5 on 5 Attack

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series 5 player Combinations

5 on 5 attack

We want our teams to play aggressively.  We want them to look to attack gaps in the defense.  We want them to get in the lane.  We want to them to draw help defenders.  We want them to get fouled.  We want them to take shots in and around the lane.

However, we want them to do this intelligently.  We want them to take good shots. We don’t want them getting in the lane and just throwing it up and hoping it goes in. We want them making effective straight line attacks.  We want them making good decisions and good passes when defense helps.  We want them to take advantage of situations.  We never want to pass up on a good situation to put the defense at a disadvantage.

We also want to put an emphasis on defending the ball.  We want to teach how to help, when to help, and when not to help.  We want to teach rotations and recoveries.  Here’s a drill that you might find useful to teach all these different things.

I would recommend running this drill 2 on 2 or 3 on 3 and build it up to 5 on 5.  This drill is best run with everyone on the perimeter.  It could be run with permanent post players though I think this is less than optimal.  The defense in these diagrams is based on helping on the ball from 1 pass away.  If your help defense concepts state that you don’t help 1 pass away, then the defense would look different, which would in turn make the offense look different.  It doesn’t matter what you teach, the drill will still challenge your players on both sides of the ball.

Here’s how it works.  The player with the ball only has two options.  They can shoot or attack.  If the first ball handler has an open shot, then your defense isn’t very good.  The only option that the first player should have is to attack.  The defense knows they are going to attack.  The question is can they make a good enough 1 on 1 move to get into the lane or make the defense help.  If the ball handler can score off the dribble, they should, but let’s assume for a second that your defense is good enough to stop the first drive. The other offensive players should be following their circle movement rules.  If the defense can stop the drive without help. They win the possession.  But again for the sake of argument, let’s assume that a defender helps.  The ball handler would kick out to the open player.  This player has a choice, shoot or drive.  That’s it.  If they don’t shoot then the first ball handler and their defender are off the court and the drill continues until it’s 1 on 1. Can you get a stop for your team when you’re on an island and tired?

If at any point a player shoots, it turns into a rebounding drill with the players that are on the court.  You can score the drill in a few different ways.  You can count the times the offense gets two feet in the lane.  You can count how many times they score.  You can count how many offensive rebounds they get.  You can count defensive stops.  You can count steals, defensive rebounds, good close-outs, good rotations, times that help was not necessary, and any number of other things.

If you want to challenge the defense more, you could have all of the defensive players on the baseline.  You can throw the ball to a random player which forces them to identify their proper defensive positions on the fly, closeout and defend.  Remember offensive players without the ball will need to execute circle movement, as well as the baseline drive adjustment and post slides.

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Send me your comments, questions, thoughts….

Don’t You Need Good 1 on 1 Players?

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series FAQs

As with most offenses, I think it helps to have good 1 on 1 players, but I don’t think it is necessary with this style of offense. I know I talk a lot about attacking off the dribble. I do this for two different reasons.  The first reason is from a teaching perspective. The second reason is from an emphasis perspective. I believe teaching basketball in a progressive manner begins with what players do with the ball and how you guard the ball.  A lot of our offensive and defensive teaching is based around dribble penetration.  We want to be able to attack off the dribble as well as stop dribble penetration.  Since we want it to be a big part of our offense, we emphasize it a lot as well.  As a result, the blog probably makes things sound like you can’t run this offense unless you have good 1 on 1 players.  That’s not true at all.  I would run it with any team and any collection of players, because I believe it can be easily adjusted to maximize the talents of whatever players you have.  I believe that your personnel may change what you emphasize but not what you teach.

Let me explain.  I believe it’s always important to be able to attack defenses off the dribble.  Defenses who can guard the ball without help have a greater chance at being successful. They are less prone to fouls.  They can worry more about defending screens and cutters and less about helping and rotating to stop dribble penetration. Good offensive teams are be able to create pressure on defenses by use of dribble penetration.

While I think it’s important to teach the skills and concepts surrounding dribble penetration first, I don’t believe it’s something that every team should emphasize.  I think it’s important to emphasize taking advantage when these opportunities exist, but you may emphasize different ways of creating those opportunities. There a number of ways that offensive teams can create dribble penetration opportunities.  Your team will determine what you emphasize.

  1. Making a 1 on 1 move
  2. The Draft Drive
  3. Creating long or difficult closeouts
  4. Ball Screens/Dribble Handoffs
  5. Creating mismatches that make 1 on 1 easier

Let’s say your team isn’t athletic enough or skilled enough to create off the dribble.  You probably can’t change their athleticism much, but you can improve their skill.  I would say that  skills limit players’ abilities more often than their athleticism.  However, teaching skills does take time, and so let’s assume that creating off the dribble is not something you want to emphasize with your team.

