Overload - Against Zone Defenses

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This is a twist to the overload play from last month's newsletter so that it will work against zone defenses. It's very effective and simple to teach.


Players 4 & 5 should be your strongest post players. Players 1, 2, & 3 should have the capability to dribble drive and shoot the outside shot.


Double1 (4K)
  1. Player 1 passes to either Player 2 or Player 3 on the wing.
Double2 (4K)
  1. After Player 1 passes the ball to Player 2: Player 1 cuts to the corner.
  2. Player 3 goes to the top of the key.
  3. Player 5 flashes to the high post.
Double3 (4K)
  1. If nothing is available on the overload, Player 2 will pass the ball to the top of the key.

  2. When the ball is passed to the top of the key, Player 5 will set a screen on the middle guy of the zone and Player 4 will flash to an opening in the middle of the lane.
  3. Player 3 should pass the ball to Player 4 if it is open.
Related Pages and Helpful Resources

Dynamic Zone Offense Plays Against Any Zone Defense
Double - Zone Offense Play For 2-3 Zones, 3-2 Zones, and 1-3-1 Zones
Zone Out of Bounds (Inbounds) Plays
Basketball Plays and The Art of Running Set Plays and Scoring More Points

Recommended Products:

Beating the Zone - 75 Set Plays to Score Against Zone Defense
In this eBook, you will find 75 zone plays that you can use against any zone defense. It includes 2-3 zone plays, 3-2 zone plays, 1-3-1 zone plays, baseline out of bounds plays, and multi-purpose zone plays. You will also learn how to exploit the weaknesses of zone defenses, learn new ideas for running zone plays, and much more ... (more info)


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Tyler Oda says:
9/24/2021 at 12:42:09 PM

Keep that 2 1 1 set. Just have your two guards be patient and stay calm. Swing the ball back and forth as they edge up to half court. Always have the guard without the ball stay behind the ball handler so that he can throw it back easily. Since they are trapping up top, have middle flash right away and have the corner guys flash up to free throw line extended. Hit middle with a bounce pass, have your best shot creator/playmaker in the middle. From there you just play basketball, once the ball is in the middle of the zone it''s over for the defense. Also, make sure that the guards up top are cutting to the basket but not crowding up the court.


Devin Pemberton says:
5/4/2017 at 3:14:22 PM

I''''m a fifteen year old boy and my dream is to coach high school basketball, and/or college if the opportunity presents its self. I just wanted to say that this page has been very helpful in helping me get started towards my dream. This is a very useful page for anyone with the same aspirations as I have.


Temi says:
10/1/2014 at 3:27:27 PM

I play national league basketball, and I have a really tough game this season with my u16 girls team. We are playing a team that only plays zone defence. I'll show this to my coach tomorrow. Even though I think we have done this before, thanks


Jeff Haefner says:
4/9/2014 at 9:33:35 AM


There is no easy answer other than improving your players skills, fundamentals, decision making, etc.

One thing we do from the 2-1-2 set is have the guard attack the wing defender to get a good passing angle and make a snap pass. It helps if you can get good angles and make quick passes instead of the high and slow passes that the 1-3-1 defense wants. If the pass is quick the D doesn't have as much time to rotate and there are bigger gaps.

So for example, your right wing could attack the right defensive wing, get the defender on his heels, make and inside/out move and create a good passing angle to the corner.

Sometimes this helps us get things going. But this alone won't solve the problem.

It's tough at this age against a good zone. They need to get better at spacing, pass fakes, driving, fundamentals, creating angles, etc.


Craig says:
4/8/2014 at 11:53:14 AM

We face a 1-3-1 trap that is quick and has a very tall player at their 5 spot. Once we pass half court they trap and load up at the top. At middle school the boys can't toss it over to the block or corner without it being stolen. We know the middle is weak and have tried a 2 1 2 set. We are getting crushed on the traps up top.

How do we beat this?


Ken says:
11/15/2012 at 9:51:31 AM

Take a look at this... you can do this with a chair instead of a pass.



Ken says:
11/15/2012 at 9:50:12 AM

Mike -

Break it down for him - one step at a time until he understands it... then tell him to go home and practice it 25 times a day without a ball for a couple days. Once it becomes second nature
he will feel more at ease.... in practice, have someone feed him the ball (without a defense) and do that several times.
Have him catch it, chin it, then head fake to the middle and drop step to the basket with a power dribble between his legs and lay it in.

Let us know if this helps him.


Ima ballerr!! #5 says:
11/15/2012 at 8:49:28 AM

We do this play all the time.


alfred says:
2/25/2011 at 10:33:47 PM

thanks for the plays you posted, it really helps my team, after 3 weeks of running those drills we won the championship. thanks a lot! hope you could publish some new plays. i mean brand new ones.


mike says:
11/17/2010 at 7:41:31 PM

i have a big man for 8th gr. who doesn''t get the drop step or keeping the ball up away from the pesky guards.any good drills


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