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How to install an Indiana high school type basketball offense

There are many types of basketball offenses being used successfully throughout America. To say that one is better than another would be a false statement; however, history tells us that Indiana high school basketball players in the 30's and 40's were highly recruited by colleges throughout the nation. The system of coaching you use depends upon your material; however, here is the Indiana style.

Most old-time high school coaches in Indian taught a style of very aggressive play, both offensively and defensively. Generally, their basic pattern was built on the pivot style of play. In my lifetime I have never seen a Indiana high school basketball championship won by a team without a good pivot player. There are three types of pivot players:

  1. The big and strong pivot player who sets up at the low post and battles to hold that position.
  2. The tall skinny agile player able to maneuver into good position.
  3. The small, quick and clever pivot player who sets up at the high post using his quickness and brains to free himself from a defender.

Even today, most Indiana high school teams do not have set plays or give signals for a certain maneuver. Instead, they have a number of options. For example, a perimeter player might pass into the pivot and cut off him, or pass and screen for a teammate, or work alone for his shot. Most of the teams operate on the theory that the defense calls the play; therefore, they try to have a series of options to counter defensive moves. They work on these options every day in drills.

one-on-one basketball drillOne-on-one

In this drill the offensive player takes the ball at the top of the free throw circle. The defensive player must guard him closely to prevent him from shooting outside. Also, the defender must be alert to fakes, keeping his ground, and not allowing the offensive player to drive by him for an easy shot. This is an excellent drill to teach both offense and defense by having players switch positions after every shot. It should be worked from different positions on the court.

two-on-one basketball drillTwo-on-one

The second step is to add a pivot player to the mix to be used as a feeder. He has no defender; therefore, it's two against one. The pivot player never shoots, but is taught how to receive, screen, and feed.

The offensive player uses different passes getting the ball into the pivot, using fakes and change of direction. He may shoot over his defender, or fake and drive by him. He passes into the pivot, then cuts to take a return pass. All the offensive and defensive fundamentals can be used with this drill.

two-on-two basketball drillTwo-on-two

Next, two defenders oppose two offensive players. This develops two man maneuvering and defense against them. Use this drill with two guards out in front or a guard and forward on either side. The offensive players work for a good shot by passing, dribbling, faking, screening, and cutting. The defenders use their skills to intercept, tie-up, or prevent good shots. They must make and call-out switches on any screens.

three-on-two basketball drillThree-on-two

Now, we add a pivot player where the two offensive players go against two defenders. The idea is to teach the pivot player to move into position to receive passes, catching, and develop his ability to pass accurately to a cutting teammate.

This brings in the two-man options:

  • passing to each other
  • passing to the pivot and cutting
  • passing to the pivot and screening
  • faking and passing
  • faking and dribbling
  • faking and keeping

The defensive players perfect skills in intercepting passes, going behind or in front of screens, tie up the ball, and prevent his opponent from getting a good shot. Start the play from the guard position.

four-on-three basketball drillFour-on-three

This next drill is where you work four offensive players against three defenders. The pivot player may feed but cannot shoot. One of the two players at the guard positions puts the ball in play.

If the ball goes from guard to forward, the other guard stays out of the play until the other two players have a chance to maneuver and run their two-player options, then he moves into position for a play option.

five-on-five basketball drillFive-on-five

This final drill brings five offensive players together, working against five defenders. Both offensive and defensive fundamentals are stressed.

The basic principles of the offense are the options involving a guard, wing, and pivot, with the weak-side wing player cutting into the free throw area.

The player who passes to the pivot, makes the first move. For example, if a guard passes into the pivot, he can screen either for the other guard, or wing-player on his side of the floor.

If a wing player passes into the pivot, he makes the first cut off the pivot, and the guard on his side of the floor cuts off him.

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