Pass, Cut, & Fill: Multiple Actions

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Passing Actions

Many players will think that when they “get this layer” that they have mastered the offense. Well, they might have mastered “running” one layer, and I would agree with that statement. They are running one part of offense, but they aren’t running offense, and they certainly aren’t executing offense yet. When we start combining this layer with other layers, we can start talking about running offense. Then when we add defense to it and we start to take advantage of defensive breakdowns, we can talk about executing offense. We’re getting close, but we’re not quite there.

5 offensive players 2 or more actions
We will start with the whole part again. Place 5 players on the floor in 5 out spots. The ball can start anywhere. The players pass, cut, and fill ad naseum. This will drill the continuity of this layer. This will look like traditional offense. Coaches can control the tempo of the passing to create a variety of filling scenarios. If players pass slowly, the person who cuts from the corner will have to fill the spot they just vacated. If the passing occurs more quickly, there will be multiple cutters at any one time which will leave more than one vacant spot.

3 offensive players 2 or more actions
It’s tough to run multiple perimeter passing actions with only 2 players. Therefore, we start the breakdown with 3 players. While this is a breakdown, it is also the “whole” for the perimeter portion of a 3 out 2 in attack. This building block is pretty straight forward. Players pass, cut and fill until the coach says stop. Keep in mind that there are always at least 2 open spots in this building block. Players can certainly fill any of the open spots as long as the spots one pass away from the ball are filled.

3 offensive players 1 defensive player 2 or more actions
What better way to teach positional defense than to put offensive players on the floor and have them move along with the ball while one player guards one of the offensive players. This isolates one defender. It keeps them from hiding. Whatever your defensive concepts and philosophies are, this will test that player’s ability to always be in the right position relative to their player and the ball.

The offensive player with the ball can be given the freedom to score when they receive the ball. Perimeter passers can be given the freedom to pass to the player with the ball when they cut. Perimeter players may be told to shoot after a certain number of passes in order to turn this into a rebounding drill.

It is up to the coach to determine these parameters. Keep in mind that if at any point you give the freedom to the ball handler to attack, the other players MUST be required to react correctly. This is on the edge of combining layers. I thought about holding out on this one, but as long as the building block ends after the attack is complete, I think things will work out ok.

3 offensive players 2 defensive players 2 or more actions
Now two defenders are working together. This is very similar to the previous building block.

Again, the coach can add a variety of different parameters to this building block. With the addition of a second defender, I would be cautious in giving players too much freedom. This can quickly turn into 2 on 2 with an extra offensive player. If you’re working on drilling the pass, cut, and fill layer then I would hold off. If you want to start combining layers, can you wait just a little bit longer?

3 offensive players 3 defensive players 2 or more actions
You knew it was coming. This is powerful building block. It may be the most useful tool for teaching defense. As we combine layers and as next best actions are added, this becomes one of the most useful building blocks in teaching all parts of the game. There are so many different offensive and defensive concepts that can be taught from this configuration. I’m really trying to contain the excitement.

4 offensive players 2 or more actions
The coach must decide whether this building block is run from the 5 out spots or the 4 out spots. Both can be productive depending on the alignments the team plans to use. While this is a breakdown, it is also the “whole” perimeter part for a 4 out 1 in alignment. This is the first real opportunity for coaches to emphasize “waiting to fill.” This concept of “waiting to fill” is the first step in creating other opportunities in the offense. Keep in mind, this “patience” is not a requirement to execute offense. It is up to the coach to determine how much this concept is emphasized. However, it can be very valuable in setting up a variety of other actions.

4 offensive players 1 defensive player 2 or more actions
We did it 3 on 1, we might as well make the picture a little bigger and work 4 on 1. Does the extra offensive player make much of a difference? Maybe not. But maybe we did 3 on 1 yesterday. Maybe for a little variety, for a way to advance the drill, for a way to show your players that they are progressing, we add another offensive player. The concepts that are being taught are the same. The difference is a small change in how things look.

4 offensive players 2 defensive players 2 or more actions
This just allows us to drill more than one player at a time. Do you have two players that struggle staying in proper position? Throw them in this building block and let them learn how to remain in position at all times. Put this one in your back pocket. It’s going to come in handy when we start combining layers.

4 offensive players 3 defensive players 2 or more actions
We’re still building, one player at a time.  We are drilling those defensive positioning fundamentals.  We are drilling cutting fundamentals.  There are some fun things right around the corner when we combine layers.

4 offensive players 4 defensive players 2 or more actions
This should remind you of the “traditional” shell drill.  We’ve building the shell one player at a time.  Maybe you don’t need to build the shell.  If you’re having to worry about more than a couple of players performing incorrectly, a breakdown might help focus on those individuals.

Do I really need to go through the 5 player combinations?  I think you get the idea.

So now I’m at a crossroads.  Should I go cover Skip Pass or Read Line before we combine actions?  Or should we combine actions and then cover Skip Pass and Read Line?  Sounds like a poll to me.  VOTE NOW!

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