Implementing an offence can help your team with its structure, balance, performance and results. By offence, I mean an offensive structure or set play that is used to get players open for good shots.
There are many offences in the world of basketball, though several seem to have been in the game forever and have certainly stood the test of time.
I will discuss some of the standard offensive plays. If some of these patterns are learned they will provide a good basis for a team offence. I will devote more detail to what has become known as the Melbourne Tigers Shuffle but also include other well-known methods that have brought success to many teams over many years.
Coaches should be encouraged to develop their own philosophy within the context of a thorough understanding of the game. While the following examples of standard offences have been tried and tested over the years, you can adjust them to suit your players and your philosophy so your chances of success will be improved.
The development of an offence takes time and requires considerable patience. There are no short cuts to success. The first step is to select a style of play that will suit the team and your own philosophy. The whole picture of the offence should be clear to the coach and he should make sure the players understand it. Once this is established the offence should be broken down into its parts that can be drilled. Two-man drills
and three-man drills are used to develop the elements of the offence and then advance to four-on-four and five-on-five.
The structure of some offences may be quite complicated so coaches should be cautious about trying to include too much. It is preferable to include fewer elements and execute them well rather than try to include too much and execute them poorly. It is not advisable to change the offence constantly for this may create doubt or confusion in the players’ minds, but it is also undesirable to be too rigid to allow modifications to be used. The coach should be prepared to move with the times and make adjustments as the players’ skills improve and athletic abilities increase.
There are a number of drills that are applicable to almost every offence. Apart from individual fundamental skills, one-on-one moves and rebounding, the give and go is the most basic of all two-on-two situations and is inevitably a part of every offensive structure. One player passes to a team-mate and checks to see how the defence reacts. If the defender turns his head and loses vision on the passer momentarily, or maintains poor stance, then he can be beaten with a change of direction and pace with a cut to the basket. A complete offence can be built on the give and go principle with good spacing of the players around the court, good passing and cutting. It will of course need to include individual one-on-one options that allow the player with the ball to drive to the basket when the defenders give too much attention to the cutters.
Perhaps the oldest method of team offence is what is now known as a motion offence, but was once known as a give and go offence. In simple terms this means that after each pass the passer should normally make a jab step away from his defender followed by a quick change of direction and hard cut to the basket. If the cutter is open for a return pass it will usually lead to a shot close to the basket. If the first cutter is not open for a return pass the receiver will pass to another team-mate and make a similar fake and cut to the basket. With this style of play it is important that if the cutter does not receive the return pass, he should continue his cut and clear away from the keyway, leaving the area vacant for the next cutter.
When a team is using a give and go offence it is common for the defenders of players without the ball to sag toward the keyway with the intention of blocking the cutting lanes. When the offence recognises this tactic, the players should be able to create opportunities for perimeter or short-range jump shots. The success of the offence will depend on the players recognising what the defence is doing and making good decisions on passing to open cutters, to players free for perimeter shots, or making strong one-on-one drives.