Basketball Zone Offense
The 1-4 Overload Offense


This basketball zone offense starts from the 1-4 offensive setup, and mixed with the Basic 1-4 Zone Offense, can effectively be used against any zone defense. Once your team is confident in all three aspects of this offense, they can use it to pull a zone defense out of its pattern and open up scoring opportunities.

This is a pretty simple offensive play, but effective against almost any zone defense. To defeat a zone defense, you have three main options: shoot your way out, fast break and get up the floor before the zone sets up, or move the defensive players out of position.This defense focuses on the third option.

You move defensive players out of position by moving the ball around the court quickly and cutting through the zone, making the defensive players follow you and react to your movement.Since zones naturally tend to be more rigid in player position than a man-to-man defense would be, this provides opportunities to get an offensive player open for a shot.

The 1-4 Overload Offense stresses quick, constant ball movement and cutting, while overloading one side of the court so that there are more offensive players than defensive players - and thus one of your players should end up unguarded.


The 1-4 Overload Basketball Zone Offense
First Options

  • The first pass is from the point to the wing

  • Immediately upon making the pass, the point guard is going to cut through the key

  • If the opportunity is there, this can be a give and go; otherwise, the point guard cuts around the low post player on the ball side and pops out onto the wing, low toward the baseline

  • The weak side wing flashes to the point, while the weak side post man flashes to the ball-side high post

  • The wing with the ball looks to the high post and low post, but if nothing is there, he passes low to the guard at the baseline

  • Immediately after passing to the baseline, the wing man cuts through the key looking for a give and go. The high post immediately fills his position on the wing


The 1-4 Overload Basketball Zone Offense
Reversing the Ball

  • The ball is swung from the guard at the baseline to the post man outside back to to the point guard

  • Immediately upon making the pass, the post man on the outside cuts along the key, following the ball until he returns to the opposite low post

  • the guard at the baseline steps out to take the place vacated by the cutting post man - i.e., filling in the wing position

  • The point guard continues to swing the ball to the opposite wing






The 1-4 Overload Basketball Zone Offense
Second Options

  • Everything happens as it did in the first options, now on the other side of the court

  • The first pass is from the point to the wing

  • Immediately upon making the pass, the point guard is going to cut through the key

  • If the opportunity is there, this can be a give and go; otherwise, the point guard cuts around the low post player on the ball side and pops out onto the wing, low toward the baseline

  • The weak side wing flashes to the point, while the weak side post man flashes to the ball-side high post

  • The wing with the ball looks to the high post and low post, but if nothing is there, he passes low to the guard at the baseline

  • Immediately after passing to the baseline, the wing man cuts through the key looking for a give and go. The high post immediately fills his position on the wing


The 1-4 Overload Basketball Zone Offense
Reversing the Ball (Again)

  • Again, this is the same movement as before, but in the opposite direction

  • The ball is swung from the guard at the baseline to the post man outside back to the point guard

  • Immediately upon making the pass, the post man on the outside cuts along the key, following the ball until he returns to the opposite low post

  • the guard at the baseline steps out to take the place vacated by the cutting post man - i.e., filling in the wing position

  • The point guard continues to swing the ball to the opposite wing



  • And we return to the starting position, ready to run the play again.







The 1-4 Offense is a simple basketball zone offense to run, an extension of the 1-4 Basic Offense. Not complicated, but by overloading one side you get to open up scoring opportunities that the zone defense is generally unprepared to deal with, especially when they expect you to run the basic offense and you throw them this curve ball instead.

Remind your players to be patient and run the play a couple of times, waiting for the opening. On the first pass, when the defense is fresh, it is likely that the zone will hold. But once the ball is swung a couple of times, the defense will get lazy or disoriented and holes will start to appear.

Your players need to swing the ball quickly, move quickly, and keep their eyes open so they can take the opportunities as they arise.





"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."

- Dan Gable






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