Basketball Zone Offenses
Basic 1-4 Offensive Movement


There are a couple of basketball zone offenses you can use starting from the 1-4 offensive setup. This one is the most straightforward play to run from this setup, simple but effective, and can be mixed with the 1-4 Overload Offense to effectively attack any zone.

The idea behind this is simple - there are two basic methods to defeating a zone defense. One way is to shoot your way out - most zone defenses are set up to protect the key, so they allow the outside shot. If you have some good shooters, you can get the ball to them and let them light up the scoreboard. Eventually your opponent will need to change their defense to stop you, which will open up the inside for you.

But what if you don't have consistent shooters? Then you need to rely on the second zone-buster - you have to move the defense out of position using quick ball movement and cuts through the zone. Holes in the defense will open up, and you take advantage of them.

And that's the idea behind this offensive play.


1-4 Basketball Zone Offenses
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 straight through the key and pops out onto the opposite wing

  • The weak side wing flashes to the point, while the weak side post man flashes to the ball-side high post - the hope here is that the point guard cutting through the key drags the defense with him, and that will leave the high post open

  • The wing with the ball looks to the high post and low post for scoring options


1-4 Basketball Zone Offenses
Reversing the Ball


  • The ball is swung from the wing back to to the point guard

  • Immediately upon making the pass, the wing is going to cut through the key, using the low post as a screen if needed, and pop up on the opposite wing

  • The guard on the far side steps out high on the wing to take the swing pass from the point guard

  • At the same time, the high post will drop to the low post, and the low post will flash to the opposite high post, following the ball

  • The ball is now swung to the opposite wing who has set up low in the wing position, and the high post drops into the low post position while the opposite low post flashes to the high post position


1-4 Basketball Zone Offenses
Second Options


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

  • Immediately upon making the pass to the wing, the point guard is going to cut through the key, looking for a give n go

  • If there is no give and go, the point guard cuts across the key and pops out onto the opposite wing

  • The weak side wing flashes to the point

  • The wing with the ball looks to the high post and low post for scoring opportunities




1-4 Basketball Zone Offenses
Reversing the Ball (Again)


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

  • The ball is swung from the wing back to the point guard

  • Immediately upon making the pass, the wing cuts through the key, using the low post as a screen if needed, and pops up on the opposite wing

  • The far side wing steps out high to receive the swing pass

  • The high post player drops to the low post, and the low post man flashes across the key to the ball-side high post





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





This offense is a simple play to run, but effective. Be sure to have your players moving the ball fast and cutting quickly - zone defenses can be stiff, with defensive players wanting to remain in their assigned position. Quick movement of offensive players and the ball will very often confuse them and move them out of their positions, creating scoring opportunities.

And be sure to drive home to your players that they need to be patient. It is unlikely that holes will open up on the first time you run your options. It is more likely that you will need to reverse the ball and run your options again, and maybe a third time. The more often you run your options, the more likely the defense is to make a mistake.

Have patience, wait for the mistake, and pounce on it.



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