Picking the right offense for a youth basketball team can be one of the most difficult decisions for any coach. After evaluating the skill level of a team, coaches must emphasize the sets and skills that will put his team on track for success. But when dealing with newcomers to the sport, sometimes having simple basketball plays to start with is the way to go.

Youth coaches often spend a great deal of time practice planning and developing the right mix of drills to incorporate with their young players. When it comes down to designing an offensive set, being able to score in the half court often dictates success in games. Add these three simple basketball plays that are easy to run to your basketball playbook.

Simple Basketball Plays: Basic Pick and Roll

One of the simple basketball plays even coach should incorporate is the basic pick and roll. This play works well against man-to-man defenses and remains a staple of the game in the professional ranks. Youth basketball offenses can repeat this action over and over until a good look opens up. This play can start in several different alignments.

Using a 4-out, 1-in alignment, the point guard dribbles to the wing, with three players on the opposite perimeter. Player 5 comes up from the low post to set a screen for the point guard on the wing. The ball handler drives off the screen toward the basket while player 5 rolls into the lane. The driver decides to either take a shot or make a pass to the roller. If neither option is available, the driver can kick the ball out to a teammate on the perimeter.

The beauty of this simple basketball play remains the free-flowing nature of the action. The ball handler gets to read and react to the defense. The screen also gets to decide how to move based on the defense’s alignment. Screeners can roll to the hoop or pop to a open spot on the perimeter for a jump shot.

Coaches can layer off-ball actions for the other players as well. This will help keep the weak side defenders occupied and hesitant to help. Basic pick and roll action can be implemented effectively in end-of-game situations and even in transition.

Simple Basketball Plays: Short Corner Jump Shot

Naming the sets can vary from team to team, but this simple basketball play aims to get a open look for a jump shot at the short corner along the baseline.

The play begins with a 3-out, 2-in alignment, with the big men occupying the blocks. The point guard dribbles up and initiates the play with a pass to either wing. The big man on the ball-side of the play comes up to set a screen at the elbow for the point guard after the pass.

The point guard uses the screen and runs a J-shaped cut toward the baseline. The player on the wing looks to pass the ball to the baseline if the point guard is open for a jump shot. If not, the player can dribble to the top of the key and reset the play.

This play works well at the youth level because it involves the basic action of pass and cut. The big man sets a high screen and either roll to the basket or flare for a shot. Having a simple basketball play that can easily reset allows the team to feel more comfortable.

Simple Basketball Plays: Double Screen Curl

The next simple basketball play looks to get another open jump shot. This play uses a 4-out, 1-in alignment to start, though the order along the perimeter doesn’t really matter. For this play, coaches should set the shooter to start in the corner.

The play begins with the point guard dribbling up and making a pass to the 3 on the wing. That player immediately swings the ball to the 4 in the corner. Once the ball ends up in the corner, the point guard and player 3 set a double screen for the shooter, who’s coming up from the opposite corner.

Player 4 looks first to the shooter coming around the double screen. If that option isn’t there, player 4 can then look to player 5, who’s on the low block. 5 mirrors the movement of the ball along the perimeter with each pass, going from elbow to elbow, then to the low block.

This play works well at the youth level because it involves basic movement along the perimeter. The interior player follows a simple run for this basketball play, mirroring the ball with each pass. Should the defense cover both the shooter and the low post, this play can easily be run again in the opposite direction.

Click HERE for a TeachHoops Playbook Template. 


Related: Basketball Combination Defenses


High School Hoops Podcast

High School Hoops

Ep: 153. Picking an Offense for you Team

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