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Why do we run plays?

Since the rise of social media, coaches share a lot of information worldwide.

Which has made the game grow.  No doubt.

However, the kind of information mostly shared … are X’s and O’s.

It’s a main reason why I see teams all over the world running the same setplays.  At all levels.  And in all age categories.

No harm done, as long as we don’t lose track of our priorities and goals.

I believe the key to winning is rarely the setplays.  Since everybody runs more or less the same.


Is running a setplay a goal?  Do we get a point each time we run a setplay without mistakes?
Sounds funny, but this is the impression I often get when I’m watching a game and its coaching at different levels…

In today’s article, I will focus on two classic  sets, which are ran all over the world.

The first one is a zipper screen into a middle pick-and-roll.

You will recognize the play right away in the video.

It’s a typical play which nearly all ACB teams in Spain run.  And which is copied worldwide.  Often … without success.

Teams seem to move the ball … to run the play.  Which results in a very static play, not creating any flow in the offense.

Do we move the ball in order to run the play? Or do we run the ball in order to move the ball? 

Have a look how Tenerife runs the play in the video below.  Focus on how the setplay is just a tool to create ball movement and a flow, resulting into extra passes and long close-outs:

Even more of a classic is any HORNS situation.

Many teams at the highest level are succesfull running horns sets.

The same sets copied to a level with a lower skill set, less physicality and slower decision making often results in a very static (and inefficient) set.

In the past I wrote “The Secrets of Running Horns“, accompagnied with video breakdowns on how to translate it succesfully to your roster.

One of the best examples of a dynamic Horns set with a great flow and ball movement is this example by the NT of Italy (Coach Ettore Messina):

(… which I shared on my Twitter account by the way.  🙂  I’m not taking anything away from the great resource social media can be for coaches)

All the information is out there, and copy cats are rarely succesfull in basketball.  It’s about which info is suitable for your team and how you adjust and teach it.

That’s it for now!

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