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How to coach and teach two-man basketball plays using screens - Part 2

Coaching Basketball Plays Using Screens

Just a word about setting screens before we start: Don’t be a telephone pole. Make yourself big. Too many players stand erect with their hands over their nuts. This is wrong. The proper way to set a screen is to get down in a defensive stance. Let the referee see your hands. This makes you big and takes up more space. That said, let’s get down to business.

You can set a screen as close as desired, as long as the screener is in the normal field of vision of the player being screened. When out of his field of vision, the screener must allow enough space for a normal step. This will vary among referees; therefore, players must adjust. These screens are called:

  1. Outside Screen – Whenever the defender is playing his man loosely, the screen should be outside the defender, that is, between the defender and the man he is guarding.
  2. Inside Screen – When the defender is close to the offensive player being screened for, the screener should be inside the defender and closer to the basket.
  3. Lateral Screen - Whenever the defender is guarding an offensive player in a way that lateral (side) screening might open that offensive player for a shot, drive, or cut, to the basket, the screener stops on either side of his teammate’s defender. The advantage to the lateral screen is that it comes within the field of vision of the defender; hence, it can be set with the wide base mentioned previously.
  4. Back Screen – When an offensive player moves behind a stationary teammate who has the ball, or dribbles behind a teammate, a back screen is being set. Both defensive players will be inside and closer to the basket than the offensive players.
  5. Rear Screen – When a wing or pivot player moves behind a defender from a position out of the visual field of that defender, he sets a rear screen. It is an inside screen that is set by a player moving from a close-in-to-the basket position to the rear of the opponent. An excellent rear-screen maneuver is to have the pivot player break from his post position toward the ball handler, who passes to him. The pass is usually high enough that the pivot man must jump and catch the ball in the air. He must be well in front of his defender as he moves to the ball from directly behind the passer’s defender. As the pivot player makes contact with the floor, he pivots toward the basket, holding the ball high over his head. The passer immediately cuts of the pivot player, to either side, running his defender into the pivot player’s rear screen. The pivot passes to the cutter if no switch is made; however, if a switch is made, he dribbles in for an easy lay-up, himself.
  6. Double Screen – A double screen is set when two offensive players stop in a shoulder-to-shoulder position, parallel to, perpendicular to, or oblique to the end line, anywhere within shooting distance of the basketball goal. Many set offensive patterns use this maneuver to obtain good shots or cutting opportunities.

The Offensive Roll

This is a pivoting maneuver used by a screener after screening for a teammate after that teammate cuts off the screen. To do this, the screener pivots on the left foot, taking a long step toward the basket with the right foot when the cutter goes to the screener’s right. If the cutter goes to the screener’s left side, the screener should pivot on his right foot, taking the long step toward the basket with his left foot.

The Principles of Screening

The position of the defender guarding the teammate being screened for dictates the type of screen to be used.

The outside basketball screen diagramedDiagram 10 - Outside Screen - Player 1 passes to teammate 2 and since 2's defender has dropped back, playing 2 loosely, player 1 screens outside defender 2 between him and teammate 2.
Inside basketball handoff diagramedDiagram 11 - Outside Handoff - Offensive player 1 passes to 2 and cuts behind him and receives a handoff pass on the outside. Player 1 can either take a shot from outside or dribble drive to the basket.
Cutting off the basketball diagramedDiagram 12 - Cutting off the ball - Offensive player 2 dribbles directly in line between teammate 2's defender and the basket. Player 1 maneuvers his man into teammate 2, cutting close to 2 toward the basket, receiving a return pass if open.
passing the basketball to the screener diagramedDiagram 13 - Passing to the screener - Offensive player 1 passes to 2 and screens 2's defender inside. Teammate 2 dribbles off this screen to his right in direction of the screen. Offensive player 1's defender switches to 2 as 2 dribble drives to the basket. At the switch offensive player 1 rolls to the basket taking 2's immediate pass. It is vastly important the ball be passed as the switch is made, since that is when the opening is widest and both defenders are usually focused on the driver.
the basketball screen away diagramedDiagram 14 - Screening away - The coach is at the head of the key with the ball. Offensive player 5 sets an inside screen for teammate 2 who cuts shoulder to shoulder off 5's screen. If there is no switch, 2 will be free underneath the basket. If defender 5 switches, offensive player 2 should cut straight across the foul lane and teammate 5 should immediately roll to the basket. In that case, the coach would pass to 5 on the offensive roll. (This is another drill you can use to help players to understand how to read the defense.)
Taking advantage of a basketball switch diagramDiagram 15 - Taking advantage of a switch - Teammate 5, the center, sets a lateral screen for teammate 2 who dribbles off this screen. Defender 5 switches to pick up 2 and offensive player 5 rolls to the basket. He now has the smaller defender guarding him. He assumes a pivot position to take advantage of the mismatch anticipating a pass from teammate 2. The option here would be to allow 2 to go one on one with a bigger and slower defender while 5 draws defender 2 away from the basket.
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