Open Post Offense - Motion Offense, Diagrams, Drills, and Plays

Home > Coaching > Basketball Offense > Open Post Offense - Motion Offense, Diagrams, Drills, and Plays
The open post offense is a great offense that is used at every level. It has gone by the name of the 5 out offense, the spread offense, and the backdoor offense. It is called these names because there are no offensive players in the post and the offense is spread out.

Why Would You Use The Open Post Offense?

  • Undersized Team & Exploit Opposing Team's Strengths - If you have an undersized team, the open post is a great offense to use to exploit the opposing team's size. Even though you may have mismatches defensively in the post, you can create mismatches on the offensive end against the opposing team's bigger and slower players.

  • No Low Post Threats & Utilizing Your Strengths - This is similar to the reason above, except you may have some size but these players prefer to play along the perimeter. Rather than trying to put a square peg into a round hole, you adjust to your team's strengths.

  • Good Penetrators and Outside Shooters - If you have players that attack the basket well and you have good outside shooters, the open post offense will open up the lane so your players can attack the basket. If the defense collapses on the penetration, your outside shooters can locate open spots along the perimeter for drive and kick situations.

  • Easy to Teach - This is relatively easy to teach and can be taught quickly.

  • Delay Game - This is a great offense to use as a delay game. The continuous pattern of cutting and screening while keeping the floor spread enables you to extend the time spent on each offensive possession. You can even extend the offense out to 25 to 28 feet to make the defense guard more area.

  • Great For Youth Teams - This is the offense that we recommend for all youth teams. If you can get your teams to cut properly and attack screens properly, I can promise you that coaches at the next level will be very grateful to you and you will see more of your players have success at the next level.

    This also gives you more practice time to work on skills. Better players that understand how to play team basketball equal better teams.

    Even if you would like to add post options later, the open post is still a great foundational offense for all youth and middle school teams.
Here are some basic open post rules:
  • Pass and move - screen or cut.
  • Fill the open spot.
  • If overplayed, go backdoor.
Based on the coach, they will add or modify the open post rules. For example:
  • Do not cut until the passer is looking at you.
  • Take two steps in the opposite direction before cutting to the fill spot.
  • When filling the top, cut to the FT line first. (Bob Huggins)
  • When filling the top, cut straight to the 3-point line.
  • Do not pass to the corners.
  • On every screen, the primary option is to curl.
  • When dribbled at, go backdoor.
  • When dribbled at, use the dribble hand off.
  • When dribbled at, read the defense and attack.
These are just examples. There are certainly more. You can set your own rules that you feel comfortable with and will help your team succeed using the Open Post. I would caution not to implement too many or too many at once.

Every coach differs with their approach and there certainly is not one way to teach the open post offense, but my preference has been to introduce the cutting concepts first. Then after they have mastered the cutting concepts within the open post, you can introduce the screening concepts. After they have mastered both, you can let the players play and pick whether to cut or screen away.

Open Post Offense - Cutting Option (No Screens)

The open post starts with 5 players spread on the court. You have a player on top, one player on each wing, and one player in each corner.

To initiate movement, both wing players cut through.

The corner players fill the wing.
1 passes to 2 on the wing.

1 performs a rear cut or face cut to the basket.

If 1 is open, 2 passes to 1.

If 1 is not open, 1 finishes the cut at the rim, then cuts to the opposite corner.

3 fills the top.

4 fills the wing.
2 passes to 3.

2 basket cuts, then fills the open spot on the perimeter which is the ball side corner.

5 fills the wing.

You can also have 1 and 4 interchange to occupy the weakside defense.
Any time a player cutting to the ball is overplayed by the defense, the player cuts to the basket which is called a back door cut.

In this situation, 5 cuts backdoor.

Open Post Offense - Screening Option

To initiate the offense, 5 screens for 2. 4 screens for 3.
1 passes to 2, then screens for 3.

3 fakes opposite, then curls around the screen and finishes the cut at the basket.
After 3 clears the screen, 1 opens up to the ball.

1 then cuts to the top.

3 fills the corner.

4 fills the wing.

2 passes to 1.
2 screens for 5.

5 curls around the screen and finishes the cut at the basket.
2 opens up to the ball, then fills the wing position.

5 fills the open spot which is in the right corner.
As mentioned before, any time you are overplayed you cut backdoor.

In this diagram, the defense overplays 2's cut to the wing, so 2 cuts backdoor.

This is part of the reason you may want to teach the cutting option first. This makes the transition to the screening option much easier because the players have already developed the habit to cut backdoor when overplayed.

Open Post Offense Practice Drills - Cutting Drill

Two coaches or players are in the wing area. The coach closest to the baseline holds a basketball.

1 initiates the drill and passes to the coach without a ball on the wing.

1 basket cuts and coach passes the ball to 1 for the lay up.
2 fills the top then cuts backdoor as if the defense was overplaying them. The other coach passes to 2 for a lay up.

Open Post Offense Practice Drills - Screening Drill

Two coaches or players are in the wing area. The coach closest to the baseline holds a basketball.

1 passes to the coach on the wing, then screens for 2.

2 curls the screen and the bottom coach passes the ball to 2 for a jump shot in the lane or a lay up.
After the screen, 1 cuts to the ball and shoots a jump shot.

Open Post Offense - Set Play #1

1 passes to 3.

After 1 cuts to the basket, he turns and sets a flex screen for 4. 4 cuts to the ball side block.
As 1 sets the screen, 2 finds 1's defender and sets a screen.

1 cuts off of the screen.

Open Post Offense - Set Play #2

1 passes to 3.

As 1 cuts to the basket, 2 and 4 set a double screen for 1.

Related Resources For Open Post Offense

How To Develop a High-Scoring Motion Offense - Instructional Guide To Building Your Motion Offense.

Do You Recommend The Motion Offense To Youth Teams?

Cutters - Easy 5 Out Motion Offense

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


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

Natalie says:
12/7/2014 at 3:08:20 AM

I am coaching a team of 8-10 year-old first-time players. I am not sure if it would be best to try a simple motion offense with them or just try to keep them focused on screens and cuts (along with the other fundamentals). Please advise!

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
12/8/2014 at 8:37:39 AM

Natalie, personally, I like to teach this age group how to pass and cut, go backdoor, how to maintain proper spacing, and how to find an open spot if dribble penetration occurs.

This is an example of what I've used in the past.

Then as they get older, I will add more options such as down screens, ball screens, and post play.


Jeff Haefner says:
10/10/2012 at 5:27:36 PM


You can tweak things to make it work against a zone. You could have them fill spots rather than just through the lane. For example, when they cut, you could have them fill the mid post and/or the short corner.

I know some coaches have made this work. You can teach players to find a gap as the cut and then come back to towards the ball in an open spot.

Personally, when playing against zone, I've had the best luck going to a gap type of offense when you allows kids just to play:


BBcoach says:
10/10/2012 at 4:28:07 PM

I love an open spread offense concept for our 6th grade team. Can it work against zones (2-3, 1-3-1) because that is most all we see in our leagues. If so how would you implement it can you please email me a link to a diagram of the progressions.

We are a very small team with really no post players- my goal is teaching fundamentals to ALL the players for their future. Problem is that except for one really good player most of the team are beginners with very poor (ball handling, shooting,etc.) skills at the moment. I'll work on improving their fundamentals throughout the season as my main focus.

We have one really good point/shooting guard who is head and shoulders above the rest of the team in talent.
He can score and dominate most all of the people we play against one on one, and while he is really my only real scorer and effective ball handler I really want to teach the others and get them involved as well.

Is there a way to make this offense work for my situation against a zone?


Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
Seven plus six is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank