Whatever happened to “pass and screen away”? – Simple motion offense for youth basketball
Article by Patrick Pollock
I grew up playing my high school ball in the mid to late 80’s in Orange County, Ca. At the time, every coach was running Flex, 5 men passing game, or a simple motion offense. As a player, you had to know to follow your pass, which sets up your screen away and the player getting the screen had to know how to set the defender up. It seems in the last ten years; those concepts have gone the way of the dodo. I see more set plays, pick and roll, and “get out of his/her way’ type offenses, today in high school and youth basketball than ever before. A few years back for my youth teams I got from a Coaching friend of mine, Jeff Beeler, I put in a simple motion/Cutting offense, that when executed, you get either a layup cutting to the basket or the 15-18ft jumper at or around the foul line. I only called the offense, 5-out motion. Any coach whoever had to play against a good discipline team that sets good screens, you know it is only a matter of time before you are asking the simple question, “why is that player so wide open?”
You can start players as you see fit, but having big’s screen for smalls is always safe in a simple motion offense. Personally, I like a stagger. I have a big down screen for a guard and a guard down screen for a big. That way depending on what side of the floor you start, you can get a shot or dive with a ball handler or a post with a big. Looking at the diagram is left right and down).
Frame 1: Start with your five men. You can have your bottom two players either commence on the block or just off the block. But have proper spacing.
Frame 2: Bottom players begin to walk players into the block area. Wings then set a screen right above the block area. Players 2 & 4, need to wait for the screen and rub tightly off the screen. (Coaching Cue when teaching setting screens. Have them rub shoulders)
Frame 3 – players pop to the wings, and the ball can go either right or left. In frame 3, the ball has gone to the two man, and the five is now posting up. As soon as the ball gets to the wing, the opposite wing, makes a strong, hard basket cut to the middle of the core all the way to the block. Now if there is not an immediate post, the five man needs to exit to the corner.
Once the pass is made, the one man looks to set a down screen for the player on the opposite block area. He will then look to pop to the foul line or higher to receive a pass if the five man did not move the ball to the cutter.
After one the 1 sets a down screen they pop out to the wing. The four man who did not get the ball on the basket cut will exit out the direction he came to the corner.
Frame 4: You should be back to 5 out. The ball is swung, and repeat pattern is going the other way.
Frames 5&6: repeat pattern is going the other way.
Scoring opportunities on this simple motion offense:
• On the down screen
o Guard popping out could get a quick shot
o If the post is the one setting a down screen, look for hard post up
• When the ball goes to the wing:
o Quick shot, possibly drive over the top.
o The hard basket cut from opposite wing.
Important they take a hard line to the middle of the key to the block
• On the down screen from the top:
o A player getting the screen can pop up hard off screen for 15-20ft shot.
o They can look to curl the down screen if defender trails.
o If the defender over plays, look to backdoor cut
• Ball reversal:
o From the top, hard drive going away from the direction the ball came from
Teaching points for a simple motion offense:
• Work on setting screens. Here is a great video from the legendary Coach Hubie Brown on setting screens. It will give some great points and develop some key vocabulary you can use with your team.
• Run this 5-0 till they can do the pattern seamlessly.
o Have them talk out what they are doing. If they can verbalize what they are doing, they should be able to do it.
• Verbal Cues to use:
o Pass to the wing
o Cut to the basket, back out the way you came
o Down screen, Pop out to the wing
o Reverse the ball
If you can get your players to cut hard, set good screens, you will get high percentage shots each time.