Easy Basketball Plays
The Split Screens Play
Simple Movement, Big Opportunities

To refer to any good offenses as easy basketball plays is a little misleading - it implies ineffectiveness. In reality, it is the simplest things that so often are the most effective. Any play that focuses on basketball fundamentals is a good offense in my books, especially good if you are coaching youth basketball.

The Split Screens Play is simple but effective, and something I particularly like when coaching youth basketball, when you really don't have specified positions for players and you want them to get experience at all positions on the floor.

If you are coaching high school basketball, run this play when you have players that are interchangeable - able to play several positions - particularly for teams that are smaller inside, but quicker.

The play has simple movements, taking players quickly from low to high, from inside to outside. The more flexible your players can be on-court, the more opportunities this play will open up.

Easy Basketball Plays
The Split Screen Play: Set up and First Option

  • Players set up as in the first diagram, with a point guard, two wings and two forwards on the blocks

  • The play begins with a pass to a wing

  • This is immediately followed by two screens away from the ball - #1 screens for #2, and #5 screens for #4
  • Both players receiving screens flash across the court, toward the ball, looking to receive a pass and take a shot

Note: screeners must remember to roll out after setting the pick, since that may open them up into position for a pass and shot as well

Easy Basketball Plays
The Split Screen Play: Reversing the Ball

  • If either of these passes are not available, the wing (#3) swings the ball back, passing to the new point guard #2

  • Immediately, two screens happen again - this time, both wings drop down and screen for the forwards, who flash to the wing / high post areas

  • Again, it is important for the wing to roll out after they set their screens as they might find themselves in good scoring positions

Easy Basketball Plays
The Split Screen Play: The Other Side of the Court

  • The team now runs the play again - same cuts and passing / scoring opportunities on the opposite side of the court

  • Cuts need to be quick, moves must be aggressive, and players need to set solid picks and roll out afterward

Easy Basketball Plays
The Split Screen Play: Repositioning

  • If nothing opens up, the team finishes back in its original position, although players are not where they started
  • e.g.: #1 is at wing instead of point; #2 is low post instead of wing

  • From here the team runs the play again

Is it an "easy basketball play"? Sure it is - only a couple of picks and cuts, repeated over and over again.

Is it effective? Sure it is, given the right personnel and if it is run in the right way.

But to help make any play effective, it is important to realize a few things about choosing and running plays for your team:

  • Patience works - after a few passes, the defense will start to slack off - players need to wait for and act on the opportunity when it arises
  • Players need to move and pass with intensity every time. You always want to control the game tempo - whether you are on offense or defense, you want to be in control - moving the ball quickly, making sharp and accurate passes, will help you maintain that control
  • The play you choose must suit your players - this play will not work for a team with big, slow players who can't play outside the key, but would likely be much more effective for teams with players that are smaller and more versatile.

"You don't beat people with surprise, you beat them with execution."

- John McKay