If there was ever a time to scheme plays or design something specific on offense, it would definitely be on zone offense. There are a lot of continuity or motion offenses that you can run against a zone, but I think in certain situations, you want to be able to have 2 or 3 designed and practiced plays that you can go to for a quick 2 or 3 points in a critical time in the game.

I went through some notes from a Larry Brown coaches clinic and found this neat zone offensive play. It's from USC head coach Tim Floyd and it's a misdirection play. So the basic idea is to move the ball quickly from sideline to sideline getting the zone defense to shift and react to the ball, then overload. Here is how it breaks down,


3-out 2-in alignment. O1 passes to O2. Then O2 quickly reverses the ball back to O1 and O1 reverses to O3,

On the catch by O3, O4 goes to the other block and seals that zone defender. O5 flashes up to the middle, around the high-post. O2 shuffles to the opposite corner,

O3 first looks for O4 on the seal in the post. If O4 is unable to seal the zone defender there, then O3 looks for the skip to O2 who should be open in the corner,

Of course, you need to make sure your players can make good skip passes and long post-entry passes. If you're coaching at the lower levels, JV or lower, that pass is probably too difficult to make.


There are of course many ways you can attack a zone, but this play demonstrates a couple of good things. First is moving the ball sideline to sideline. I really believe one of the best ways against a zone defense is to make the defense work. When you move the ball side to side, the defense eventually gets tired, they take shortcuts or get lazy, then they don't move as well, that is when you can exploit those weaknesses.

If you're interested in more overload or zone offense techniques, then you'll enjoy Tom Izzo's DVD on the 1-3-1 Zone Offense. As always, head over to the X's and O's Basketball forum to talk with other coaches about your favorite basketball topics.