basketball plays

basketball plays is one of the major important roles which every basketball coach should really consider thoroughly alongside selection and implementation of the processes involved

on recreation tipsy, Is obvious that every coach wants to see their players perfection. Nothing feels better than a coach seeing their players move up unto a game and perfectly execute everything they have been taught to score and win the game.

A team’s winning or losing factors can most often be attributed to the team’s ability to call the right play at the right time in a basketball game and could easily spell the difference between two teams. 

Table of Contents

How to select the best basketball plays for your team:

I am going to list the major 4 different queries that every basketball Coach or Players necessarily needs to ask themselves in order to choose the sort of play they will select.

What’s your base offense? –When you use plays that starts in a similar formation with your base offense, your opposition will never understand what you are about to run in the basketball floor.

Who are the best players on your team? – Most often coaches make a selection that sets their greatest players in an advantage position that will enable them to score in crucial games. Let’s assuming you now have a well-balanced and skilled point guard, you need to choose a play which positions them in a pick-and-roll position at the very top of the key which can be clearly seen to surround the shooters.

What’s the skill level of your players? – Often we need to determine the type of basketball offensive plays which are most effective for the players through considerations based on their age and levels of the players and it is very important. We all know how tedious it will be to use the three-point play for players who are under 10 years in a team. There will be no excuses for their failure which won’t be attributed to the coach.

What shots do the basketball plays result in? – Any play you will implement or introduce to your team should allow every player an opportunity to score goals for the players at different areas of the court and it is very important. You won’t want to choose any play which can result in any of your shooting guard getting a screen on the right wing. Now is the time for you to come up with a particular decision. Try as much as you can to mix your basketball inbound plays up and make sure to have plays that results in an open outside shots and the one’s that makes it easy for the players to get the basketball inside.

When to run basketball plays:

At the end of close games –I have never seen a great freedom and opportunity to run most effective basketball set play than when you could notice that your team is desperately trying to score in the basket in the dying minutes of a game. That is the better time to call out a particular play and watch the players perfectly execute the play as instructed.

Any out-of-bounds opportunity – Out of bounds creates opportunities which allow your team to bunch up and quickly make a decision on a play they will run fast. At this stage the players will not have to call out any play to avoid alerting opposition team on the play they are about starting. The players can as well look up to the coach for instructions based on which youth basketball plays they have to run

Out of a timeout – The one will call timeout is again another good opportunity that can be used to set up plays as we want. A lot of times, we often see great basketball coaches who will save their timeouts to execute it at the end-of-game situations in order to set something up greatly and huddle with their team.

To ‘heat up’ one of your players –We all as well know that another use of simple basketball play is to “heat up” a player in your team. It is solely beneficial when a player is getting hard to play in the rhythm of the game. It plays a role in detecting the role of your star player. The ‘heat up’ role helps the player to see the ball go through basketball net as well as help them get great shot. This way the players build great confidence in the game.

General basketball plays tips:

Teach your players what options to look for –There are too many scoring opportunities throughout a play listed below in this basic basketball plays. As a coach you will need to ensure you are nicely directing your players into the best scoring opportunities which will likely create good opening for the players and allow them search for this opportunity.

Don’t give away your next action – While they players are facing in the same direction, they should not begin a play which will run and set a screen. Should this happen, the defenders will have advantage because they already know what is about to happen. Layers will solely need to be unpredictable on this one.

Start all of your basketball plays out of the same formation – This idea is not mandatory though a lot of the coaches are very interested in this idea. Generating plays that begins in different positions will make your opponents learn the frequent play you are about to set up. Should your team begin all plays based one formation or position (let us say in a ‘box’), it will be hard for defenders to detect when or what you are going to set up in general.

Use a maximum of 3 – 4 plays for youth teams – On this one, you will need to select the basketball plays for which you will implement and execute greatly with a wise decision made. Should this play exceed 3-4 plays, you will likely be using up lots of the practice time. When you do not have much season training time, it is advisable to make use of less than 3 or 4 plays. But if your team does not have a training time at all, you may consider not using this plays.

Save basketball plays for when you need them – Memorizing a few of extra plays and as well saving the plays for vital moments of a particular game is what I highly recommend. Take for instance: it is a good idea to have a quick-hitter three-point play up your sleeve at the closing stages of a game, when your team reduces by 2..

Practice drawing up plays at practice – Try to make a diagram a play you want on the clipboard and then go a step onto the court to carry it out; it is a great skill for your players to watch this happen. You may likely be considerate on taking a little time out from each training to be sure your team will do this perfectly. Practice the basketball plays against live defense – So many times I see some coaches who get frustrated at their team running the plays perfectly 5 on 0 at training while they look like they have not ever heard of such plays during games. This training must be done against real defenders should you want the plays to be very effective in a real basketball situations.

Without further wasting your time, we are going to take a look at the basketball plays.

We are going to include an overview of each of these play, setup, instructions, coaching points, and key personnel.

I’ve made the navigation of this blog post easier by splitting it up into four different sections (click a link to be taken directly to that section of the post):

  • 2-3 Zone Basketball Plays
  • BLOB Man-to-Man Basketball Plays
  • BLOB 2-3 Zone Basketball Plays
  • Man-to-Man Basketball Plays

(BLOB stands for baseline out of bounds. These are the plays to run when your team is inbounding the basketball from under your own basket.)

Here we go!

2-3 Zone Basketball Plays

2-3 zone basketball plays

23 Flare

Overview of the Play:

This play is called 23 Flare, and it requires a player that is fast enough to hit the ball referred to as the quick hitter and he will be used against the 2-3 zones in order to get him an open and great shot off a flare screen right from the wing side of the floor.

Key Personnel:

  • #2 expected to be the best shooting player the team will have
  • #1 should be capable of making great on-point pass which will go over the flare screen.
  • #5 should be capable of setting a rock solid screen.


Setup: The 23 flare play begins in a great formation which is the 1-3-1 formation having a good player whose capabilities are greatly aim at shooting in the corner having his position on the same side as the team’s best shooter.

23 flare
  1. These play starts when #1 engages in a few dribble before passing to #2 who is situated on the wing. #1 will now go and stay at the top of they on the floor

2. #5 will now go to the strong-side elbow.

