Low - Really Simple Basketball Play

Categories: Offense (Team)  
Ages: All Ages  Youth  Middle School  High School+  


This is a super simple play that is so effective and flexible, that this might be the ONLY PLAY YOU NEED. In fact when I was coaching sophomores, all we did was teach a very simple motion offense and had ONE play that was beyond belief simple. It was called "low".

We generally ran this play at the end of quarters but you can use it anytime. In fact, during one game in particular, we even ran the play over and over for about 5 minutes straight because they could not stop it. They know it's coming but you have the floor spread and they can't stop it.


1 - Your best playmaker that can handle the ball, drive, score, and pass.
2 & 3 - Good shooter than can be a threat from the outside.
4 & 5 - Someone that can rebound and make shots inside.


  • Put your players in a 1-4 alignment along the baseline (low). Your best player should get the ball above top of key. You want your shooters in the corners to stretch the defense. Then your best player would just create.
  • With the floor spread, Player 1 should be able to create and drive past their defender. From there, he/she just makes a good decision (shoot or pass to the open player for the shot).
  • Many times Player 1 will drive to the basket, get almost there, and the help defense steps in. From there the point guard reads the defense and then kicks to a player in the corner for a wide open three. But sometimes your best player will get all the way to the basket for a layup or make a short dish to a post player for a layup. It doesn't get any simpler and we always get good shots from this play. The key is for Player 1 to make good decisions and kick it to the open player when the defense helps.
  • It's also worth noting that if the defender stays low and helps, the wing should cut to the wing. If the defender comes up high to stop the ball, the wing should stay in the corner.

Additional Comments:

This play might seem too easy. Well, it is too easy but it works. All you need is one good player and a couple players that can stand and shoot. You just let your point guard create and make plays.

The great thing about it is that it's so flexible and so easy that you have time to work on other things. That's why I used this play. I wanted to spend as much time as possible working on fundamentals. So we didn't even practice plays. We just used this set at the end of quarters and it worked great.


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

Dan W says:
11/15/2020 at 9:22:04 PM

Isn’t this the Boston Celtics “clogged toilet” offense?


Ashley says:
11/18/2018 at 10:44:06 PM

This is not meant for some just man to man defense


EMoran says:
11/16/2018 at 12:46:39 AM

This play might work to score a quick 2 with a dominant player but it does so at the expense of the other 4 offensive players, who aren't set up to succeed by the play. Plus it doesn't clear the lane/paint area which opens up the ballhandler to a charge... if the idea is to lt your best player make the play to decide a game you could make it easier for them to get to the rim without a contest from help side.

  1 reply  

Jeff says:
11/16/2018 at 12:30:18 PM

We run this a couple times a game at most. Often times not at all. We use this play because it frees up time in practice to work on other things.... skills, character, and development.

But I agree with you... it does almost nothing for the players off the ball! Our motion offense looks nothing like this... everyone touches the ball. So good point. I just don't want to spend time teaching our players something more complicated because I want to spend practice time on development.


D says:
12/30/2017 at 4:58:52 PM

Lendue, another reason to not run zone at the youth level is tp get kids moving and to learn how to play defense. In some youth programs, all kids do in zone is run to a spot and stand there. One thought is that at some point, sone defense becomes man, so why not stress man principles early on?


Nicki B says:
8/18/2015 at 12:04:11 AM

Just trying to clarify if this play is primarily used against M2M or a zone defense?

  1 reply  

Jeff says:
8/18/2015 at 2:33:40 PM

You can run it against both. But it works better against man.


Ron says:
5/6/2015 at 8:08:31 AM

Any instructions for the four baseline players regarding movement? What if the PG stops his dribble? If it is a tight man defense, I think some movement needs to be taught to counter-attack.


  1 reply  

Jeff says:
5/6/2015 at 10:39:29 AM

For the four baseline players, the instructions you give them will depend on the age level. With really young kids, I mainly want them to keep spacing. If that means they stay in their spot, then they stay in there spot.

Ideally the players will adjust, read the passing lanes, and apply basic fundamental spacing concepts. For example, if the PG dribbles toward the right post player, that post player might need to flare to the short corner while the right corner player moves to the wing. The left post player might take a couple steps toward the top to improve the passing angle.

I try to keep it simple and avoid too much instruction. Let them try it and then both the coach and players can adjust. Sometimes players figure it out on their own. Other times the coach might need to suggest adjustments.

If your PG picks up their dribble and makes bad decisions, then the play won't work. The good news is that this mistake gives you a great teaching opportunity and opportunity to work with the PG on their skills and decision making.


Shane Thomson says:
3/7/2011 at 3:54:29 PM

I do use this play from time to time with my best player running the point. But, it will hurt you if your pg comes down and shoots and the other team gets the ball and transitions. Your team is already behind the other team in transition defense and therefore is at a disadvantage. My team constantly got beat in transition if my pg did not score. I won''t be using this play too much any more. This would be good for a end of quarter shot.


Walter Williams says:
1/18/2011 at 9:49:27 PM

For those coaches concerned about one player getting all of the development, I think a variation of this would be to alternate positions so that players other than just the "best" player get the opportunity to be the playmaker. I coach two AAU teams and I think I may give this a try as a nice change of pace.


Lennie says:
12/20/2010 at 12:26:00 PM

Thanks Ken! My son's rec league coaches taught man-to-man, by default, in the past. They're only permitted an hour of practice a week, which is ridiculous considering how much there is to teach.

This season's coach though has a defensive mindset and has begun to teach some 2-3 zone. My son's excited because it's new; I'm kinda "meh."


Ken Sartini says:
12/19/2010 at 2:53:09 PM


The are several reasons for not allowing zones in youth leagues.

1- Young kids typically cannot shoot the ball well.
2- Playing zone does not teach the kids how to cover a man, play one pass away or get to the HELP LINE (which is very important)
3- Kids don't learn how to play the game by reading defenses and making proper cuts.

The bottom line is they really don't learn how to play the game. Young kids should be having FUN while learning the game -its NOT about winning at this level - winning is a by product of being fundamentally sound. JMO

As for the 1-4 low, we ran that a lot at the Varsity level (no, it wasn't our primary offense) we would end a quarter with that or just run it when we felt like we needed a quick shot. IF you have a good point guard or anyone who can handle the ball - its a great way to get to the basket - dump it to a post player - or kick it out to a wing... or just penetrate, get in the lane and shoot the J.


Show More

Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
Four times four is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank
    Check this box to receive an email notification when someone else comments on this page.