Basketball Coaching Tip: How to Develop an Effective "Team" Oriented Offense
Here's a simple tactic to really get your players working together.

You simply gather your players together and tell them something like this...

  "Listen up! This is extremely important!

The definition of an offense is 5 players working together to score as many points as possible. Right?

This might sound simple but listen again... An offense is 5 players working together to score as many points as possible to create the highest shooting percentage possible.

Now this means everyone here needs to change their thought process. Individuals mean nothing. It does NOT matter who takes the shot. Or who scores the points. It's all about the team.

Think about it. Our goal is to get the highest shooting percentage possible. That means we need to get easy and uncontested shots close to the basket."

Next step...

Now put all your players in a man-to-man offense situation.

Tell them...

  "Now, think about this for a minute. What can you do with these 4 other players on the floor to get someone a REALLY great shot?"

Pause for a moment and let them think.

  "How bout things like...

- Better spacing?
- Screens?
- Ball reversals?
- Passing?
- Reading the defense?"

Now go ahead and have them run the offense. But do NOT count points unless it was the result of an assist.

Let the players start really thinking and understanding this concept. Let them come up with ways to score.

The goal is to get the team really moving and passing the ball to get a great shot. This should be an emphasis throughout the year. There is too much one-on-one basketball these days.

Kids just don't get it.

But I have found that by going through this exercise and making your players think about what they are doing really helps them work together.

Try it out and see what happens. I think you'll find that it will help you build a more effective team oriented offense.

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Vance says:
8/16/2007 at 5:32:45 PM

My players are 6'5 or smaller and very quick/athlete and all can shoot and dribble, what kind of offense do i run to get them all a shot within the 35 second shot clock.


Jeff says:
8/17/2007 at 7:20:10 AM

Hi Vince,

That's a good question.

It really depends on your players strengths and weaknesses. And believe it or not, it depends on YOUR strengths, weaknesses, philosophy, and coaching style.

- Are you very knowledgeable on executing half court offense, reading screens, cuts, and so on?
- Do you prefer to run and gun?
- Are you good at teaching post moves to perimeter players?
- Do you prefer motion offenses or a patterned offense that are more controlled?

Many times it helps to focus on your strengths and not try to fake it.

For example, let's just imagine that you're very knowledge and believe in fast paced offenses that run, gun, cut, penetrate and kick. You know how to teach this style, you've run it before, and you believe in it.

Now if you try to implement a completely different style, it will be a challenge for you to learn the new style, and your players might see through you. They can tell when you believe in something or not.

So that's just one reason why you need to take your own strengths and weaknesses into account.

You also need to consider your players:

- Are your players good at posting up?
- Are they fast? Strong? Good ballhandlers? Good at penetrating and passing?
- Are your players good outside shooters?
- What are their backgrounds? What have they been taught? Reading screens, fast breaks, etc?

With that said there are MANY offenses that work well with a bunch of guards or perimeter players. However, I've seen many 6'5 and under players dominate in the post. Height is NOT the most important factor. Strength and footwork can help smaller players dominate bigger players in the post.

There are too many offenses to list here but here just a couple that work with guards.

- Swing (posts up ALL your players, even your point guard)
- Flex
- Cutters (5 perimeter players that utilize back doors cutting, penetration, and quickness. virtually no screening)
- 5 Out Motion
- 1-4 Series

I suggest that you do some searching on Google for basketball offenses. You can also check out this site that has lots of good offenses and some tips on choosing an offense:

We'll also post an article about choosing an offense and diagram more good offenses on our own website, but we haven't gotten to that yet. :)

Hope this helps!

Jeff Haefner

  1 person liked this.  

vance says:
8/18/2007 at 9:23:38 AM

Thanks good advice, yes i do love to fast break and play a pressing d traps and run and jump


boon says:
12/23/2007 at 7:07:40 AM

hi can u all help me?? this coming weeks i have a 3 day camp coming up!! the weakness of the team is that they see opponets to play. eg if the opponents is not so good they are slack if the opponents is strong they play very good as to win them and they did hw can i change their attiude?? and how do i use 3days to increase their stamina?? can help me as their tourament is coming up soon


Joe (Co-founder of Breakthrough Basketball) says:
12/23/2007 at 8:46:51 AM

Hi Boon,

One way to fix your players' problem with not playing hard versus the weaker teams is to always stress "intensity." Have them practice with fierce "intensity" and don't accept anything less. If they don't use that intensity during practice, they don't play. If they buy into it, that intensity should transfer to the court against the weaker opponents.

In response to increasing their stamina in 3 days, there is not much you can do. To increase stamina, take time to schedule practice so all of the drills require hard work and continue at a fast pace to condition the players. If all else fails, condition them at the end of practice by running.


boon says:
12/23/2007 at 5:39:02 PM

thks.. i will try on to it..:)


John says:
11/24/2008 at 6:58:36 PM

So I should only count baskets that result from assists? Interesting. That sort of presumes that looking for the pretty pass - the one that leads to the basket - isnt almost as big a problem as shooting too much. Both represent ballhogging. Setting conditions to your scrimmages isnt groundbreaking news, but if you're going to do it, do it in a way that encourages team play, not an advanced form of selfishness.