3.  #2 instantly passes to #4 right at the corner side of the floor.

4. The ball will be passed from #4 back to #2 who will start dribbling the defender in front of the rim.

5.  #2 will now dribble two or three times almost at the top of the key thereby making a force on X2 for him to follow, so as to make a denial on open shot.

6. #2 will pass the ball to #1 just at the top of the key.

7. At this point, it is required of #5 to set a Flare screen for the #2

8. At this juncture as this continues, #4 must have walked X4 directly towards the rim and probably sets a screen in order for X4 not to defend or charge the shot.

9. #2 will now use the flare screen and #1 is expected to make a pass over the top which will get to the open three-point by #2.


Setup: This is the sort of play that is most suitable playing against the zone defense and it works most greatly against 2-3 zone. This play is going to ensure you get an easy basket at the low post or even an open three-point shot. The play can be deployed towards the end of any particular game or period during a game, once you desire to have a great loot at the basket.


The #5 player must be the team’s best post player and #3 player as well will have to be the team’s best three-point shooter.


  1. #1 player will have to pass to #2 player.
  2. #3 player will begin out on the left block and then show up once the ball is passed to #2 player.
  3. #2 player will then pass the ball to #3 player.
  4. #3 player will return the ball and pass it to #2 player.
  5. Once #3 player returns the ball back to #2 player, he will now run to the opposite side of the corner.
  6. Should #3 player be denied his initial pass, #3 player must make his cut to the corner of the opposite side and then #2 player will pass the ball to #1 player.
  7. #4 player will now set a screen on the middle player who is on the zone and #5 player will open for the pass. #4 player is importantly required to wait in order to set the screen till #3 player runs them on the baseline.
  8. #1 player will pass the ball to his #5 player. For the purpose of weak side rebounds, #4 player will go back to the opposite block. The vital part is that #4 player should only hold the screen to give a fast 2-count in order to avoid a three-second call which often happens in the lane.
  9. #1 player will pass the ball to his #5 player. For the purpose of weak side rebounds, #4 player will go back to the opposite block. The vital part is that #4 player should only hold the screen to give a fast 2-count in order to avoid a three-second call which often happens in the lane.
  10. When #4 player is covered, #1 player will pass the ball to #3 player. Once this is happening, #5 player must be reestablishing his position on the post.
  11. Now the outside player which is the #4 player off the zone (the defensive player), will do everything he can to close out #3 player in time in order to prevent the shot from happening. There should be a bounce pass that goes from #3 player to #5 player.

32 Lob

Overview of the Play:

This play has the design that is capable of getting a backdoor lob meant for the athletic perimeter players of century. In this play, the aim is to move the defenders over before screening the weak side low defender in order to create a lane for a lob pass and finish..

Key Personnel:

  • You will need a point guard which can throw a very good lob pass.
  • Athletic perimeter player whose duty is to catch the lob pass and then make a score either through dunk or layup.


Setup: To begin this play, you are definitely going to bring in a 3-out 2-in formation for the players to use.

32 lob
  1. It starts with #1 making a ball pass to the nearby perimeter player who is not going to receive the pass #2.
  2. #2 will now start dribbling the ball towards the corner side in order to force X3 to defend the ball. In order words, this means X5 will guard #4.
  3. Immediately #2 starts dribbling to the corner side of the floor, #3 should slide down to the weaker-side corner which is behind the sight of the defense.
  4. #2 should pass back to #1 who will be on the wing.
  5. Since the defense have been forced to make a rotation to one side, #5 will now establish his position behind X4 before nudging them up the lane in order to create space on the baseline.
  6. #3 will now cut harder to the ring at the back of the screen from #5, and then he catches the lob pass from #1 for easy score.



This play is almost a replica of the overload play with a little twist that will make the play work against zone defenses. It’s so simple to teach and very effective as well.


#4 and #5 player must be the team’s strongest player on the post. #1, #2, and #3 must have the ability to make a dribble drive and then take an outside shot.


  1. #1 player will pass the ball either to #2 player or the player on the wing which is #3 player.
  2. Once the #1 player makes his pass to #2 player, then #1 player will have to cut to the corner and this will make #3 player to go to the top of the key, then #5 player flashes to the high post on the floor.
  3. #2 player must pass the ball to the top of the key, once there is nothing available on the overload.
  4. Once the ball is passed and goes to the top of the key, #5 player must set a screen on the middle player of the zone and #4 will need to flash unto an opening in the middle of the lane on the floor. #3 player must make a pass to #4 player should he be open.

Baseline Swing

Setup: This play is called the Baseline Swing and it is designed in a way to get a shooter a space to fire open shot right from the three-point line or the midrange. The play is used to achieve this process through forcing the baseline defender to play the wing and cutting player baseline to the short corner.

Key Personnel:

  • #4 should be able and capable of hitting the three-point shot or the midrange.
  • #5 is expected to be capable of setting a solid screen.


Setup: To start this play, we will employ the 4 out 1 formation with the shooter in the corner side of floor.

baseline swing
  • It’s all begins whenever #1 passes the ball to the wing on same side as the player on the corner side. Meaning that #1 is expected to pass to #3.
  • It’s all begins whenever #1 passes the ball to the wing on same side as the player on the corner side. Meaning that #1 is expected to pass to #3.
  • Once this is taking place and effect, #2 will slide up from the wing in order to create space for #3 to cut to.
  • #3 will now cut his way across the court and under the defenders on the high zone to the opposite wing.
  • #1 will now pass to #2 then #2 will pass to #3.
  • Since #2 was perfectly defended by X2 at the top, #3 must be closed out and perfectly defender as well by X3 who is on the wing to avoid the open shot.
  • X5 will be Screened by #5 as #4 is expected to cut the baseline to the wide open Space on the ball-side of the baseline.
  • #3 will pass to #4 for either the three-point shot or the mid-range shot.



This play will work for all level of team that has a point guard who is a good decision maker. Last time I saw this play work was when Pittsburgh used it against Syracuse’s fierce 2-3 zone. I have also seen this play been used by 12 years old as well.


#1 player must be a very good penetrator who will be able to hit the mid-range jump shot. #5 player must be capable to set a great screen. #4 player must be able to make an underneath score on the basket and #3 player must be a great perimeter shooter.

