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Basketball Offense Tips

Read these 20 Basketball Offense Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Basketball tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How can I help my team?

Meet the Ball

When a teammate passes you the ball, come and meet it. Don`t wait for it to get to you. Passes are often stolen the last third of the pass. It is the receiver´s responsibility to step in and meet the pass aggressively.

How can I help my team?

Keep Moving

We often say that the biggest mistake you can make, is to stand still. Always move with a purpose. When you don't have the ball, you should move to the ball, fake cuts, move away from the ball, set a screen, get rebounding position, or improve your floor spacing -- but never just stand. Think about the players that you don`t like to guard. They probably are the ones that are constantly moving, requiring you to stay alert or else he will sneak free for an easy shot. Rip Hamilton is a great example of this. Nobody in the league wants to guard him because he is constantly moving, constantly making the defense work. Be THAT person, be Rip Hamilton and KEEP MOVING!

How do I set a screen?

Setting Up for the Pick and Roll

Setting a screen(called a pick) for a teammate with the ball is a play that Stockton and Malone of the Utah Jazz made a living with in the NBA. When you set a pick or screen for someone your stance must be wide, your arms pulled into the chest to brace for contact since the defender will most likely bump into you. When this happens, you have set a good screen. It's the ball handler's job to wait for you to get set, or stand still. Any movement on the screeners part during the pick will be called an offensive foul, and the offense will turn the ball over.

How can I help my team?

Cut Backdoor

Get open when the man with the ball is in a position to pass the ball by faking one way and using a V-cut or an L-cut to elude the defense. If you are trying to get open and are being overplayed to the outside, fake the cut out and then cut backdoor (behind the defender and to the basket)

how do I use a screen?

Using Screens

When using a screen, I like to set-up the defender by walking him away from the screener. Then, I try to make the defense easy to screen by bringing the defense to a stop. Try to make them turn their head by faking a move in the opposite direction, just as your teammate is setting up for the screen. Also, make sure your screener is set BEFORE you use it. You will get your big man in foul trouble and create turnovers for you team if you don't wait for your screener to be set.

How do I get open to receive a pass?

Screen to Get Open

A screen may be a method of helping a teammate get open, but a good screen often forces the screener´s defender to "help" and becomes one of the best ways to free yourself for a shot.

how do I keep from getting my shot blocked

Avoiding the Blocked Shot

Generally it is "help" defenders who block the shot rather than the player guarding the shooter, so be aware of them. Do what you can to throw off a shot-blocker, such as releasing the ball a little sooner or coming to a jump stop and using a shot fake. On power layups, your shoulders should be parrallel to the backboard instead of facing the basket. This helps protect the ball a little better. A term to remember is BODY-BODY-BALL. You always want to have the defenders BODY, then your BODY, then the BALL. This way your body is protecting the shot. Of course another good idea is to work on your "mid-range" game by coming to a jump stop and shooting a little jump shot BEFORE you get to the shot blocker.

How can I help my team?

Create Spacing

Move to create proper spacing , using the three point line and marks on the floor as a spacing guide. Try to maintain 12`-18` spacing and don`t get bunched up. The floor should be balanced (don`t have four guys on one side of the floor and only one on the other - unless it is an isolation play designed to take advantage of something in particular).

how do I set a screen

Setting a Downscreen

When setting a down screen for a player, the screener should "Head Hunt", or find the defender guarding the player that he wants to screen for. The screener should go directly to the defensive man to set the screen. The screener should then come to a stop with a wide base and knees flexed, making sure there is no movement during the actuall screen or this will be called an offensive foul.

How do I do a lay-up?

Shooting a Layup

During the ACTION phase for a right handed layup you want your right knee up, and for a left handed layup you want your left knee up. You should explode upward trying to put your knee through the bottom of the basket. It is important to protect the ball with 2 hands on the same side as your shooting hand. Your elbow should be under the ball with wrist cocked and your eyes focused on a spot in the square on the backboard.

How do I penetrate and dish?

Zone Offense - Gap Penetration

Try to get some GAP PENETRATION. Dribble into a gap, dish to the basket or kick out to a shooter. Look to pass to where the defender comes from. The second time a player touches the ball on a possession is a good time to look for this type of dribble penetration.

What is a pick and roll?

