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10 Principles of Attacking Zone Defenses

10 Principles of Attacking Zone Defenses

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Published by: jumasharon on Jul 15, 2011
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Basketball Zone OffenseBasketball Zone OffenseBasketball Zone OffenseBasketball Zone Offense
Most teams play Zone defenses for various reasons, maybe to be ableto contain a fast team, maybe they feel the opponents do not shootvery well from outside and many other reasons. Through the years aZone defense has created problems for very good teams and has alsowon a couple of championships. Here are 10 key principles you canuse or consider in designing any Zone offense.
10 Principles to Attacking any Zone10 Principles to Attacking any Zone10 Principles to Attacking any Zone10 Principles to Attacking any Zone DefenseDefenseDefenseDefense....
1. The Fast Break.1. The Fast Break.1. The Fast Break.1. The Fast Break.
The first and easier way to beat a Zone defense is by a fast-break. Boxout well and rebound, give a quick outlet pass go for your fast break. If the opponents scored, inbound fast and push the ball up the floor asquickly as possible, before the defensive zone can get set.
2. Out Number 2. Out Number 2. Out Number 2. Out Number thethethethe defensedefensedefensedefense(Overload)the zone(Overload)the zone(Overload)the zone(Overload)the zone
Outnumber the defense covering aZone area. Some people refer to this asoverload. By doing so, the defense findsit difficult to cover everyone, forcing ashift that will create an opening thatcould possibly lead to a basket. Thediagram A here shows the possibleapproach you would give to a two guardfront defense. Always go odd against aneven front or even against an odd frontalignment.
 
 
Diagram B shows a possible approachyou would give to a one guarddefensive front. Notice D1 has to takecare of O1 & O3, D2 has to take care of O1 & O2 and at the baseline D4 has totake care of O2,O4 & O5
3. Attacking the gaps.3. Attacking the gaps.3. Attacking the gaps.3. Attacking the gaps.
Dribbling is an effective tool in attackinga Zone defense. It is most effective inattacking the Zone gaps. Perimeter players should look to dribble-penetratethe gaps in the zone and kick out or look to dump inside to the post player.One of the most effective plays onpenetration is the Circle movementCircle movementCircle movementCircle movement. If you train your team well to understand itthen it would be very effective to createchances whenever you penetrate theZone gaps.
4. Interior Play4. Interior Play4. Interior Play4. Interior Play---- Get the ball insideGet the ball insideGet the ball insideGet the ball inside
Look to get the ball inside for high-percentage shots. The high posthigh posthigh posthigh post is a veryEFFECTIVEEFFECTIVEEFFECTIVEEFFECTIVE position to get points against a Zone defense. When the ball is atthis position, he (the high post) can shoot the ball, initiate a penetration to thebasket, and pass to the low post player slashing behind the defense at thebaseline, or sealing the defense at the low post. He can also pass to theperimeter player cutting to the basket or to the shooters at the wing or baseline,skip pass to stretch the defense. The high post becomes the second play maker.The low postlow postlow postlow post with the ball MUSTMUSTMUSTMUST face the basket and be threat to play. This way
 
 
he’s able to see the other post and the perimeter players. This creates openingsto beat the Zone. With the ball inside, it causes problems for the Zone especiallywith aggressive posts, they could be fouled, or they suck up the defense for anopen three-pointer.
5. Shoot the ball & Get another Shot.5. Shoot the ball & Get another Shot.5. Shoot the ball & Get another Shot.5. Shoot the ball & Get another Shot.
 Take the high percentage shots such as the lay ups and shots near the rim usingyour post players. This will force the Zone to help inside giving a chance to theperimeter shot or the 3 point shot. Have good shot selection giving yourself achance to rebound and get another shot much closer to the basket. Practicetaking high percentage shots.
6. Move and Maintain Good Spacing6. Move and Maintain Good Spacing6. Move and Maintain Good Spacing6. Move and Maintain Good Spacing
Cut into the zone and pause on open areas or gaps. The movements MUST bepurposeful, intended to drag the defender to create space or gap – Drag and Fill(a dribble can be used drag the defender). As in the post movement, the firstcutter is intended to create a play for the second or third person. Keep thespacing in order to stretch the zone (Seal the defender to create more space).With good spacing, you are able to pass the ball well from high post to a wing or corner, and then skip pass to the opposite side. With the spacing, then Playersare able to move into the gaps and passing lanes in the zone.
7. Offensive Rebounding7. Offensive Rebounding7. Offensive Rebounding7. Offensive Rebounding
Unlike in Man to Man defense, Zone defense does not have clear cutresponsibilities to box out. Crash the offensive boards aggressively with your hands up ready to rebound. Read where the ball is coming off the backboard andfight to obtain the inside position. The offensive rebound gives you the high-percentage shots you need to win. Always have the back side rebounder readyto crash the boards.
8. Freeze the Defense8. Freeze the Defense8. Freeze the Defense8. Freeze the Defense
Perimeter players MUST receive the ball in "triple-threat" position, ready to shoot,look inside to pass, or penetrate. This act as well as the ball fake or fake passfreezes the defense. The Zone will react to a good ball fake to allow the creationof a possible pass inside the zone, a better pass for an open shot or apenetration to the basket.

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