Read Also: basketball rules


  1. #2 player should get the ball up on the left side of the floor. (S)he should make the top player of the zone commit him/her.
  2. After the defense makes a commitment, #2 player will pass the ball to player #1 who is expected to have float close to the top of the key.
  3. Once the pass is been thrown in, #5 player will come in and set a screen on the player outside at the top of the zone. It is very necessary for #1 player to make a slide over to the top of the key in order to set up the defensive player.
  4. #1 player should dribble off the screen. Should nobody step in to guard him, (s)he should then shoot 12-15 foot jump shot.
  5. After the #1 player starts to dribble #4 player should cut under the hoop to the side of the ball and then #3 should make a float to the corner.
  6. #2 player will cut through the weak side in order to keep #3 who is defensive player innocent.
  7. Should #1 player’s shot be drove away by the outside player on the bottom of the zone, the middle player should drive away the pass that is aimed to #4 player. Now the #3 player should be wide open to accept an outside shot.
  8. Should the defensive player cover the outside shot, the middle player of the zone covers #1 player, and then #4 player must be open under the hoop.


Overview of the Drill:

This play is suitable for quick hitter in your team’s best shooter. It begins by letting the defense move before your sharp shooter will run off the double screen and get the basketball for the an open shot.

Key Personnel:

  • The #2 must be your team’s best shooter to make the game great.
  • The #1 should be able to make a great pass in the direct path of the shooter at the right time with a god pace.


Setup: This play is going to start by using the 1-4 formation to make every player understand their roles accordingly.

  1. This play should be started by #1 making a pass to the best shooter in the team (2) on the wing.
  2. #2 will now pass the ball back to #1 just at the top of the key.
  3. #2 will instantly make a great deep cut just behind the defense as #1 dribbles past the top of the key in order to create a good passing angle.
  4. Just as #2 is cutting, 3 and 4 will set a great double screen on D4.
  5. The #1 will then pass to 2 who will shoot the open shot.

Pick Overload

Overview of the Play:

This play is called the Pick Overload. It is greatly designed in order to create a space for three-point shot on the floor wing or even in the corner side by having one side of the zone get overloaded or by having to force 2 defenders to guard 3 of the offensive players.

Key Personnel:

  • This will have a great point guard with decision-making skills. The point guard must be capable of hitting a midrange pull up or a floater.
  • There also needs to be two good players that can make three-point shot at a very high percent (2) and (3)


Setup: This play is going to start in a 1-3-1 formation having the point guard involved greatly.

pick overload
  1. To start this play, the #1 will need to dribble either side of the court in order to drag the well-positioned defender in the X1 zone to the wing.
  2. At this juncture you should allow three to slide down perfectly towards the corner side so as to give #1 a huge space on the wing.
  3. #5 moves out from the screens X1 and the high post as well.
  4. Let the #1 attack the high post and use the screen. Should X2 resist sliding across to stop dribbling penetrations, #1 will need to finish with a midrange pull-up or floater .
  5. Once #1 start using the screen from #5, 3 will begin to cut deeply along the front of the baseline in the opposite corner direction.
  6. Should the X2 stop his dribbling penetration, (just as expected) #1 will pass to #2 on the wing that will be widely open to receive the ball and then perform the three-point shot.
  7. As X2 stopped the drive, the X4 should only be the player to contested #2’s shot. If X4 makes a run to contest the shot, #2 passes the ball to #3 who will be on the baseline for the open three-point shot.
  8. Once the shot is made, #1 should instantly stop and thread with caution.


Overview of the Play:

This play is designed in the image of quick hitter in order to get great shooter an open three-point shot from the corner side off a skip pass. Due to the pass skipped by the player, this may seem a bit hard for young teams trying to execute it. Though high school teams and older teams alike should find a very big success in utilizing the play.

Key Personnel:

  • #3 must be able to strongly skip a pass to make the game worth it.
  • The #2 must be the team’s best three-point shooter and sharp attacker.



Setup: On this play, the team will begin with a 1-3-1 formation having the low post player on same side as the team’s best three-point shooter.

  1. This play should start with #1 passing the ball to #3 right on the wing.
  2. Then #5 will set a screen on the back of D4 side.
  3. #2 will slide down through the corner behind the #5’s screen.
  4. #3 will make the strongest of skip pass to #2 for the shot to be superb enough.


Overview of the Play:

This is a play which is designed in a way to get a blindside pick-and-roll for your best point guard just at the very top of the key. Once you finish using the pick-and-roll, your point guard should recheck his options to let the team enjoy the best scoring opportunity.

Key Personnel:

  • Your #1 player must be a great decision maker at all times.
  • Your #5 player on the team must be capable to set a strong screen.
  • #3 must capable of knocking down the three-point shot.


Setup: The players will begin in a 1-3-1 formation which will happen with your best decision maker who runs tin the point guard position.


1. Your #1 will pass to the #2 player who is located on the wing in order to shift the defense.

2. Should the defense make a shift, #2 should make a pass back to #1 at the top of the key.

3. Once these pass is done, #5 should ensure he sets a blindside screen on the side of the D2

3. #1 should instantly make use of the screen to attack towards the rim on the backboard.

4. Once you notice the #1 driving off the pick-and-roll, let the #3 slide down through the corner and #4 slides along to the baseline in order to find a hole in the defense.

5. #1 will now develop three scoring options which will be dependent on the actions of the defense.

Option 1 –When no defender comes out to defend the ball, #1 should pull up and perform a jump shot.

Option 2 – In case the D4 comes out to defend the ball, #1 will pass the ball to #3 in order to have three-point shot from corner.

Option 3 – Should the D5 step out seeking to defend, #1 will bounce passes to #4 for a layup on the baseline.

BLOB Man-to-Man Basketball Plays

man to man basketball plays

4-Low Flex

Overview of the Play

This play is great and can be run in a 4-low formation. In this play, the ball should be passed to the players in the middle at the very top of the key. Now the player will perform a flex screen and do a pin down in order to have two good open shot opportunities.

Key Personnel:

  • The team’s best shooter will have to inbound the basketball.
  • The best post player is expected to begin outside of the three-point line on the ball-side.


Setup: The play will start in a 4-low formation having the bigs on the ball-side.

