Elements of a Winning Basketball Playbook

Design a winning playbook tailored to your players with these tips and videos from STACK Expert Kyle Ohman.

drawing up a play

Your team is down by one with less than eight second left in the game. What play do you pull out of your trusty playbook? The right play wins the game; the wrong one sends your team back to the locker room with their heads down.

It's a no-brainer that as a coach, your job is to determine your team's style of play and call the right play in the clutch. The best coaches always make sure their players are placed where they can help the team get an open shot.

Example: Have a really good big man? Run a play to get him a catch deep on the block, not on the wing where he has to go one-on-one off the dribble.

Major college coaches have the luxury of recruiting players who fit their system and style of play. The real artists are the high school coaches and small college coaches who consistently win championships. These guys shine despite having to adjust their game plan to take advantage of their player personnel every year.

What these coaches have is a playbook with specific plays tailored for every player to get easy baskets. It's easier said than done. Creating the playbook takes lot of time and effort on your part. However, the end result can be a playbook for the ages. (Read ID Coach: The Perfect Playbook.)

Designing a Basketball Playbook

Look at your top players. Then select two or three plays that set each of them up for easy baskets. That way, you'll always have a go-to option during games. Say a player is struggling at the beginning of a game. Run a play for him to get an easy hoop. Seeing the ball go in will boost his confidence and help him get back on track.

Finding the right plays is a challenge. A great way to find new ones is by watching other teams run their offenses. From the NBA, college or high school, watch a variety of styles and sets and use them or adapt them to suit your team. The following is a list of play types from around the country to get you started.

Top Basketball Plays for Any Playbook

Back door plays

These are great to use if your team is being pressured defensively, especially when your players are consistently being denied the passing lanes.

Ball screen plays

A ball screen forces the defense to help each other and communicate, leaving them open to a breakdown or a mistake and leading to an easy basket.

Cross screen/down screen plays

In these plays, a shooter sets a really good screen, then rolls or pops out for an open shot when his/her defender switches off.

Pin down plays

If you have a good shooter, pin down plays are great, because they create shot opportunities and space for the ball handler to drive, because there is no help.

Baseline out-of-bounds plays

You should try to score between six and eight points per game from set out-of-bounds plays. They could be the difference in a close game.

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