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Topic:  Attacking Zone Defenses

Question from Peter:
How do I attack zone defenses?

Answers and Comments

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Coach Ham says:
11/13/2011 at 1:49:05 AM

I have played against a team that runs a 2-3 zone but one of the front defenders steps out to the top like a junk defense and I can't seem to find any good plays to run against that. Is there any advice on what i can run and plays that would help me beat this defense?


Joe Haefner says:
12/5/2008 at 1:44:48 PM

Coaches can only do so much. Most of the time, it comes down to the players. If they are bigger, faster, stronger, and better-skilled, you are in some trouble.

For offense, we recommend the motion offense.

For defense, it just depends what kind of players you have. I like teaching man to man and adjusting within the man to man defense. Some coaches like zone. Some coaches switch between the two. Some play match-up.

If there was a magic solution, everybody would be undefeated and we wouldn't need coaches.


gloudyl says:
12/5/2008 at 12:50:24 PM

we have an opponent team who are mostly taller and good. what is the best defense and offense that we can used to match them?


michael says:
7/28/2008 at 8:33:32 AM

I am having trouble with my boys( u12) free throw shooting as well as baseline shooting do you have any drills in whitch i can improve both?
And if so do you have any that use only a half court?


Joe (Co-founder of Breakthrough Basketball) says:
12/20/2007 at 9:46:57 AM

For more zone tips, also look at this question:


Don Kelbick says:
12/14/2007 at 4:40:46 PM

Attacking zones is not as complex as it might appear. Effective zones attacks rely on ball movement and player placement and spacing that patterns or cutting.

I addition, once you make a pass off the top, all zones are the same.

When playing against a zone you need:

Ball reversal option near the top
A strongside option
A weakside option
A post option
A baseline option

Players should be spaced far enough apart that the defense has to make a decision as to who to play and create some indecision. How you get there and what cuts they make is up to you. The cuts should be short enough that the player can beat the ball to the spot.

The next thing is ball movement. The more the ball changes side of the floor and the more it goes to the middle the more difficult you are to defend.

I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you need more information.

Don Kelbick
Contributing Editior, BreakthroughBasketball


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