The Draft Drive is a great way to help players attack off the dribble who might not be great 1 on 1 players.  The Draft Drive creates a larger driving lane.  The 1 on 1 move doesn’t have to be as sharp or as precise.  Moreover, ball handlers should know that they will always have receivers available if they can’t score.  This larger driving lane and the confidence that their teammates will be available may give some players the confidence they need to be aggressive when they would normally be passive.  This is still a bit of a 1 on 1 situation, so let’s pretend this doesn’t work well for you either.

In order to guard a player 1 on 1, a defender must be able to go from off the ball to on the ball without getting beat.  Many players can guard the ball once they are guarding the ball.  They just have trouble on the closeout.  If your players aren’t great 1 on 1 players, then creating long or difficult closeouts for the other team can put them in situations where attacking off the dribble is much easier because the defense is at a disadvantage.  The constant movement of the offense towards the rim tends to keep defenses from extending.  They tend to gravitate to the paint.  This can create long closeouts or can delay defenders in getting to the ball through the use of a variety of screening actions, which is upcoming in the blog.

There are a number of off ball screening actions, but the Pick and Roll or On Ball Screen is also a tool in the toolbox.  Ball screens can be incorporated in a variety of ways.  It’s really up to you based on your philosophy and your personnel. Dribble Handoffs can also be used as a way to get ball handlers going towards the rim off the dribble. Both of these can create opportunities for dribble penetration

Screening actions may generate mismatches as a result of teams switching.  If your team’s best guard can’t take the other team’s post player 1 on 1 and at least draw some sort of help side defense, then you are probably in for a long night.

I like to look at it like this. In order to be a decent perimeter offensive player, you have to be able to either dribble or shoot.  If you can’t do either one, then you become pretty easy to guard.  If you can do one of the two, then defenses have to at least respect one of the two skills which should help you be more effective at the other one.

4 offensive players (Attack Dribble, Dribble-At, Attack Dribble)

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series 4 player Combinations

4 offensive players (Attack Dribble, Dribble-At, Attack Dribble)

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If the initial attacker were to reverse pivot and pitch it back to the safety, these diagrams could look much different.  I have added those to the to draw list.

Attack Dribble: Post Slides Implementation Plan (Part)

This entry is part 17 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

A.  2 players 1 action

In this building block, players will already be located in the post area. This building block should not be limited to post players.  Perimeter players should see this as an opportunity to work on their midrange game as well as finishing moves. Players will probably pick up on this action quickly in this breakdown.  It is in the combination of the layers where players need extra repetition.  However, they must understand the basic movement before they are ready for the combination of movements.

There are a couple combinations that coaches may decide not to drill and replace with  different actions.  One action is if a player is in the high post and the ball handler decides to attack in the direction of the high post player.  Following post slides, this player would move towards the short corner.  However, the coach may decide to have this player Circle Move, use the high post player as a pick and roll opportunity, or make this a Dribble-At action, all of which will be described later.  If any of these are the coach’s desired approach, they will be covered in an upcoming section and should not be drilled at this time. Coaches could teach that this would be a poor time to drive and discourage it from occurring completely.

B. 2 offensive players 2 actions

Locate 2 players on the perimeter in any two spots.  The attacker executes any attacking action.  After they pass, the receiver now becomes the attacker and must execute another attacking action.  The cutter must react appropriately to this action in order to satisfy post slides.

                              

 

C. 2 offensive players 1 defender 1 action

This building block can be used in a way similar to the Circle Movement building block. Coaches may want to use it to train the ball handler on how to deliver the pass.

However, when it comes to defending post slides specifically, coaches may decide this is something to skip and avoid all together. I would have to think carefully before I used this drill to train defense. I know that if we have to help with our post players in the lane, we’re really in trouble. We never want it to get to that point. Should we train it anyway?  In a situation where time is limited, I would choose to skip this block and work on keeping the ball out of the lane.

C. 2 offensive players 2 defender 1 action

If we aren’t going to spend much time with 1 defender, I’m not inclined to spend time with 2.  Next….

D. 3 offensive players 2 or 3 actions

The next logical offensive progression is to add another offensive player to the court.  The drill runs exactly the same as the last drill with each player following the rules that have been drilled previously.  This now gives the second attacker an option after they make their attack. A third action can be added in this drill as well, but in this case the second attacker should pass to the perimeter player instead of the player who executed the post slide. This should create a scenario for two players to react to an attack dribble from the post.

E.  3 offensive players 1, 2 or 3 defenders

Again, if coaches want to take this opportunity to go back to the Attack Dribble Building Blocks and work on any of the offensive or defensive parts of this layer, that is fine. However, I haven’t found much value yet in drilling defensive reactions to a post reacting to the dribble.

F.  4 offensive players 2 actions

This is getting pretty boring.  All of these breakdowns start with Circle Movement building blocks. It’s all the same stuff.  Do I really need to go on? At this point, players have been taught how to react to dribble penetration anywhere on the court. It’s only a matter of it becoming habitual.

