post. Not necessarily as a shooter, or even as a post player, but if he goes in there, they have to go with him. He can make lay ups and spot-up passes. You would be surprised and how effective of an offensive rebounder he will become.

I really believe in sharing the ball and that is why I like motion offenses. Even Michael Jordan had to sacrifice and that made all of his teammates better and even got them pro careers. If you really need 1 guy to shoot, there is a section in the motion offense book that describes the "Designated Shooter" drill. In practice I use it as a teaching drill for movement and screening, but I have used it in games to get a player shots. We called it the "Get" series ("get" John, "get" Bill.). It has been very effective.

One thing that you have to guard against is people growing impatient and stepping out of their roles. When shooters do not get shots, they do things they might not be good at, bad shots, dribble moves they are not good at, other players trying to pick up the slack by doing the same. Try to take your team through those situations in practice as often as you can. As an example, we ran a defense we called "Chaser." It is a man-to-man but we try to deny (chase) one player no matter where he is. In practice, I would run "Get" Bill on offense and "Chase" Bill on defense. It created quite a battle.


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Coach Ali says:
6/30/2014 at 5:18:51 PM

I like these ideas. I really like the idea of a "chaser" on D while you're practicing, by giving the offense a chance to see other options are available if a particular player is covered. Thanks for posting this!

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