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Play Better Basketball:
The Screens that Effective Plays Use

To play better basketball, players need to be able to work together. From the moment the ball is tossed in the opening jump ball, there should no longer be individuals on the court, but rather a group acting as one. The team works to accomplish a common goal - put points on the scoreboard - and to do this means getting the basketball to someone in good position to score.

Unless you are on a fast break, this means running a set offensive play that is designed to break offensive players away from the defense. To do this, players will cut, use jab steps, and set screens for each other. While cutting and jab steps are largely individual skills (although the cutter must clearly communicate with the passer) setting screens is very much a paired effort.

Good screens are essential to effective basketball plays. If you want your players to play better basketball, be sure they understand and practice how to set these three types of screens:

On-Ball, Front Screen

  • The screener (#2) sets the screen for the ballhandler (#1), who uses the screen to drive past the defender, usually to the hoop.
play better basketball - front screen

Off-Ball, Back Screen

  • The screener (#2) sets the screen behind the defender - in his blind spot - so that the cutter (#1) can cut toward the hoop. The screener must allow a step between himself and the defender here, as the defender will step back while trying to catch the cutter.
play better basketball - back screens

Off-Ball, Down Screen

  • The screener (#2) sets the screen for the cutter (#1), usually down low on the court, who uses the screen to cut up toward the ball, to receive the pass. The screener is usually facing the defender.
play better basketball - down screen

If you want your players to play better as a team - and win more games - be sure they can run these screens well. Refer to the page on how to set good screens for the basic fundamentals of setting good screen.

Help your players play better basketball by teaching them more Fundamental Basketball Skills

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