Is This Offensive Action Better Than Ball Screens?
7 Reasons the Zoom Action Might Work Better For You!

By Jeff Huber

Are you looking for an exciting way to use on-the-ball actions to take your offense to the next level... and help your team score more points?

If so, the zoom offense could be for you! In this article, we're going to explain:

  • Why Ball Screens Are So Common In Today's Game (There is a reason!)
  • The Downside of Ball Screens and Why Many Players Struggle
  • Why The Zoom Is a Perfect Replacement for Ball Screens
  • A Brief Explanation of the Zoom Action (You can skip if you already know)
  • 7 Reasons the Zoom Action Might Be Better Than Ball Screens For You
  • Why You Don't Need Great Ball Handlers and High IQ Players
  • How Less Athletic Players Can Better Utilize Their Skills and IQ In Your Offense
  • And more...

Well, let's get into it!

If you coach basketball, you've likely noticed how common ball screens have become in the game at all levels. When you watch professional or Division 1 NCAA games, most possessions include not just one, but multiple ball screens.

So Why Is the Ball Screen So Common In Today's Game? And the Struggles With the Ball Screen

It's simple. Not many other actions create the advantages of the ball screen.

It's a great way to create mismatches and put the defense in rotations.

Watching high level college and professional players utilize ball screens is incredible. Players like LeBron James, Luka Doncic, and Chris Paul have made a living off of utilizing the ball screen.

However, if you've tried to implement ball screens with your team, you might've noticed it's not that simple.

Here Is Why Many Players Struggle With the Ball Screen

You might not have players with the skill set and high IQ required. As a result, you often find yourself frustrated by the unfilled potential of the ball screen.

Being highly effective with the ball screen requires you to set up the defender and create space with the dribble, often from a neutral start. This is a skill that most players do not possess.

Many great ball screen players have high IQ, great skills, and great athleticism... not something you'll always have on your team!

The Perfect Replacement for the Ball Screen. . . Enter the ZOOM action!

The zoom allows coaches to get all the benefits of the ball screen (and then some) while removing many of the drawbacks.

And this is a huge reason you've seen A LOT of coaches implementing the zoom action from the pro all the way down to the middle school level!

Before we talk about all of the reasons why more and more coaches are implementing the zoom action (which are below), let's first explain the zoom action!

What Is the Zoom Action On Offense?

The zoom occurs when the guard on the wing (1, below) down screens for the guard in the corner (3).

Player 3 uses the down screen and then takes the pitch from 5 and looks to turn the corner.

Player 1 lifts behind the action in order to make their defender choose between helping on the roll and taking away the catch and shoot 3 on the lift.

7 Reasons Why the Zoom Might Be Better Than the Ballscreen For You

As mentioned above, in the right situation, the ball screen can be a deadly weapon when in the right hands. However, most of us aren't blessed with players that can do this at a high level year after year.

However, the zoom action is something that coaches can implement with almost any team.

  1. You don't have to be a great ball handler when coming off the Zoom

  2. This is because you do not have to use the dribble to create space at the point of the pitch.

    You create space not only from the setup but also from the down screen. These skill sets do not require you to be a high-level ball handler.

  3. You get higher percentage shots - Shooting also becomes easier

  4. If the defender goes under the zoom, you can simply take the pitch and shoot an uncontested jumper without dribbling.

    On average, shooting off the catch results in a higher shooting percentage.

    With a ball screen, this is often an off-the-dribble shot, which is a low percentage shot for most players.

  5. It's hard to guard the pace off the pitch - Small to BIG Advantage

  6. A third benefit is the speed you receive the pitch with.

    First, you (the ball handler) create a small advantage with the down screen.

    Then you can create a BIG advantage when you attack the pitch with SPEED!

    It is really hard for the defender to recover and get back in front! And if they do recover, the defender is often sprinting. This makes it much easier for the ball handler to beat the defender with a change of pace or a change of direction move.

    It is also harder to switch than a ball screen because of the speed of the receiver.

