10 Ways to Start an Early Offense

Zach Weir, Head Boys’ Basketball Coach, Keller HS (TX) and creator of angleofapproachbasketball.com

  1. The ball must not touch the floor 
  • On a miss, the rebounder must high point the basketball
  • On a make, get the ball out quick to the outlet, this must be practiced the most 
  • The PG must work to be available for a quick and efficient outlet pass
  • A good PG can get to or across the half court stripe with limited yet efficient dribbles. 
  • If a team does score getting the ball out of the net and to the outlet, it is a great time to attack because most teams will relax after scoring
  1. The pass
  • Most simple yet quickest and effective way to get an early advantage  
  • Players cannot out run a pass that is on time and on target 
  • Nearest 4 or 5 should take the ball out, this will allow the guards to get out and run
  • True Positionless basketball or teams that run a 5 out or 4 guard system could use the closest player to throw the ball in 
  1. Sprinting the floor the correct way 
  • Sprinting in itself will create an advantage for the offense
  • Be mindful of how your players fill the outside wing lanes run, are they actually running wide and full speed. 
  • Are they jogging?
  • Are they backpedaling? 
  • Do they have good angles to allow for the best passing angles?
  1. Crossing the guards
  • If the ball is dribbled down by the PG automatically crossing the guards is good way to get player movement and occupy help. 
  1. Only run to your spots (if 1 player is back)
  • Players run to designated spots/areas to create space for driving lanes and secondary actions such as drag screens, pin downs, etc.
  1. Drag screens 
  • Single or Double is very effective in transition. Great movement with multiple options for the players involved.
  • If the ball gets down before both the 4 and the 5 it’s a double drag, if the rim runner is at the rim and an entry pass is not possible, it’s a single 
  1. Single Screen Actions  
  • Flare to skip by rim runner. Defense will be loaded to the ball to stop it.  
  • Wide pin down by trailer
  • Pistol Action 
  1. Secondary action 
  • UNC is well known for running their patented back screen cross screen into their motion
  • Teams that run action automatically each time down are very tough to guard and are well versed in the counters for each type of coverage that they will see. 
  • This type of action is done so much that it does become automatic.
  • Some teams are able to run different actions based on what the pg or player bringing the ball down does. For example, pitch ahead = double stagger or PG dribbles down = drag screen 

      9.  Starting the break 

  • Seen more in college and pro but when teams have multiple players that can rebound and start the break without the outlet pass. This is very dangerous and allows for the other players to fill lanes and provides more pass ahead opportunities, which is the fastest way to get the ball down the floor. 
  • This will be the toughest for teams to guard and also requires the most trust from coaches. This will also help with defensive rebounding. Teams that crash the glass heavily will not be able to get back to stop the break. 

10 . Crossing the Midline 

  • Teams that have good guard play will be able to find the soft spot in the defense as they are getting back. Many times this happens by taking the outlet and crossing over the midline in order to make the defense shift/closeout to a different spot. 
  • Best case scenario you have 3 guards that are interchangeable and can attack the defense in this way. Most teams only have 1 primary ball handler and this can also be effective. 
  • This can be done with the dribble or the pass. This style of play flows very well into different types of motion. With the use of DHO, blur screens, pin downs, take actions, drag screens, and more. 
  • Simple yet quick and effective actions that can attack the kill zone areas of the defense. 

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