4 low flex
  1. The #4 should cut the ball to the top of the key and receive the inbounds lob pass.
  2. The #3 will have to wait a few seconds in order to cut to the top of the key and receive the pass from #4.
  3. #2 should now be on the inbound and have a flex screen set for #5 player that will cut the flex screen while searching for pass and then create an open layup.
  4. Once #4 sets a pin down for #2 player, it will be great for the team to use what we call ‘screen-the-screener’ action.
  5. #2 will now cut to the top of the key while searching for the catch, and he will shoot from a pass from #3

Box Gate

Overview of the Play:

This play starts in a well-crafted Box formation and will involve best shooter that a team has who will set up the back screen for the center player to have an open for a quick layup. The screener of course, will have to use a gate screen to open up a catch on the ball and shoot from the wing side. The center player should be the one to finish the game with an open post up.

Key Personnel:

  • On this one, the best shooter will begin on the weak side low block.
  • The best player that plays the post up must also begin on the weak side elbow.
  • The point guard must inbound the basketball at the right time.


The formation of this play will be in the Box shape for easy play.

box gate
  1. #2 will set a back screen for #5 player who will cut to the rim in search for the basketball.
  2. When #2 sets the screen, it will be when #3 begins to move to the top of the key. #3 cannot go very early otherwise the defenders will read what he is about to play.
  3. Once the screen is fully set up for #5, #2 will run via a gate screen set by #3 and #4 who will move in search of a catch and then he will shot from the wing side.
  4. Once the shooting is over, the #3 and #4 will immediately clear to the top of the key.
  5. #1 will have to step inside of the floor and put up a cross screen for #5 player who will be expected to post up on the low block using ball-side or duck in for the pass.

Box Floppy Gate

Overview of the Play:

This play is very simple and a great gate screen play which goes off a baseline inbounds. With this play, the shooter will have to pass the basketball in and he will then walk his way to the middle of the key which is where he will receive a gate screen to one side of the court and a normal screen to the other.

Key Personnel:

  • The basketball should be inbounded by the best shooter in the team.


Setup: On this play, the formation is going to be the Boxlike formation and it will have the best shooter inbounding the basketball every time.

Box floppy gate
  1. The game starts when #4 moves off the low block to get the pass from the shooter who inbounds it.
  2. #4 will have to swing  the basketball to #3 who will instantly pass to #1.
  3. At this time during the game, the shooter (2) must have walked his player close to or into the middle of the key.
  4. A gate screen will now be setted by #3 and #4 on the low block that will see #2 run through in order to get an open for the shot that’s shoot.
  5. It is #1’s sole responsibility to make use of the dribble and improve the passing angle or area.
  6. #5 sets a good screen on the opposite low block, should the defender cheat the gate screen and the shooter can as well use the screen


Overview of the Play:

This is the type of play that is designed to receive a good open midrange shots as well as three-point shots right around the perimeter. Should none of the shots be open, it is solely left for the team to either set a ram screen for the perimeter player or post up one of the bigs.

Key Personnel:

  • This play is the best that works when #1, #2, and  #3 players can eventually hit an open shot from outside.
  • #2 player must be the team’s best pick-and-roll creating player.
  • #5 player is supposed to be the best team’s post player.
  • #4 must be the team’s best screener player.


Setup: To start this play, the free-throw line will have one player and other 3 players will line up between and on the low blocks of the floor.

  1. This play will start once #5 sets a screen for #3 who will pop out to the corner.
  2. A few seconds later (having time at the back of your mind), #4 sets a down screen for #1 who will do everything possible to cut to the top of the key.
  3. #4 will now instantly set another good screen for #2 who will again make a cut from the position inbounds to the side of the wing.
  4. Once #2 catches on the perimeter, #4 will now setup a final cross-screen for #5
  5. From this moment hence forth, we will have a few options…
  6. #5 now can get the quick pass from inside for a good layup or a wonderful post up on the low block.
  7. #5 will now sprint up and set a screen on #2’s defender and will now be in a pick and roll position with a fantastic spacing.

Ram Red


This play always begins in a Box formation and will have lots of opportunities for scoring which includes; a post player that drives to the rim, a shooter that cuts off a double-screen for his shot, as well as a pick-and-roll with good spacing when none of these two options are open.

Key Personnel:

  • The weak-side elbow should entertain your best shooter to begin there.
  • You should have a good pick-and-roll player who should be inbounding the basketball.
  • The team’s post player who will screen the pick-and-roll, should begin on the ball-side low block.


Setup: With the best shooter being your beginning on the weak-side elbow, the play should start in a Box formation.

Ram red
  1. This play will start with #5 making a slide to the high post and setting up a double screen with the #4 player.
  2. #2 will curl very tight off #4 and #5’s double screen searching to get a catch and shoot also on the wing.
  3. Should #5 notice that their defender is helping, they will have to duck to the rim to make a layup.
  4. #3 will have to take a few great steps towards the rim and the pops out that are calling for the basketball in order to draw their defense out with them.
  5. When no instant scoring option are open, #1 inbounds this basketball to #2.
  6. #4 and #5 will immediately set up a staggered down screen for #1 player that will cut to the top of the key. #4 at this time, should ensure they don’t get so close to the #5 player who is on staggered screen.
  7. #2 will take a couple of dribble before he passes to #1 who will be at the top of the key.
  8. #4 will instantly set a screen on #5’s defender while #5 will sprint to the top of the key in order to set the screen for #1 player.
  9. #4 will have to slide down onto the weak-side through the short corner having both of the wing players open the best possible angles to have a drive and kick.
  10. #1 will make use of #5’s screen to attack the rim searching to score or dish off to a shooter that is freely open once they can read the game mind of the help defense.

Stack Double


One of the best basketball plays out of the common stack set to get your best shooter an open midrange or three-point shot on the wing.

This play is among the best basketball play which moves out of the stack set in a game to create free open midrange for your best shooter in the team or let your wing take a three-point shot.

Key Personnel:

  • #2 must be your team’s best shooter with great skill.
  • Your team’s #1 should be your point guard.


Setup: This play will begin in a stack formation having only the point guard (1) as exception. The point guard is going to be on the weak-side elbow.

stack double
  1. This is a great play that will start with popping out #4 to the perimeter and watch him get the pass from the team’s #3 player.
  2. Once this starts happening, #2 player should start dragging their defender as low as possible just by taking few steps towards the hoop and then slightly calling for the basketball pass.
  3. The #3 player will have to sprint to the baseline after the ball is inbounded and then he should clear the ball out to the weak-side wing.
  4. #1 will have to cut to the top of the key and then receive back the pass from #4.
  5. #1 must perform a dribble just in the opposite direction of the defenders in order to move the defenders towards the middle range and to make an open up pass to #2.
  6. #4 and #5 players will instantly set a staggered screen for the #2 player that should read their defender and then cut out to get the pass that will flow from #1 in order to either perform a three-point shot on the wing or midrange.

Read also: basketball set plays

Two Inside


This play is aimed at getting the basketball thrown inside one of the post players the team will have. a screen-the-screener action is used to execute this perfectly. There should be two guards who will move to a great safety position and then they will keep their defenders occupied.

Key Personnel:

  • This play works best for a team that has good post player.
  • It is a play that can be used no used for players who possess great height and could be deemed as advantage over their opponents.
  • This play will expect the best passer in a team to pass the ball.


Setup: As expected, this play will commence using the Box formation that has two posts down low and two guards at the end of high post elbows

two inside
  1. This great play will start with #4 setting an up-screen which the #1 player will pop out to corner on the floor.
  2. Once #1 starts cutting to the corner side, #2 will begin cutting to the ball-side with slot, and ask for the basketball in order to free their defender out of the paint.
  3. #5 will wait now for one or two seconds while he is still facing #2 and now he will have to cut past the lane in order to set up a very strong screen on #4’s defender.
  4. The action of the screen-the-screener will create space for #4 to cut in to the weak-side of the rim before having an open layup.
  5. Should #5 defender intercept the pass, #4 player must now back out to short corner in order to create open up the paint that’s aimed at #5.
  6. Once the screening is over, #5 should seal #4’s defender and do a pivot towards the hoop where #3 will be capable to pass the ball to them for an open layup.
  7. Should there be no open options, the # 3 will have to pass the ball over to the top to #2 player and then the entire team will set up the offense at half-court.

BLOB 2-3 Zone Basketball Plays

zone basketball plays

Belmont Flash


This particular play is set up in a way to make the team receive an open three-point shot in the side of the corner, simply by catching the low ball-side post player off from the guard. Now the ball will get on to  the top of the key, and receive a quick flash from the weak side, before they then pass to the corner through the in-bounder off a strong screen carefully setup.

Key Personnel:

  • You should have your teams best shooter inbounding the basketball
  • There should be a player who will be able to set a strong screen just at the ball-side on low block.
  • A great decision maker is required on the weak side on low block.


Setup: The entire player will be in one Box set and not on the low blocks and elbows anymore and their distance should be somewhere approximately 3 feet wider than the usual.

1. This is a play which will start with #3 popping out to the wing and catching the pass from #2

2. #1 will as well cut to the top of the key in case it becomes easier to make use of an additional pass before giving the basketball right inside of the key.

3. Once #3 catches the ball, #4 should instantly flash to the middle of the key in order to receive the pass.

4. #5 at this point will set a new screen on a low ball-side post player before #2 will curl the ball around to the corner in order to get the pass from #4 and take the three-point shot.

5. Should X3 get round the screen, #5 player should be open for the bounce pass and layup as x5 will be forced to make a defend on the player right in the middle of the key.

Box Flash


Box Flash is a BLOB box set with a lot of scoring options. This set should overload the side of the zone thereby forcing the zone defense to consider a decision on who they will guard. It is such a nice play for players of every level and skill.

Key Personnel:

  • It needs a strong shooter (2) that will make the mid-range shot or three-point shot which will happen at a very high percentage.
  • Needs a post player that can shoot the basketball from the outside and he preferably should be #4.
  • The team’s best play maker should on the #3 position.


Setup: This play will begin in a box formation. The post players should be positioned on two low blocks and your guards must be positioned on the two elbows.

box flash
  1. #5 will run through the wing and #2 will enter the game in a in-bound style to #5
  2. #1 must pop high to above the slot before the #3 will move down to the block with #4 in order to set a double screen.
  3. #2 should step on the floor and position itself in a ball-side short corner.
  4. #5 will pass to #1 who is at the very top of the key.
  5. #2 will have to sprint off the double screen from #3 and #4 to the corner side.
  6. #1 will now dribble through to the top of the key to make improvement to the passing angle and then make the pass to #2 in the corner side for the open shot.
  7. #2 is not open to receive the shot, #3 will flash to the high post and then #1 will play the basketball to #3
  8. #4 will set a back screen on the rock bottom wing defender and #5 will sprint through the backdoor searching make open pass and layup.
  9. #4 will pop out to the wing right after they set the back screen and this will then be open for the three-point shot, which will solely depend on how x4 will decide to play it.
  10. Should #3 feel they have a pace mismatch against x5, they will need to attack the rim directly from the high post.




This play is a very simple sideline play that uses out-of-bounds play which surprisingly works well. This play will create an open court around the basket which mostly results in drink shots or lay-ins.


#1 player must be a great ball handler, driver, decision maker, and passer. #4 player must be great in ball handling and fast as well. #2 and #3 players must as well be very good in handling the ball.


  1. Once the ball is slapped by the player, #5 player will sprint directly opposite to the low block. #4 player will run to the ball-side baseline or the ball-side elbow which very close to the three-point line. #2 player will now take 2 different strong steps forwards in advance and then #3 player will step back about six steps and very high. #1 player will seem to be focused on #2 and #3 players, yet his main aim and target is #4 player. Should #1 player be able to make a pass unto #4 player, he will run down directly towards the hoop and hop for a return pass for a lay-in. should #5 player’s defender be of help to him, then #5 player will have to create a space for a dink shot.
  2. Once the first two steps are gone towards the #1 player, #2 player will turn and sprint in order to set a screen for #3 player above the top of the key. #3 player to emerge off the screen. Once #3 player clears this screen, #2 player will create a space to receive the ball. #1 player will have to hit #2 player or #3 player. In case this takes effect, the court or floor will remain wide spread and the defense will be wide spread as well in order for #2 or #3 players to make an easy penetration. Should this turn around, #4 and #5 players should read the game situations properly and then have a break to create an open area or even enter into a rebounding position on the floor. Once the passing of the ball is done, #1 player will get into the game’s playing area in a position that will let them receive a returned pass once the defense packages everything.



