Motion Offense Principles Against The Switch

Offense Against a Switching Defense
By Bob Starkey, Basketball Hoop Thoughts

Below our some principles we utilize when running our motion offense against a switching defense. I think there are also some key components to utilize when diagraming set plays or entries involving screens to combate the switch. One thing that is important is that you need to work offensively against the switch a little every day if possible.

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Spacing (High & Wide)

It is critical that we maintain proper spacing...of course this is true of motion in general but it is probably magnified against switching defenses. If we are high and wide, we have more room to slip screens. If we are high and wide, we have more room to cut or drive vs. mismatches.

Don't Cut to an Occupied Area

You can’t slip a screen to the post if we have a post player there already.

Players Can't Cut to the Same Area At Once

We don’t want a player making a back cut off a back screen and the screener slip or roll back to the basket.

Hold Ball for a 2 Count

Even more important against switching defenses...slow down so you can get a better look as to what is going on.

If You Have the Ball, Keep Your Eye On Screeners

Against teams that switch, the screener is the more viable cutter...the screener will be open far more than the original cutter, so lock your vision on the screener as a possible receiver.

Cut to Create Help

Sometimes a good hard cut will draw both the original defender as well as the defender that is switching.

2nd Cut Is to the Rim, the Arc, or the Ball

Might be the most important rule...after you screen, your 2nd cut should be to the rim (if it is unoccupied) or you should space out to the arc...the exception is if you have an open path to the ball...you never want to stand...you never want to get caught floating inside the arc.

"See" the Defense When Making the Pass

A common turnover vs. the switch is a quick pass on the perimeter where the receiver is usually open, but because of the switch the ball is passed directly to a defender that has switched into the passing lane.

Maintain a 2 Guard Front As Much As Posible

Obviously this will be easy in Triangle, but we want the 2 guard front as much as possible in Regular and Post Exchange as well...the 2 guard front automatically helps us with spacing and places our players in good screening positions.

Don't Worry About Mismatches

The offense will get us good shots if we execute...often teams will work to get a mismatch and then stand around trying to take advantage of it...continue to work your offense and we will get the shots we want.

Pick the Match-ups

Remember, when a team switches, you have great say in who guards you. Use that as a guide in screening. If you are a post, look to screen a perimeter. If you are a big post, screen for a smaller post.

Cutting Is As Important As Screening

Every action doesn’t have to be a screen. Sometimes a cut is more effective. Example: a post player sets a back screen for a perimeter and forces the defense to switch. We don’t want to re-screen and allow them to switch back. When you have the match-up, a v-cut, basket cut or inside cut can be just as effective as another screen that may have them switch back.

Be Patient

The absolute best way to attack the switch is to simply have a well executed possession. A couple of ball reversals, good screens, hard cuts and good spacing will usually lose one or two defenders to get us the shot we want.

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Coach Bob Starkey
Bob Starkey is one of the top minds in all of lady's college basketball. His latest project is a Basketball Coaching Series of books that include The Art of Being An Assistant Coach, The Art of Scouting and The Art of Motivation.
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