December 14, 2001, Newsletter Issue #36: ZONE OFFENSIVE PRINCIPLES

Tip of the Week

To start your zone offense it is a good idea to get in a "GAP ALIGNMENT". Against an even front zone (2-1-2, or 2-3) get in an odd front set (1-3-1,1-2-2 or 1-4). Against an odd front zone, get in an even front set. This is to make two defenders think about which one should guard you. If a defender is in a direct line between you and the basket-MOVE. Basically, put players where the defense isnt.
Try to get some GAP PENETRATION. Dribble into a gap, dish to the basket or kick out to a shooter but look to pass to where the defender comes from. Only dribble to improve a passing angle into the post. The second time a player touches the ball on a possession is a good time to look for this type of penetration. Move the ball and move players to DISTORT THE ZONE. Dribble drag a defender, drive a gap, improve passing angles,screen, skip, swing, cut, flash, or overload to shift the zone. FREEZE THE ZONE by taking 1 or 2 dribbles AT a defender-pass or kick it to the perimeter
After the zone has shifted-use pass fakes & shot fakes.
Remember the 3 Ds-Drive, Draw, Dish. Inside players should look to SEAL THE ZONE. After the zone has shifted the posts can seal high or low IF the defense is INSIDE the offense.
Reseal the next man in the zone after the defender BREAKS the seal. MAKE THE ZONE RUN via the PASS, move the ball quickly-dont hold it any longer than a ball fake, seal, skip, and swing. Show some PATIENCE AGAINST THE ZONE. Move the ball, move players, look for cutters, check all options-in order. Take the high percentage shots that you want to take WHEN you want to take them. However, the best way to combat a zone defense may be to. BEAT THE ZONE UP THE FLOOR.
Defensive rebound & run your fast break BEFORE the zone can set up.
These zone principles should provide a good foundation for any zone offensive attack that you might run.

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