Yo Yo - Zone Offense

Home > Coaching > Basketball Offense > Yo Yo - Zone Offense

This is a very simple zone offense that can be used at any level. It works best against a 2-3 zone.


Players 1, 2, & 3 should be your wing players and Players 4 & 5 should be your post players.


  1. You will want to start your players out in this set.

  2. Player 1 can pass it to either wing.

  3. If Player 1 passes it to Player 2, Player 5 goes to the high post area on the ball side. Player 4 slides from the block to the short corner. The short corner is about 2 to 3 feet away from the baseline and 2 to 3 feet outside the lane.

  4. Player 2 looks to pass the ball to Player 5 in the high post or Player 4 in the low post area if possible.

    When the ball is on the wing, the wing player should not be in a rush. He should be patient to look at how the defense reacts and try to find a hole in the defense.

  5. If nothing is there, Player 2 will swing the ball back to Player 1. Within this offense, you do not want to hold the ball at the top of the key. That's why it is important for Player 1 to quickly swing the ball to Player 3.

  6. When the ball is passed to Player 1, Player 5 flashes in the middle of the lane looking for a quick entry pass if open. This will only be there for a split second, because Player 1 is going to swing the ball quickly to Player 3. As soon as the pass goes to Player 3, Player 5 will go to the short corner.

  7. Player 4 will stay put until the pass goes to Player 3. Once this happens, Player 4 will go to the high post area on the ball side.

  8. Player 3 looks for entry passes into Player 4 or Player 5.

  9. If Player 4 & 5 are not open, Player 3 can pass it to Player 1 or throw a skip pass to Player 2. Player 1 glances to see if there is an open gap in the zone, then swings the ball to Player 2.

  10. If Player 2 throws an entry pass into Player 5. Player 5 can turn and look for the open jump shot or attack the basket.

    Another option for Player 5 is to turn and throw a pass to Player 4 who should try to slide in behind the zone defense for an open lay up.


    Here is another variation to the yo-yo offense which will provide more movement for the wing offensive players:

  11. When Player 1 throws the ball to the wing, he cuts to the opposite wing, instead of staying at the top of the key.

    Player 2 replaces Player 1 at the top of the key. Players 4 & 5 continue their normal movements in the post area.

    This helps if you find your wing players becoming complacent.

  12. Like before, Player 3 looks into the post for an entry pass. If nothing is open, he returns the pass to Player 2.

    Player 4 slides into the seam underneath the free throw line.

  13. Player 2 passes the ball to Player 1. Player 2 cuts to the opposite wing and Player 3 replaces Player 2 to at the top of the key.

    Post Players 4 & 5 continue their normal movement within the offense. Player 4 cuts to the short corner and Player 5 flashes to the high post.

    When a Player is coming across the lane into the high post like player 5 is in this diagram. We sometimes teach him to shuffle his feet across the lane, so he doesn't fly past an open seem to quickly.

  14. Here is the positions that your players should be in with the ball on the wing:


Recommended Products and More Zone Plays:

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)

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


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

Brian Sass says:
1/25/2015 at 11:05:17 AM

I like this offense and always have liked similar offenses for attacking zones.

I do have a couple of questions though:

1.) The offense described above seems to be more designed to attack an even-front zone defense.

Are their adjustments that can be made to attack an odd front?

Could the high post step out and the point and backside guards drift back a space to create a 4-1 look, while keeping the same X pattern in the lane?

2.) I don't like the static movement of the perimeter players. Can they do more than fill those areas?

Ideas: Interchange backside after making a pass a wing.
Cut through the defense backside of the post players and replace with the wing opposite.

Would this keep backside players in the zone occupied and draw eyes away from the playside players and action?

Is this feasible? What do you think?

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
1/25/2015 at 12:37:26 PM

1) I have never used this offense against an odd front.

You could try having the high post step out. I think Bo Ryan had a zone offense with similarities to that. I can't remember the motion off the top of my head.

I typically use this zone offense offense against odd fronts:

2) On the static movement, I like to interchange backside after making a pass to the wing.

Another option is to have the players rotate perimeter and post spots after each pass.

- Have the passer cut to the high post in a gap.
- Have the high post player find a spot open in the short corner or corner.
- Have the short corner player, fill a perimeter spot.

Lots of different things you can do with success. However, all offenses stink if you don't have good players. Players that can shoot, dribble, pass, and make good decisions.

  1 person liked this.  

jimbo says:
6/16/2014 at 11:20:10 PM

it would be nice to have a picture showing option of pass to low post in short corner...thanks great work


eric says:
1/29/2014 at 11:36:08 PM

looking at a variation of the 1-3-1 setup for 14 year olds. constant passing and a lot of back and forth. so for example 2 dumps off to 4 and immediately heads to the corner for an immediate pass back from 4. then either take an open shot, or pass back to 4 if open or to 5 if he has a clear path to the basket.

the scenario would be similar depending on where the ball goes on the first pass, but players better be both moving right after they pass and be ready for a pass back. even if it's just wing to post back to wing then back to post again to keep the defense wondering instead of dumping into the post for a 1-on-1 matchup under the basket.

what type of offense is this most similar to that i should be looking at ?

thanks for all you guys do!


john says:
12/3/2012 at 10:06:51 PM

used this play for years called it iowa since tom davis ran it when there. the only difference the post player or the mirror we call her goes from post to block.and the girl in corner just runs the baseline corner to corner usually best shooter as ball goes from side to side always lookin in to the mirror as she rolls with ball or looking for the shooter running corner to corne my 4th grade girls picked it up in 2 practices and run it great swinging the ball. my jr college team i helped with years ago ran it.this is a great offense simple to run and the more advance the kids are the more variations you can add. glad to see you have it posted to help out younger coaches and kids.


Ken says:
11/30/2012 at 2:35:27 PM

Coach Brooks -

Take a look at the article Jeff sent... you will see how many coaches feel that m2m is the way to go, including myself... especially at the younger ages.

Jeff suggested 3 on 3 games, that would make all these arguements a moot point.

Usually younger teams play zones because its easier to teach and you can win more.... young kids cant shoot well from the perimiter.... makes the zones look great.

There is so much to teach younger kids, take that time and spend it on fundamentals and don't worry about the Ws. You can read some of my posts along with Jeff & Joes and you will know where we stand and why.


Jeff Haefner says:
11/30/2012 at 11:34:43 AM

Coach Brooks -

Take a look at this article and let us know what you think:

Thanks for the feedback.


Coach Brooks says:
11/30/2012 at 10:34:33 AM

@ google... one of the best ways to breakthrough a zone defense with players taller than yours is simply to outrun it. Take a look at developing a good transition game and incorporate it into your gameplan. another way is a pretty decent zone screening offense (box sets).and simply using these plays to force the zone to mis-rotate...try those things and I guarantee you will play against zone defenses better. let me know how that works out for you


Coach Brooks says:
11/30/2012 at 10:29:22 AM

I Disagree with Coach Haefner. Why not play in youth leagues that allow pressing and/or all types of defenses? This is what these kids will face as soon as they move up. Yes it is good to teach the fundamentals first and foremost as this is the basis for learning this great game of ours,however I am of the opinion one can do both teach the fundamentals and play in the qusi more competitive leagues which will produce the better basketball athlete in the long run.


Google says:
11/16/2012 at 5:37:12 AM

How do we breakthrough a zone defense with players 20-30 cm than our team? (We don't have 3-point shooters)


2/14/2012 at 11:57:11 AM

We need to know a play in respect of the new 3pts modification


Show More

Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
Five times four is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank