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Basketball Offensive Tips

The offensive game has changed drastically since the invention of the game to the evolution of the three-point line to the present day.

If you look at the NBA (the highest level of competition), a lot of ‘old-school’ coaches and fans have grown tired of the increasing one-on-one game and two man game while the rest of the teammates on the floor stand and watch as spectators. Even in the last ten to fifteen years, offense in basketball has seen remarkable changes and innovation.

A large portion of youth and high school basketball coaches are observing this trend trickle down into today’s youth, in which many young players want to imitate their favorite player’s or team’s game.

Unfortunately, the result is a lack of ball movement and off-the-ball screening which has killed the offensive game at the youth level. Coaches are challenged to preach to their kids time and time again to “move without the ball” and “not to stand and watch the ball handler.”

Coaches constantly need to push the college game into their player’s heads, lecturing about the basics of off the ball movement.

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Basketball Offensive Tips

I think the biggest misconception with today’s young athletes is the thought that you can only score with the ball in your hands. This is not true. Certainly, you need the ball to shoot (and thus score), but the opportunity to get open and find a high percentage shot is all a result of off the ball movement.

Unfortunately, the offensive IQ of youth basketball players may not be as high as it once was. This does not mean that players are dumber than they once were, but rather exposed to more styles and types of basketball than ever before.


Players at the professional and And1 level are able to pull off complex one-on-one moves because they are insanely talented and gifted with the ball. Your average youth or high school basketball player, on the other hand, is likely no where close to that skill level.

Ball movement, consequently, becomes your number one offensive weapon.

It’s no hidden secret that the ball moves quicker from one spot to the next via pass when compared to dribbling from point A to point B. Thus a good basketball offense will quickly swing the ball from one side of the court to the other. Constantly drill into your team’s head the importance of swinging the ball quickly and making every dribble count. If a player has an open path to the hoop, then penetrate the lane at all costs.

Quick passing and vertical dribble penetration always breaks down even the best defense and will keep them on their heels. It’s one of the best basketball offensive tips I can give you.

The greatest way to free up a teammate for an open shot is via a screen. Now some coaches prefer on-the-ball screens while others prefer off-the-ball screens while an even higher portion enjoys a combination of both. The reason some coaches shy away from on-the-ball screens is because at the youth level this often allows the other three offensive players on the floor to stand and watch the other two.

With quick ball movement, one or two solid off-the-ball screens will free up a teammate for an open shot. Continually stress the importance of setting a rock hard screen with two feet planted shoulder-length apart. Instruct the player “coming off the screen” to drive his or her defender into the screen by running off as close as possible to the screener. This is very important as a screen is not effective unless the player runs tight off the screen.

Youth and high school basketball coaches must teach movement; but not just sloppy, meaningless movement. I like to call it, “movement with a purpose.”

A good offensive team at the high school or college level rarely has any one of the five players standing still at any given moment. They’re always moving but moving for a purpose – moving to establish a screen, moving to run a defender into a screen, or moving from a “V cut” to create space between the defender.

Enable your players to move with a purpose by establishing a basic offensive philosophy and then adding “plays” off that basic set to ensure high percentage shots. Keep things simple for basketball offensive tips that work.



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