    And it becomes a nightmare for defenses when you add in the option of the forward where they fake the pitch and keep the ball to drive it to the rim.

  7. Less athletic players can utilize their skill sets more effectively!

  8. As mentioned above, this is a great action to give your players multiple ways to create space and build an advantage. As a result, your less athletic players can showcase their skills and help your players score more points.

  9. Options, Options, Options!

  10. The pitch is only one of many options the zoom offers your players. Here are examples of two other highly effective actions.

    Back cut option

    If the guard's defender overplays, they can back cut and catch a pass from the big for a layup.

    Re-Zoom Option

    The defender fights over the top of the screen. Player 4 keeps the ball. Player 2 continues past the pitch.

    Player 4 front pivots, and Player 2 comes back for the re-zoom.

    Player 4 pitches the ball to Player 2.

  11. Unpredictability

  12. The zoom offense gives you various ways to get the guard to the pitch, which prevents the defense from being able to anticipate what is about to happen.

    As you know, predictability makes your offense easier to guard. The zoom does the opposite and keeps your opponent on their toes.

    Changing the Guard Receiving the Zoom

    The traditional zoom on the three-man side involves a downscreen into a pitch.

    However, the guard receiving (player 3) that downscreen can also back cut or curl the screen.

    This cues the screener to come back for the zoom pitch, changing the guard involved in the pitch and keeping the defense guessing.

  13. Unleash your Jokic

  14. While you certainly don't need a playmaking big to capitalize on the zoom action, it certainly doesn't hurt!

    As bigs become more skilled, the zoom allows you to take advantage of their skill sets.

    A playmaking big is a coach's dream, and the zoom puts that player in position to make a play.

    You're unlikely to have a player whose skill set compares to Jokic. However, the rise of positionless basketball does mean many of your "bigs" will have some playmaking skills that you will want to incorporate into your offensive attack.

    In a ball screen, almost all decision making resides with the guard. With the zoom, a skilled big can initiate offense and use their passing and ball handling skills to create advantages for the team.

    Aligning with #1, you can even capitalize on posts that are great passers and decision-makers but may lack elite dribbling skills.

Let's Zoom It Up!

As you can see, the zoom is a dynamic offensive action that you definitely should consider!

It takes the traditional ball screen and makes it even more effective by putting players of all skill levels in position to be successful.

The flexibility and endless options inherent in it make it a defense's nightmare to guard.

Check Out These Incredible Offensive Improvements From The Zoom Offense!

Coach Nate Steege implemented the zoom offense and had incredible offensive improvements across the board!

And Coach Steege isn't a slouch. He's won 2 state championships and appeared in 9 state tournaments.

He'd actually won a state championship prior to making these offensive changes. Admittedly, he was incredibly strong on the defensive side of the ball.

Either way, check out these offensive improvements...

  • Increase in FG % → 39.8% to 48.5%
  • Increase in 3 point % → 34.3% to 39.8%
  • Increase in effective FG % → 48.3% to 58.3%
  • Increase in assisted FG % → 51.2% to 64.8%
  • Increase in points per game → 50.1 to 68.9
  • Increase in points per possession → .92 to 1.12
  • ...and a school record for 3's made in a season → 230

I think you can agree that every coach would love to see those improvements.

And as you know, it's not always WHAT you teach... It's HOW you teach...

The coaching cues, the breakdown drills, the progressions, and step-by-step process... and even how to simplify and teach the offense to younger or less talented teams!

That's where the following product comes in super handy... It gives you all of this... while giving your offense and scoring a HUGE boost!

The Zoom Offense - Modern Conceptual Basketball

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


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CoachJohn Arcaro says:
11/15/2023 at 8:51:13 AM

Breakthrough has NEVER disappointed, so I am eagerly awaiting tomorrow's launch!


Godlisten Msuva says:
11/14/2023 at 11:14:35 PM

Waiting to see more from the video! It's a great drill to catch and know and deliver it to the players! It adds more skills to them as it encourages multiple offenses skills! Thanks for this Coach


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