Cross is almost the greatest basketball play that falls into the category of baseline out of bounds (BLOB). It is very easy and simple to carryout and remember as well as effective for every team that learns the routine. There is no other theory that the game has expect that the play is aimed and possed at getting 4 offensive player low and then forcing three defenders to work and deny four players, i;e, three against 4 formation. So long as there are even spaces, there must be an open player.

Key Personnel:

  • The play will engage two good players who can knock down the open three-point shot (#2 and #3).
  • There should be two players that can finish strongly inside (#4 and #5).
  • There should be just one player that is capable of reading the game then he ensures accurate passes are made (1).


Setup: This game begins with a 1-4 high formation. Post players should be at the elbows and then there should be two team’s best shooters that must be wing side.

basketball play cross
  1. This play will start with #2 and #3 who will do well to cut their various corners and begin calling aloud for the basketball to be delivered to them. This will ensure both of the bottom wing defenders are drawn out.
  2. #4 and #5 players will wait for a second before they can then cross paths and then make a great and sharp cut to the opposite low blocks.
  3. #1 will now read the position of the defenders and where they will move and then he passes to the open player for him to make a shot.



This play is an inbound play which has been proven to get a Coach an easy basket simply by leaving your post player under the basket. It’s simply a play that is aimed towards the Man-to-Man defense Play.


1 – PG
2 – Big guard
3 – Shooter
4 – Front court player
5 – Best post up player


  1. #4 player will thoroughly have to screen past the lane for #1 player.
  2. #1 player will cut to the side of the floor.
  3. #5 player will screen just as far as the basket exists.
  4. #3 player will then cut as wide as they can possibly cut.
  5. The main aim for cutting in this play is simply to clear out the lane before allowing #5 to steal on his screens.
  6. #2 player will aim to play inboundly to #5 player
  7. When he is not able to locate #5 player, #2 will inbound the ball to player #3
  8. Player #5 will try to hold his screen right under the basket.
  9. Finally, #3 player will make a successful pass to player #5

Double Skip


Double skip is a Zone BLOB 1-4 high set which will move the defense around from side to side and then create a big advantage with a double flare screen which is meant for the inbound player on the weak side low block out of sight of the zone defenders.

Key Personnel:

  • This play will need a strong shooter (2) who will make three-point shot which should happen at a very high percentage.
  • Post players who happen to be #4 and #5 should be capable of making a strong skip passes.


Setup: The play begins in a 1-4 high formation. Post players are expected to be on the wings of 1-4 high. Then the team’s best shooter is the in-bounds passer.

double skip
  1. #5 will sprints through the strong side corner. #3 will sprint to the strong side short corner at the same time.
  2. #2 enters the in-bounds of the ball to #5 in the corner.
  3. #5 will skip passes to the ball opposite to #4. #1 will screen in on x1 in order to pass the ball safer and easier.
  4. #1 spaces up through the top of the key when #4 receives the skip pass and forge ahead.
  5. #3 will sprint up through to the flare screen to the top of the zone defender (x2). #5 will screen in on the bottom wing defender (x3) at the same time.
  6. #2 will sprint up and land behind the bottom wing zone defender (x3) and then positions himself on the wing.
  7. #4 skips the basketball to #2 player when as they will be arriving to the wing. #2 should have an open three-point shot.



This is a great play that we call “Hawk”. This play is specious and often results in an open three-point shot in corner side or letting the post player to shoot an open jump shot which happens from the low block side. To let this play go through, the low zone defender should be forced into making decision of who they need to guard.

Key Personnel:

  • This play will need a strong shooter (#2) that can make the 3-point shot at a very high percentage.
  • You are going to require a post player (#4) that could make a shot at midrange when close to the basket
  • The team will require a player that can easily set a strong screen (#5).


Setup: The players are going to start in a formation which seems irregular and have just 3 players that will move along the free-throw line in an extended manner and have one player in the ball-side of the corner.

  1. This play will start with #5 making a cut down the key and then making a seal to the middle zone defender (X5) with just a screen.
  2. When this happens, #4 will have to walk their defender (in this case X3) nearer to the basket with a great screen.
  3. #2 now will have to cut towards the ball-side corner, after which he will be open for a pass and shoot once #4 and #5 have done wonderful job of blocking their makers.
  4. #1 at this stage cuts to the ball-side slot in order to forcefully guard the defender on the ball-side which is (x1) and have them hold their ball position.
  5. Should x3 make a cheat over the screen to block the corner shot, #4 will have to create an open space for the catch and then shoot a shot at midrange jump shot.

Side Cross Elevator


This play is called the side cross elevator and is designed in such a way to get your best shooter a space for open shot right at the strong side of the corner. In order for this play to work, two side defenders in the zone are carefully screened with creativity being the center focus.

Key Personnel:

  • This play will require a strong shooter been #2 that will be making the three-point shot at a high percent.
  • There should be two post players who will set a strong screen and they should be #4 and #5.


Setup: The play will commence in a Box formation which should be drawn very close to the ball-side. Then your #4 and #5 should start on the outside area of the two zone-side defense.

side elevator
  1. Now, allow your #5 to sprint up and set a good screen on the top defender’s wing (x2).
  2. Then the #4 will run off screen and set up screen right at the bottom defender’s wing (x4).
  3. Once #2 visualizes that #5 have set x2 on screen, #2 will should start sprinting off #4’s back to the corner side and then prepare to shoot the shot.
  4. #1 will pass the basketball to #2 right in the corner side for a successful three-point shot to be made.



Stack is basically a BLOB basketball play which is drastically common at every youth and kids basketball level. This play clearly adopts clearance of two low defenders while gradually opening space for the player that will receive the pass in order to have a quick midrange shot.

Key Personnel:

  • #2 is going to be a strong shooter that could be making the three-point shot with a high percent success rate.
  • #4 will be the post player that should be capable of cutting into the gap before making a midrange shot that must be short.