Joe Haefner says:
11/24/2008 at 8:11:24 PM

I don't think it presumes for a player to make the pretty pass or an advanced form of selfishness. That's only if you encourage that sort of thing as a coach.

Passing represents team play if encouraged the right way. Simply explain the concept to your players and tell them to "move the ball" or "make the easy pass." They'll get it.


coach c says:
4/25/2009 at 12:00:03 PM

dear coach i have a very tall u14 team next year i want all of them to get involved in dribbling and shootiing but some have no confidence how can i space the floor and work a fast break


Marina says:
11/13/2010 at 9:36:38 AM

I need help. My basketball team is very good, but i feel they are not playing their best until the next day. So we will lose all of our games that day but then the next we win them all. How do i get them to play their best all the time? Please answer soon.


Jeff Haefner says:
11/14/2010 at 8:20:09 AM

Marina - How old are your players?


Marina says:
11/14/2010 at 12:42:59 PM

They are in 6th grade ages between 11 and 12


Jeff Haefner says:
11/15/2010 at 7:50:33 AM

It's been a few years but I can vividly remember coaching a club team of about that same age. I was a very young and inexperience coach at the time. I remember how frustrating it would be for them to play incredible one day and then it was like they were sleeping the next day or even the next game. I know that morning games were horrible for us and it seemed like the players were still sleeping, while the opponents kicked our butts.

I have heard many other youth coaches say the same thing and I think it comes with the territory. They are still young and they don't think or act like adults. They are still developing mentally, emotionally, and physically.

At the time, I was overly concerned about winning. Now I don't think the ups and down would bother me as much.

So my first suggestion to you, is to not be overly concerned about winning with a youth team like this. The most important things are to teach fundamental skills, develop the players for the future, teach life lessons, set a good example, and have fun. Sure you want to win, but the things I just mentioned are more important.

All you can do is keep trying to improve them in practice. Keep teaching, motivation, and developing skills. You can also check out some of the motivation suggestions in this report:

Hope this helps.


Steven Jones says:
12/5/2010 at 9:58:24 PM

Hey there,
I am about to enter into a coaching job of a middle school team, ages 12-15. This team is fast. I am a firm believer in the run and gun offense, as in getting the ball straight up the court as soon as the ball goes in the basket, and having a shot off very soon after. I really want to get the ball up and down the court fast with my players because of their great speed. I also want to run the trap defense. Can you please give me some speed, agility, fast pasted drills to run with this club? (fastbreak, full-court pressure, etc.)Thank you!
Steven Jones

  1 reply  

Ahmed says:
2/13/2016 at 11:09:04 AM

be a good basketball player


Jeff Haefner says:
12/6/2010 at 7:45:20 AM

Steven - Here are some fast break drills:

I also suggest Danny Miles clinics and DVDs. He is one of the best at scoring off fast break.

I have a bunch of other speed agility and skill development drills for fast break. But none are on the website yet. It will take a while but we have video footage of all of them and they'll be put on DVD. As long as your on our email newsletter you'll get notified when the DVD comes out.


mduduzi says:
2/22/2012 at 11:47:26 AM

good drills coach


Pete S says:
3/2/2013 at 10:09:00 PM

Hey coach, great advice. I am coaching a team of 8 5-6 year olds, and have mixed results this season getting them to share the ball on offense.

We have 2 kids that are superstars. They can dribble drive on pretty much anyone and score. Although, I have to plead with them to get them to share the ball. The next 4 kids could be as good as the 1st 2. However, they are not as aggressive. One seems perpetually confused about what I'm saying. Another is a gentle giant. The 3rd is a dynamo of a little guard, but he rarely shows up to practice, and b/c of this rarely does what i want him to in the game. He grabs on defense. He ball hogs on offense. The 4th is my son. He does what I want, almost to a fault. I emphasize sharing the ball. He'll often share the ball with someone whom doesn't even know the ball is coming. The last 2 are way behind. One has serious attitude issues, faking injuries to get attention, and throwing tantrums in practice. The last is new to the game, and making strides each week.

After the 1st game, which was all ball hogging, I got the top 2 kids to share the ball (a little) over the next couple games. But, the last 4 games, I feel like the sharing component has steadily regressed.

It's hard because the other 4 kids are not the greatest about getting open. When they are open, the top 2 are thinking about showing off for their parents with some circus drive. And, sometimes when we got behind, I laxed, and let the top 2 go solo.

Because the sharing regressed, I feel like the whole team is regressing. Because the top 2 shoot so much, when the other 4 get the ball, they then want to go one on one and shoot.

I like your speech above. I've actually been thinking about giving awards for assists. However, given the age of this kids, how much sharing can I expect, and what other things can I do to encourage sharing that might be specific for 5-6 year olds?


Jeff Haefner says:
3/3/2013 at 11:29:43 AM

Pete - This article was written for older players but maybe you can take a piece of the concept and use it to teach younger kids.

With 5-6 year olds, I would not be too concerned about the trouble you are having. I have never coached a team that young. The youngest I have worked with is my daughter when she was 7-8. And that was mostly just to get her and the kids moving, developing some coordination, balance, etc. We only played 3on3 when it came to games.