As much as I love it when our players attack the basket, I’m getting tired of talking about it. We’re so close to doing some pretty cool stuff.  Maybe I’ll come back to this at some point but for now, I think you all get it by now and I want to take this in another direction.

If you want more about basic post slides let me know.

Attack Dribble: Post Slides Implementation Plan (Whole I)

This entry is part 16 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

A.  5 players 2 actions

Locate 5 players in the 5 perimeter spots.  Even if you do not plan to use a 5 out alignment, it is important to use this alignment to show the action.  This introductory drill will include two actions, both of which will be dribble penetrations.  Have the player with the ball execute an Attack action.  The player should pass to a perimeter reactor.

Once the perimeter player receives the pass, they should drive while the cutter is still in the lane area. Notice that this action could result in two players in the lane and the need for two post slides. It all depends on the timing of the drive and where the cutters are in the middle of their drive.

This can be executed in slow motion for the purposes of the demonstration.  This will be drilled in game speed to work on the finer details of the action. Players should be shown the differences of the ball handler driving left or right and how the cutter should react.  The connection between the Baseline Drive Adjustment and Post Slide should also be established to show how the two layers complement each other if the ball handler drives baseline.  On the penetration, all the perimeter players should react appropriately just as has been drilled previously.

There may be times where players “run into each other” during a slide or a rotation.  It’s tough to always avoid this completely.  This doesn’t occur often and if it does, the poor spacing is only momentary.

3 out 2 in 1 action

This building block is only necessary if a 3 out 2 in alignment is part of your offensive plan.  Locate 3 players in perimeter spots and 2 players in the post.  The guards should be in the top and wing spots while the posts can be in either the high or low post on either side.  Demonstrate where the post players should go depending on their location and the direction of the penetration relative to them.  Remember in this alignment, post slides will need to be executed by two different players.

4 out 1 in 1 or 2 actions

This building block is only necessary if a 4 out 1 in alignment is part of your offensive plan.  Locate 4 players in perimeter spots with a player in the post.  The perimeter players can be located in any of the perimeter spots while the post player can be located in anywhere in the post. Coaches can show 1 Attack Dribble action so that the post can react.  A second action can be added to this drill in order to show how guards should react if the receiver decides to penetrate immediately after receiving the pass.


Attack Dribble: Baseline Drive Adjustment (Whole)

This entry is part 13 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

A. 5 players 1 action (5 out whole)

These building blocks now can incorporate any drive in any direction.  Coaches should use the same tests that they used in the Circle Movement whole block to test the combination of the two together.

Post Slides are coming up.  You will be able to include them shortly.

B. 4 players 1 action (4 out whole minus the post)

This is the whole drill (minus the post player) for a 4 out alignment. Of course any drive from the corner would follow the same rules as a 5 out alignment.  Assuming the spots were filled in order from the corner, the person at the opposite top spot would be responsible for filling the natural pitch window.

The scenario above is the most likely situation where a Baseline drive could occur from the corner spot.  The Passing Layers will discuss options for players who are more than 1 pass away in a 4 out alignment.  They are not required to fill the next closest spot.  This would be an option for the 3 player at the Top Left spot in the diagram. This player could be located on the wing or in the opposite corner. The player in the Top Right spot could be in other spots as well. Not only would this force the defense to defend the whole width of the court, but it also makes this movement to the natural pitch position much simpler for the 3. There are advantages however to filling all of the spots, and taking away some of the help side coverage.  It is up to the coach to encourage the alignments and configurations that best fit their team.

Regardless of the initial locations of the players, the players should be located in the appropriate windows when the ball handler drives baseline.


Attack Dribble: Baseline Drive Adjustment (Part)

This entry is part 12 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

A. 2 offensive players 1 action

Attack Dribble Baseline Drive building blocks are the same as the Circle Movement building blocks except the only way to drill the Baseline Drive Adjustment is to drive baseline. Since the attacker only has one option for attack, the main purpose of this building block is to drill the fundamental skills of the drill. The true reactions will be drilled when the Attack Dribble Layer is tested as a whole.

A dummy help side defender should be added early in the learning process so players can practice avoiding charges as well as learning the amount of time they have to make a decision when they drive baseline.

Building this sub-layer piece by piece is very difficult, because in order for players to fill the windows, it is critical for them to know where other players are located. With only 2 or 3 players on the court, the number of combinations for the location of other players is too varied to really be able to drill a habit.  For Circle Movement, players rotate in one direction regardless of the location of other players.  For the Baseline Drive Adjustment, their movements are completely dictated by the position of the other players.

In order to really teach players the Baseline Drive Adjustment, coaches should use 4 or 5 player Attack Dribble building blocks that were discussed in the Circle Movement breakdown and give players the freedom to attack in any direction.  This allows players to either rotate on a non-baseline drive and fill windows based on the location of all of their teammates.