Best Zone Plays

Daniel Brown
• Saturday, 02 January, 2021
• 8 min read

While it is important to teach your players how to play against a zone defense, it's also very important to have a few zone plays in your back pocket to help you beat any zone defense. We believe that teaching zone principles will help you the most in the long-run and need to be emphasized.

contact game
(Source: gameofzonesfl.com)


However, there are definitely times during games where you just need a zone play to get a good look at the basket. Some coaches also prefer to use their bestzoneplays when they first see a zone defense during a game.

The rationale is that if they execute a couple of zone plays right from the beginning, the opposing coach may quickly pull their team out of the zone defense. Jamie Dixon popularized this play to beat Syracuse's zone defense.

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Usually that is all we need to do, as long as we execute well and are patient, make the zone shift, and work the ball inside. But at times, we will run a set zone play to get someone open for a good shot, whether an inside shot or a 3-pointer. Younger kids may have difficulty making the long skip pass and might find Zone -1X” below a better alternative. O1 passes to O2 (diagram A) and this causes the zone to shift.

O3 back-screens the outside low zone defender so that O5 is open for the skip pass from O2. This play is similar to Carolina above but without the long skip pass, and younger teams would find this easier to run.

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Sometimes the middle low defender will cheat up to the high post to guard O4 and the 2-3 zone now looks more like a 2-1-2. Use this play if your point guard is a good shooter.

We can also run a simplified “91” against the 2-3 zone. O4 and O5 move up to the top. The pass goes over the top to O1 on the wing, and assuming O4 makes a good screen, O1 will almost always be wide open for the outside shot.

O4 cuts underneath the zone to the ball side block. O4 makes two screens. The play starts with O4 screening the outside low defender X4 so that the pass can go to O2.

O5 sets the inside screen and O4 cuts to the ball-side low post for the pass and lay-up. Submitted by Coach Ken Martini, Arlington Heights, Inhere is another play attacking the 2-3 zone defense.

Having an athletic O3 who can jump and finish inside is key. Or if unable to dunk, O3 catches the pass, gathers and scores off the glass.

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O1 passes to O3 (diagram A) and they exchange as O1 moves to the left wing, and O3 dribbles to the top. O4 pin-screens the weak side low defender X3, and O2 skip passes to O1 who has dropped toward the left corner.

O4 will bump and delay the X3 defender just enough to make the skip pass to the corner open. Use this simple play vs the 2-3 zone defense for an easy inside jump-shot.

Start with a low double stack set (diagram A), with guards O2 and O3 on the left lane line, and post players O4 and O5 on the right lane line. O4 looks at our good shooter O2 in the corner (diagram B) and might even pass fake (to get X3 aware of O2), but instead reverses the ball back to O1.

We want X1 guarding O1, and O1 takes a couple dribbles left (diagram C). From Eric Flannery, this 2-3 zone play starts with a double low stack (diagram 1).

You can run it to either side and this is determined by the point guard dribbling to either wing. As O1 dribbles to the right wing, O2 cuts hard under O3 and O5's double-screen (screening the outside low zone defender X3).

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The opposite post player O4 cuts around the double-screen for the pass inside from O1, and a lay-up. If the cutter O5 is not open, O4 flashes to the ball side elbow (diagram 6).

“Special-Down” This play starts with the same low double stack seen in “Special” (diagram 7). However, this time O2 and O3 crisscross and cut to the opposite corners, staying low and below the free-throw line extended (so that the low outside zone defender will have to come out to defend).

The ball side post player O5 immediately finds and seals the middle zone defender X5. We look to make the quick pass to O5 inside for the post move and shot.

From Lindsay Gottlieb (University of California Women's Head Basketball Coach), this 2-3 zone play gets you either an open 3-point shot for your best shooter, or a quick basket inside. O3 drops down toward the baseline (diagram 1). O1 dribbles a little to the left and O2 cuts underneath (diagram 2) and through to the left corner-wing area for a possible pass from O1 and a shot.

If the X3 defender moves outside to cover O2, then the quick pass from O1 to O4 is open for a lay-up (diagram 3). From Florida Gators head coach, Mike White, this 2-3 zone play gets you a lob pass to your big man O5.

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Iowa 21 and 31 Indiana Conn UCLA and UCLA-22 Raptors Hornets Wolf Pacers Often, coaches dismiss zone out of bounds plays and their goal is just to get the ball inbounds.

While getting the ball inbounds is very important, why not try to score in these opportunities. Inbounds plays are similar to special teams in American football, and we all know how important special teams are in football.

Randy Sherman 07/15/2019Various Zone Offense alignments. >>> BUILDING YOUR PLAYBOOK: Add Sets With Consecutive Actions Also below: Episode of A Quick Timeout podcast discussing Nick Nurse's coaching journey and the characteristics of a successful coach.

Grab this FREE download: Toronto Raptors Playbook See More We decided to start running this as a half court set as well, and this is what we came up with.

Run your best shooter along the baseline to distract the wing defender. Once that happens, the hook is set, and we seal the middle of the zone allowing a clear path for a layup.

zone complex event sports kokomo address
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Our head coach at New Washington has used this play for 12 years with tremendous success. This action creates a quick overload putting pressure on the defense to cover multiple areas.

There is also a slip option if the defense is able to close on the shooter quickly See More TIPS: Have your best shooter be the inside cutter to occupy the attention of the zones wing defender.

In the video clip below, we ran this play against a 3-2 zone to begin the quarter. Notice how our 5 seals the bottom of zone creating an open area for 4 to find for an easy layup.

Check out my new YouTube channel for more zone offense quick hitters! Check out the full list and download the playbook: The Top 25 Plays of 2018 CONN (NCAA) hand off entry into high-low zone offense.

Was Model 03/25/2016Against Duke's zone, Oregon plays a 5 out offense with the three guards working the wings, high post, and top of key. The Ducks do a good job of penetrating into the middle of the zone and kicking out to shooters.

apex legends clips gamer
(Source: www.pcgamer.com)

Bert Salvo 01/07/2016Concorida University (NY) Women's Basketball used this zone set against Philly U on 1-5-16. The set really puts pressure in the middle of the zone and allows movement to come from the weak side where the defense really has to be aware of multiple cuts to the interior of the zone.

Brian Shea 11/18/2015Great overload set that can be run at all levels of basketball against 2-3 zone defense. Against a zone defense offenses can become stagnant with a lack of player and ball movement.

Skip passes and screening the inside and outside the zone are also effective. Pass fakes are another key to use against a zone defense.

Using quick hitters in addition to a continuity is a great strategy vs. zones. Quick hitters allow the offense to know who will be shooting the ball and from what spot.

Coach Izzy from Michigan St. has some great quick hitters out of the 1-3-1 alignment that work well with the 1-3-1 zone continuity “Rotation.” Scott Peter man 02/24/2015Coach Shaka Smart has his ICU Rams (21-6, 11-3) and they are better prepared for any A-10 opponent.

zone weird feeling
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Here is a special zone offense play that they run. If you like this Shaka Smart Zone Offense Play then check out our website: Men's Basketball Hoop Scoop.

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