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Common Basketball Strategies Explained

Jun 21, 2008
All sports involve some level of strategy. Coaches develop plays that enable their team to get in good positions and score. Basketball is no different. Also in basketball, as with all sports, there are some traditional plays that most coaches use.

These traditional plays are usually modified somewhat to prevent predictability, but they are all the same basic moves that are used by teams all over. These basic moves are explained below for both defensive and offensive play.

Players and coaches should all understand these traditional strategies and make them a part of their overall game play. They are tested methods that work when done correctly, which is why they are old stand bys for almost every team and player on the court.

Defensive Strategy

The defense is the team that is protecting the basket and trying to prevent scoring. The main goal of every defense is to stop the ball and try to gain possession of the ball before the opposing team scores. With that in mind, the two most common defensive strategies are zone defense and man to man defense. Both types of defensive strategies have a focus on making sure all players on the opposing team are covered and never allowed to get loose to score.

The zone defense is where each defensive player works in their own area or zone. They guard that zone and any player that comes into their zone.

Man on man defense, on the other hand, is where each player has a specific player they guard regardless of where they move on the court.

It is really the coach who will dictate what type of defense is played. A coach may choose to use only one style or they may vary styles. In both strategies, though, the type of defense being used is a basic structure. Players are ultimately responsible for making sure they cover each other.

Offensive Strategy

Offensive strategies are more varied. Coaches will often have their own set plays. However, theses offensive plays will usually involve two key moves - cuts and screens.

A cut is a quick move by a player without the ball to get in a good position to shoot. A screen is when a player blocks an opponent so his teammate can cut by him.

These two moves are usually combined to create what is called the pick and roll. The screen makes his move, and then the cutter makes his move. The ball is passed and basket is shot.

The main objective of the offense is to use moves that are quick and allow for passing and good basket position. The point guard is usually the person on court who is directing plays from the coach's cues.

Having good strategy is one of the basic elements of good game play. A team with good strategies will be lost on the court and eaten up by the opposing team. It is also important, though, that a team can vary their playing style. Being predictable is never good because you always have the upper hand when you can anticipate what the opposing player or team is about to do.
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