Setup: This play will have the entire players set up in a stack formation just on the ball-side edge of the key.

  1. The #2 will instantly cut to the corner side of the floor and call for the basketball in order to drag the low wing defender out (x3).
  2. #5 will now step toward the middle key and then set a screen aimed on the middle zone defender (x5).
  3. This process now will leave a gap for #4 to step into and then receive the pass that should come from #1 for an open shot.
  4. At this point, #3 is now expected to clear to the top of the key in order to drag out the top defender (x1), done for safety.
  5. Should x3 stay and cut off the pass for #4, it is expected to leave #2 wide open in the side of the corner for an immediate catch before he shoots the three-pointer.

Man-to-Man Basketball Plays

Swing Variation


Swing variation is a very effective basketball play which allows the players a lot of option to choose from and it gives them the freedom to get easy shots from under the basket. It comes right from the swing offense. Once we swing as our primary offense, then we scored on first play of almost every game. Often we score the second and most precious third time as well. Flex cut in the play is effective, especially when the defenders are unable to see the next actions of a player.


The number #5 player must be the team’s best post player. The #3 player in this case will be your best three pointer shooter.


  1. #3 & #5 should begin near the block in a staggered position and #3 player should be close behind the #5 player.
  2. Once #1 player cross the half-court line, #5 player should immediately set up a screen for #3 player, while the #3 player is expected to cut to the wing.
  3. #1 player will pass the ball to #3 player.
  4. A great post position at this time will be established by #5 player.
  5. In the case that #5 player is not free or open, he should set up a screen for #5 player. This setting of screen should happen above the free-throw line. Now #1 player will have to set his man up through faking a cut in the direction of the #3 player on the wing.
  6. #3 player should try to pass the ball to #1 player who will cut to the hoop.
  7. #5 player at this time should search for a pass that rests on the elbow from player #3.
  8. In case that these options are not available, then #5 player should move out and get a pass from #3 player.
  9. When the pass is about to be thrown to #5 player, #4 player will have to set a screen for #2 player.
  10. #5 player will have to pass the ball to #2 player.
  11. Once the pass is thrown to #2 player, #1 player should set a back screen for #3 player and #3 player should cut to the block that’s on the left side of the floor.
  12. #2 player should swing a pass to #4 player and #4 player is expected to pass the ball to #3 player who is at this time, coming off the back screen.
  13. #2 player should throw the pass to #3 player who is coming off the back screen, that’s should he be unable to get the ball to #4 player.

At this stage, getting layups become very easy. In case the options above are not available, #3 player #3 will surely get a layup as he makes a swing ball to the other side of the floor.

1-4 Quick Floppy


On this play, a team is allowed early to get an open space on the perimeter in an offensive possession. This takes place by running an instant ‘floppy’ out of the 1-4 set, which makes sure that the guards cut off screens in order to create an open space.

Key Personnel:

  • The play is versatile as every player can get a potential shout out of it.
  • 2 and 3 should be great shooters preferably.
  • Your point guard must be great decision makers in order to see the open player.


Try to begin this play using a 1-4 high set.

quick floppy
  1. Allow 1 player to dribble down the floor while he calls out the name of the play.
  2. Let the 2 and 3 position players cut the baseline using 2 to stop the close under the rim.
  3. Once the positions 2 and 3 have made their way and cut past, they use the 4 and 5 to turn and trail.
  4. Let the position 3 set a screen inside the paint as 4 and 5 are allowed to set a screen just a foot outside of the low blocks which is on their respective sides.
  5. At this stage 2 will have the option to use the single screen or staggered screen. For instance, position 2 cuts to the perimeter using the staggered screen.
  6. Once position 2 defender has gone past through a screen set up, the position 3 from the opposite side to position 2, have to cut off the screen. For instance, position 3 cuts off the single screen by 5.

(If 2 were to use 5’s single screen, 3 would turn and cut to the  perimeter off 4’s screen.)

  • Once screening is finished, let the position 4 and 5 instantly duck in and see how they can receive the pass as quickly as possible to make the layup. Sometimes the player cutting the perimeter is helped by 4 or 5’s positioned defender, this will leave 4 and 5 on smaller defenders.
  • At this juncture, the point guard has now had 4 good passing options that will lead to fast open shots.
  • Should the 2 and 3’s get on the perimeter, the closest post player instantly tries to get a low seal in order for the other post player to clear straight to the high post and create space.



I derived this play as I was watching the University of Northern Iowa as Coach Greg McDermott was coaching players of the school. It’s the best out-of-box set I have seen to be the favorite play for most teams. The play involves two good ball screens, a screen the screener which is aimed at opening up space for three-point shot and also a back screen.

Personnel :

#1 player must be excellent in ball handling having the ability to drive as an advantage. #2 player must be a good shooter as well as #3 player having the ability to shoot the shots. #4 & #5 players will in this case be the team’s post players.


  1. With this play, the #1 player will dribble the ball to the left wing before switching direction with his dribble. Once #1 player gets to the wing, #4 player must come out to the three-point line in order to set a screen and then #3 player will move out to the wing. #5 player is expected to follow immediately in order to set the screen for a second time for #1 player who is close to the top of the key. Time factor is very important in this play and must be considered carefully. There will be no need to see #5 player pop out very early or too late. With time and practice, you will perfect the timing scenario.
  2. Once #1 player is dribbling around the screen which was set by #5 player, #2 player will set a back screen for #4 player. Once dribbling is over around the second screen, #1 player should involve split second which is position where he could attack the hoop from. He should as well use a hesitation dribble here. Should the space not open, then he shouldn’t force it to open.
  3. Once #4 player clears the screen which was set by #2 player, then #5 player must set a down screen for #2 player. At this point, #2 player should flash to the top of the key and take an open three-point shot. Should the #4 player be open for flashing the lane, #1 player should throw the pass. In      case it’s not open, there is a second option which is to pass the ball to #2 player who is at the top of the key.
  4. When none of the two first options are available or open, #5 player could be open to flash the ball once #2 player has cleared the ball. Should the defensive player guarding #3 player sneak into the lane to help, #3 player could be open at the moment for a skip pass.

