Many basketball coaches will say that you should select your offense and stick with it from season to season. Is that correct? Are there nuances and strategies to consider? How do you choose which offense to run? When do you choose which offense to run?
We’ll attempt to answer those questions and more in this article.
The majority of basketball coaches do not have the luxury of “selecting” their players. What I mean is that most of us are not big-time college and professional coaches who can recruit and draft the best players. We might be able to recruit and we can certainly choose who makes the team, but not all of us gets to pick the cream of the crop when it comes to players.
The point is, you may have a bunch of great shooting guards who can also penetrate and create their own shots. You might install an offense like the Dribble-Drive or simply tweak your own offensive system to allow them the opportunities to create good scoring chances.
Then … they graduate or move on. Now you are left with no great shooters or ball handlers but you have 1 or 2 big post players that are effective in the lane. That Dribble-Drive you ran last year might not work so well now. Maybe you can make some adjustments to that system of play or maybe you will need to run someting entirely different.
If you’ve been coaching more than a couple of years, you have undoubtedly gone through some drastic lineup changes from year to year. As you can see, your offensive system and strategies may have to deviate every few years as well.
You must be able to adapt your offense to the players on your team!
If you attempt to run an offense that does not utilize your players strengths, your team will not be as good as they can over the course of a season. It is a strategical error to attempt to adapt your players to an offense that was based on previous players.
It should also be mentioned that it can be an error to adapt your players into an offense that someone else runs. You can certainly utilize aspects of any system within your own but if you have a bunch of big, slow players, how effective will they be playing a fast break style offense?
As I said, adapt your offense to your players!
Deciding on the offense you wish to employ is an important decision. Chances are you have an idea of what you want to run based on the current and returning players and by having watched them play during offseason leagues, tournaments, and pick-up games. The ultimate and final decision needs to be made within the first couple weeks of practice. A wrong decision can prove to be quite costly.
I think most coaches will agree that if you make the wrong decision, it is very difficult to change offenses during the season. It is hard to start over at that point! Therefore, make your decision as early as possible (certainly before the season, but definitely within the first week or two).
The right decision is a strategy that will yield great results and help your team win more games!
If you are into your season and you are still deciding what offense you should run, it is a good idea to make sure you incorporate scrimmages into your first several practice sessions. This will help give you a better idea of exactly what kind of players you have available.
Figure out who the better players are and try to build your offense around them. Select an offense that will help your best players get the majority of shots. Select an offense that allows your players to play to their strengths. If your post players lack scoring ability and ball handling skills, would an offense that requires the ball get into the post be a wise decision? If your guards lack scoring and shooting ability but you do have a dominant post player, do you want to base your offense on perimeter shooting?
Certainly you need to incorporate many offensive strategies into your system to keep the defenses honest, but you should build your offense around your strongest players and their abilities.
The offense you select is ultimately your decision. Put some thought into it and then take the time to teach it. Put in the effort to teaching your players how to play offensive basketball. Give your players the best chance you can at success!
To help in your decision-making process, make sure to browse the various sections under the “Motion Offense” category to the left.
Do you have any thoughts to add? Is there anything else that will help in selecting the offense for our basketball teams? Share in the comments!