I think younger kids should be playing soccer, swimming, gymnastics, t-ball, martial arts, flag football, tag, and age appropriate activities. So a couple thoughts...

- Just play 3on3. I don't think kids should play 5on5 until maybe 3rd or 4th grade at the earliest.

- In practice you can play 3on3, 4on4, or 5on5 no dribble. That should solve the problem for you. When I coached my daughter at 7-8 years old, we played 3on3 full court no dribble. When we actually played games, they didn't dribble enough and I had to remind them... "you can dribble too".

Hope this helps. Keep it lots of fun. At this age some kids just aren't mentally ready for a sport of basketball. Have fun, teach a few skills, get them moving, and be a positive role model for them. That's about all that matters. Good luck!


Shaw says:
11/28/2013 at 1:32:41 AM

I am a new coach and I have 2 teams I must develop in a particularly aggressive/competitive youth league. My age groups are 8-9 and 10-11.

I am not sure how to conduct practices with them so they won't be discouraged, as most of them are first time players.

I have been stressing conditioning, passing and dribbling, with less focus on offense. I want them to learn the teamwork concept and to be effective on both ends of the court as a unit.

Are there specific skills or drills that make it easier for first time coaches teaching first time players to be effective against skilled players? I feel like I have too much knowledge and no direction. Please assist :)


Molly says:
1/18/2014 at 3:35:41 AM

Ok so here's my problem... I'm a player playing highschool basketball my team has decent athletes but we don't work together at all only certain people get the ball there is no help on the floor no trust between teammates and no trust in ourselves we could be a very decent team but we can't seem to mesh together correctly we do a run and gun offense really no set plays just running a motion offense.. We end up running around the perimeter and chucking up 3s (we aren't a very old shooting team) not sure what I can do to help my team move forward into becoming the team I know we could be and reaching our full potential any ideas??


Ken Sartini says:
1/18/2014 at 9:54:17 AM

Molly -

Tough spot to be in... maybe you could sit down with the asst. coach and ask him what "WE" can do to become a better, more cohesive team.

If you don't have an asst. go to the head coach.
Good luck


Molly says:
1/19/2014 at 1:28:25 AM

I've tried talking to the coaches all of them are lost..


Ken Sartini says:
1/19/2014 at 4:09:33 PM

I reallly don't have an answewr then. I'm not there so its pretty hard to see what is going on.

Try being a leader without being over bearing... maybe that will help.


jerlin says:
1/27/2014 at 9:30:31 PM

Hello , im a basketball player at my school .. and i have a group of lazy kids in my team and everytime when we play a game they always in lala land .. they dont do NOOO defense and they complain when we loose a game .. i also feel that my coach doesnt knoe how to coach every game we have all they do is stand there and dont do anything .. we hardly have practice (well we do ) but .. they just dont knoe how to coach .. but when my old coach mr.C comes coach our games he helps us . and we win games or we loose by 4 .. We need help .. i dont know what to do . I just want my team to become better and do well on every game .. can u help me ?


Ken Sartini says:
1/28/2014 at 10:07:58 AM

Jerlin -

You are going to have some coaches that you like and some that you dislike, the longer you play this game. You are going to learn some things from every coach that you play for, some good and some bad. Separate the two.

When you win the coach is great, when you lose, he knows nothing... just goes with the territory. There are good and bad in all walks of life... and this is part of your learning experience as you are growing up.

Try to have some fun and then look forward to next year and hopefully you will have a better experience.

Good luck


jerlin says:
1/28/2014 at 5:45:14 PM

thanks .. and thats soo true .. But im in middle school and they say that next year we cant play because its our last year .. but yea we have to step upp .. and im going to try to do my best this year as always and thanks for the advisee :)


Ken Sartini says:
1/28/2014 at 5:56:57 PM

Jerlin -

Isn't there a team at the high school you will be going to?

I would suggest that you go to any camps the basketball program is having so they can see how hard you try.

Try to be a leader here, show the kids by how hard you try, what it takes to be successful. Show them the way so to speak.

I would also advise you to talk to your other Coach ... Mr. C and ask him what to do in this situation.


jerlin says:
1/28/2014 at 6:11:37 PM

Ohh thats great !! .. and yess i will thanks for the advisess


Kathy says:
11/14/2014 at 12:49:58 PM

I'm not sure if this thread is up and running, but I thought I would give it a try. I am an experienced coach- 7th and 8th grade girls. This year I have a VERY TALL TEAM 5'9"- 6'3" (2 6'3" girls) I've never had such a tall team. We will be, by far, taller than any team we face. I have 6 returners including my point guard but she's 5'11" now. 5'9" can handle the ball. I've always run a set offense depending on the defense obviously. I want to really take advantage of the height. I've read about double screens down low, but what else? Truthfully, I was just thinking of taking jumpers and offensive rebounds. But, I don't want to be just an unorganized mess. I understand basketball and have imagined many things, but I don't want to make it super complicated for them either. Any advice would be great!


Coach DEC says:
11/13/2016 at 11:24:04 PM

How do you develop your own offense?


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