Back Screen Post


This one is one of my best basketball plays that I often use to catch the defense off guard in order to get a quicker post up as a basketball coach. This play is always occurring at the back screen and out of a staggered screen which is to an open block. When the post doesn’t get open, it will result in a staggered screen for a very weak side shooter.

Key Personnel:

  • This should have a good post player at a position number 5. Getting a fast and yet clear post up is the main goal of this particular play.
  • The teams best shooter should be at the position number 2


Setup: To begin this play, there should be a 3-out 2-in setup formation having the wing players in the corner and the posts on the elbows for accuracy.

  1. To begin this drill, #1 player will have to dribble their defender down through one side of the court/floor in order to create great angle for screening.
  2. The defender will be walked down the low block by #3.
  3. #1 gets a staggered screen setup by #4 and #5, which he then use to dribble to the top of the key.
  4. 3 will start sprinting up and usually sets a hard back screen on defender 5’s once the #1 starts dribbling off the screens.
  5. #5 will instantly roll the ball to the basket while looking for the pass for the fast layup. Should this not create an opening, the players will develop a deeper post positions.

Should #1 not be able to put the basketball into the post, #3 and #4 should set a staggered screen for #2 whose job is to cut the top of they ready to accept the open shot.



This is mainly meant for youth coaches as it is greatly simple for every coach to teach its players and yet it is so effective. As a coach you could simply use this as continuity offense that you are likely to run steadily. The offense begins in a basic 1-3-1 set. This play should provide a dribble-drive opportunity.


You will use your #4 and #5 players as your post players. You will as well want #1, #2, #3 players to possess great ball handling skill and technique.


  1. Now #1 player is going to pass the ball to either the wing player, #2 player or #3 player. Should the player be on the ball side of the block, he has to cut in the opposite block to clear the ball side out. So #4 player will move to the opposite block in order for #1 player to cut into the basket. This setup will create an avenue for #2 player to dribble drive, that’s if they see an advantage to take.
  2. #1 player will fake towards the opposite wing, then he will brush off his marker from #5 player while he makes a cut to the basket.
  3. As #1 player gets to the block area, the high post will receive a flash from #5 player. Now either #1 or #5 player will receive a pass from #2 player. #1 player will get a dumped ball from #2 player as an alternative means. If #1 player bring the defensive to his outside hip, then he can score easily.
  4. Should #1 player not be open, they will have to cut to the opposite wing, and he should be replaced on the low block by #5 player. #3 player will have to cut to the top of the key. #4 player at this point will cut to the free-throw line.
  5. Should #5 player and #4 player not be open, #2 player is expected to bring back the ball to the top of the key. Now the setup will seem like they are back to their original set, and #3 player will begin the offense again by passing to either #2 or #1 player. #5 Player now is expected to cut to the opposite block again once the ball is passed to #1 player. At this point, #5 player will remain at on the left block should the ball be passed to #1 player.

Double Curls


The UCLA curls is a play which allows a team to receive open layups at the tail end of the basket just by running guards off screens towards the ring and keeping the lower key open. This game normally ends with a local roll and wing pick.

Key Personnel:

  • You will need a great round play which does not need any player’s specific skill-set no matter the level and age.
  • When the 3 receives the basketball on the wing, he will then attack and make great decisions out of the roll and pick.


The play starts in a 1-4 high formation.

double curls
  1. The 3 receives the pass on the wing from #1.
  2. The 1 will then do a UCLA cut off 5’s screen while expecting to get the pass the will enable him do open layup. Should it not be open, the number 1 will have to clear out to corner of the weak side.
  3. A staggered screen is then set by 4 and 5 for 2 who in his position will curl towards the basket ring while expecting the pass for an open layup as well. Should they not get the pass, they will need to clear the ball out to the side corner.
  4. Number 4 will pop out to the top once he finishes setting up screen in order to space out.
  5. Number 5 will now need to set a roll and pick situation for number 3 that will attack in turn attack the rim hard while looking to create a great play for their teammate or even make score.


  1. #2 and #3 player will diagonally cut to the wing from the low block side. You are going to ask either #2 or #3 player to be the first to cut every time. This will avoid both of them to collide with each other.
  2. #1 player will pass the ball to #3 player.
  3. There should be a simultaneous cut by the following players. #1 player should cut to the corner on the ball side. #4 player now will cut diagonally to the elbow across the lane (high post) on the ball side. #2 player will now cut to the top of the key in order to clear out weak side help.
  4. #3 player will search to make a pass to #5 player in the post.
  5. Should #3 players not be able to pass the ball directly into #5 players, he could pass the ball to player #4 in the high post. This will create a good avenue as angle to pass the ball. It will be important for #5 players to keep the pin down the defensive player found at his outside hip, which will make for a clear lane the hoop.
  6. Should nothing be there, #3 player will pass to #2 player. #2 player will possess the entire left side position to either pull up for a shot or drive.
  7. In case #2 player do not have a good scoring opportunity, he will dribble to the left wing.
  8. Once #2 player dribbles down to the wing, #1 player will now cut to the opposite corner. #4 and #5 players will then cut across the lane. #3 player will move to the top of the key. At this point, you will be in the same formation though it will be on the right side of the court.



This play is a very simple one which gives you a great option when close to the basket, or trying to have an open jump shot. It can be employed in the late game situations or as a set in your half-court offense.


#1 player must be a great ball passer and handler. #2 player must be your team’s best shooter. #5 player should be very good at catching, jumping and finishing near the basket. #3 player will be the team’s best screener and rebounder. #4 player must be very good post player.


  1. #4 and #5 players should step out from the high post and take their position near the three-point arc in order for #1 player to dribble off their ball screens.
  2. #1 player must dribble off #5 player. Once #1 rubs off the screen, #2 player must be spotting up in the corner side and then #4 player will roll to the basket.
  3. #1 player will drive all way to the basket, and pass the ball to #2 in the corner side or hit #4 player that is rolling to the basket.
  4. Should a quick shot not be taken, #3 player must back screen for #5 player.
  5. #1 player should search for a lob pass to #5.

You will have the option to play the ball into #4 player in the post. Now you are going to hit #5 player from the post position, rather than throwing the lob.

Based on the shot taken by the player, you will need to make sure that #3, #4, and #5 players are fully ready for rebound. Among them, one player should be in good position for a second shot in this basketball plays.