Pick and Roll

The pick and roll play is one of the most fundamental plays in basketball. Stockton and Malon made this play famous in the 80's and 90's. First, you must know how to set a good screen(see setting a screen). As your teammate dribbles by you and his defender has been blocked by you, you make a back or reverse pivot and cut to the basket.(This is called a roll). Usually either the big man rolling to the basket is open, or the guard is open for the shot or the drive. This is one of the most unstoppable plays in basketball if done correctly.

how do I run a motion offense

Slip the Screen

If you know that the defense is going to switch on any screen, you may try to "slip the screen", meaning to set up for the screen, but right before contact you "slip" the screen by making a quick cut to the basket. Very difficult to guard, ecspecially if the Pick-N-Roll has had prior success.

How do I do a lay-up?

Learning Layups

When just learning to shoot layups, players should begin shooting layups from just one step away from the basket. If they are shooting from the right side of the basket, they should step with their right foot, left foot, look at the box, and shoot. Right-Left-Up! As they master this, they can begin stepping back and adding the dribble to their shot.

how do I set a screen

Protect Yourself When Setting a Screen

The screener should protect his lower body by keeping his arms down and in front of him, locking his arms in a "V" by grasping one of his wrists. Be careful not to move or push off with your arms to avoid being called for a foul.

What is a give and go?

Give & Go

The give and go is one of the most fundamental plays in basketball. What you do is pass to a teammate(this is the give part), hesitate for a second, and then cut to the basket (this is the go part). The player you passed to then gives the ball back to you, which hopefully leads to an open lane. This is a great two man play, as it gets defenses to relax, gets them flat footed, allowing the Give & Go to be effective.


The Bounce Pass

The bounce pass is very effective in tight situations, in heavy traffic, or against an aggresive defense. One of my high school coaches actually banned the bounce pass saying, "It's two passes. One hitting the floor, the other to your teammate." Needless to say, we didn't see eye-to-eye on this and other issues, and he didn't keep his job very long with nuggets of wisdom like that.

The biggest advantage a good bounce pass offers is that it hits the floor at the feet of the defender, making it difficult for the defender to get his hands on the ball. Steve Nash uses the bounce pass more than any player I know of, usually in the screen-and-roll situation, or when he's penetrating and dishing. Again, the bounce pass goes where the defense isn't, also making a very catchable pass for your teammate as he can see the pass coming off the floor, and softly into his/her hands.

Is there a way to get my lay-up right?


Footwork needs to be "automatic" for high percentage success in lay-ups, which means many, many hours of practice. Jump off the left foot for a right handed lay-up, and vice versa. Aim for the box and when you go for a layup, don´t spin the ball off your fingers. This happens when you turn your wrist during the release of your shot. By spinning it, you have a better chance of the ball rimming-out! Keep your wrist stiff as you release the ball, extend as far as possible to get a high percentage shot. This shot must be mastered to play any form of basketball from rec to pro.

how do I shoot over a taller player?

Shot Fakes

Before shooting while being guarded by a person that is taller than you, pump faking is a very effective tool to have in your arsenal. A pump fake, also called a shot fake, will often get your opponent to leave his feet, or at minimum lose his defensive balance as he jumps at you for a shot block or a shot contest. This will create an open shot or lay-up opportunity.


Easy basketball plays

Every basketball player and team must practice to improve their skills. When you begin playing with a team the coach teaches easy basketball plays and basketball shooting techniques. These are the fundamentals of the game and the better you are at these, the better you will be both on the court and improving your personal skills and abilities. If you want to improve you basketball shooting skills, you will definitely want to work on each basketball shooting drill that your coach has you practice. Once practice technique you may want to try is: Place your body a few feet from the basket, stand with feet shoulder width apart and as if you are prepared to jump, one foot slight forward of the other and knees slightly bent, most of your weight should be on the balls of your feet, square your shoulders with the basket and keep your head upright. Place the basketball in your power hand up with arm bent at a ninety degree angle and your other hand as support in front of your face and proceed to shoot and release the ball using the technique to flicking your wrist and pushing your arm up to force the ball out of your hand to the basket. You must practice this move and perfect it before you are able to learn basketball layups. Basketball layups also take a lot of time to learn and perfect which includes dribbling, moving your feet and shooting in a precise, consistent and accurate manner.

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