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How to teach and coach the old-time Indiana weave basketball half-court offense

If you want to create a lot of player movement in your team's basketball offense, you should consider a weave offense. Old time coaches Everett Dean and Branch McCracken used an offense similar to this back in the 30's, 40's, and 50's. This offense is still widely used today, but more adapted to the 3-point shot.

Coach Woody WeirThere are many more options than I show here; however, the basic Indiana controlled free-lance patterned offense consisted of the following three fundamental plays. If it doesn't result in a high percentage shot on one side of the floor, you run the same #453 on the other side. I first saw it being used by Coach Woody Weir in 1938.

"Woody Weir played 3 years for Hall of Fame Everett Dean made his name in coaching, winning 12 sectionals, 6 regional and 2 semi-state championships in 18-year high school coaching career first at Jasper where '38 team was 23-5 and at Marion where he put 2 teams into state finals. Coach Weir, widely known for his strong desire to win and his excitable nature, once was seat-belted down in a futile attempt to control his sideline antics." (Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame)

Play 453 Indiana Weave - Diagram 1Play #453 Old Indiana figure-8 - First Option

This offense has a good continuity of movement and strong fundamentally. It does require certain material, a husky center and two small fast forwards at 3 and 4 position. The size of the other players is unimportant.

The size of the center is important to assist the others in picking-off their defenders. The center takes a position six feet off the end-line and halfway between the sideline and goal. The forwards line up near the sidelines, free-throw line extended. Power forward 4 drifts into the pick-off block initiated by the center 5. The defenders can not switch on this play because of the defensive mismatch. If they do switch, take advantage of that situation.

If open, 4 takes a lead pass under the basket for a lay-up. If not he continues across the court and sets up a high post position.

Play 453 Indiana Weave - Diagram 2Play #453 Old Indiana figure-8 - Second Option

Player 3 fakes a pass back out to teammate 1 but hits 4 as he reaches the high post position and blocks 2's defender as 2 cuts off both 3 and 4 looking for a pass from 4. 4 has three options, a pass to 2 cutting for the basket, 3 at the free-throw line, or 5 who cuts up to near the wing position.

Keep in mind you are looking for high percentage scoring opportunities all along the way. This is a controlled free-lance offense designed to take advantage of defensive mistakes.

The guards drive through looking for scoring opportunities. Never lose sight that this is a controlled free-lance offense, but you are always looking for high percentage scoring opportunities.

Play 453 Indiana Weave - Diagram 3Play #453 Old Indiana figure-8 - Third Option

Here player 3 did not have an uncontested shot or open drive to the basket and executes the pick-and-roll with a hand-off to the big guy cutting around 3's screen for a one-bounce dribble to the basket.


If switch occurs 5 kicks the ball outside to an open teammate for a three-point shot attempt and continues on to post-up on the opposite side of the court.

Play 453 Indiana Weave - Diagram 4Play #453 Old Indiana figure-8 - Ready to run on right side of floor

Practice and install this offense giving special attention to the individual options then to the whole movement. Establish the right tempo because it is easy for players to go too fast, loosing sight of scoring possibilities. Coordinate the basic plays with the movement. Once the movement and proper tempo is attained, practice against aggressive defenses.

 Full explanation and drills for these 3 basic plays can be found by clicking on either the following links:

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