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Basic Principles to Attack Zone Defense

Kiley Yates, South O’Brien HS, Paullina, Iowa

*Transition - Attack the zone before it gets a chance to set up.

*Ball Movement from strong side to the top to the weak side.  Reverse it once to get a good shot. Reverse it twice to get a great shot. Throw the skip pass from wing to wing or from corner to point or corner to weak side elbow.  Force the baseline defenders to guard the wing and enter the ball to the short corner and post man.

*Player Movement - Post should flash to a gap in the zone.  Attack two inside shoulders of the defense.  Make two defenders guard one offensive player.

*Offensive Rebound - Both posts and the weakside wing must attack the board and get second and third shots.  We want to double team the weakside board. Some believe that offense starts when the first shot goes up. Guards will rotate back on defense.

*Understand who is defending you - When attacking a 2-3 zone, the perimeter offensive players need to know where the defender that is guarding them came from. If a guard takes you, pass to another guard. If a forward takes you, pass to the short corner and dive the post and relocate to the long corner.

*Spacing - We want to be at least 15 feet apart and up to 18 feet apart. Poor spacing will allow one defender to guard two offensive players. Offense is spacing and spacing is offense.

*Pass Fakes and Shot Fakes - Fake a pass to move the zone, make a pass to get a shot.  Fake a shot to penetrate into the lane.

*Triple Threat - Be ready to shoot when you catch the ball.  Be a threat to score or penetrate.

*Screen - For the ball, the outside of the zone or the middle man in the zone.  Force baseline defenders to guard the ball above the volleyball end line and enter the ball to short corner and post man.

*Penetrate the Gaps in the zone.  Make two defenders guard the ball. Attack the inside shoulders of the defense.

*Freeze Dribble - Take the ball hard at one defender. i.e. O1 dribbles at X1 and passes to the wing on the same side.

*Inside-Outside - Enter the ball into the post to force the zone to collapse. Defenders will turn their head towards the ball on post entry.  Pass to perimeter shooters who have relocated. This simulates the passing angles from shooting drills. Also, post entry and look for skip to opposite wing.

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