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Coaching High School Basketball "Tips and Offenses for Beating a Zone Defense"

Updated on March 16, 2012

Zones can cause problems for various types of teams. If you don't shoot the ball well from outside or if you team doesn't possess the speed to push the ball up the floor a zone can spell trouble for you. There are various zones that teams will throw at you such as the following: 2--3, 1-3-1, 2-1-2, 1-2-2, triangle and 2, box and 1, and a 1-1-3. I have been coaching basketball for years and have seen them all. The hub will provide you with the knowledge to beat any of them. Beating a zone is not very difficult if your players know how to overcome it.

Beating a Zone Defense Tips

1) If it is a 2 guard front attack it with an offensive 1 guard front, If it is a one guard front attack it with a 2 guard front. This will help to balance your offense and place your guards in the correct places making the defense have trouble covering them all.

2) Move the ball quickly. You want to make sure you express to your offensive players that they do not hold the ball. If you hold the ball it will give the defense time to adjust to where the ball and the other offensive players are. Moving the ball quickly will keep the defense off balance and provide you with multiple offensive opportunities.

3) Attack the gaps or seams! You do not want your guards to do unnecessary dribbling, but as you are moving the ball you want your guards to attack the gaps in the defense where the defense is trying to adjust. When you guards attack the seams they need to look to dish inside.

4) Always have a backside offensive player crash the boards on the back side. Offensive rebounding is a huge key to defeating a disciplined zone defense. You always want you inside players to attack the boards, but the guy we find that is the most dangerous at attacking the offensive glass is the guard that is on the backside when the ball is shot. The defense usually can't adjust to box him out.

5) Attack the middle and look to pass opposite. Getting the ball to the middle of the zone is another key we like to stress. When you get the ball into the middle the defense is in trouble especially if you have a player that can score and pass. One of the most important things we like to stress with our player in the middle is to catch the ball, turn towards the goal and look at the opposite side of the zone. If we don't have an inside player on that side, we will have a guard cutting on the back side who can be a huge offensive threat.


I have placed several videos below. One video is a continuity offense we run against a two guard front zone. The other two videos are quick hitters we run against a two guard front zone. I hope they help. Please answer the poll question at the bottom so I can better deliver information to other coaches.

Zone Offense

Zone Quick Hitter vs. 2-1-2

Quick Hitter Against a Zone Defense

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