When you’re coaching young basketball players, it can be tricky to get them open for shots off an inbounds pass. I’ve found that the process requires you consistently practice inbound plays. These plays need to be simple enough that young players understand them, but still challenging enough that they can sharpen their skills. The following are a few great plays you can practice and use during games with your team.
Scoring Off the Inbound Pass
The goal of this play is to encourage your best scoring player to score right off of the inbound pass. Start by having two players, 1 and 5, cut up to the slots off screens from the other two players. Right after the original two players go past the screens, player 2 cuts around a screen from 4 and curls towards the basket. Then, they will receive an inbound pass, finishing with an open layup. As a coach, be sure to remember that the point of this play is to surprise the defense, meaning, the more you run it, the less effective it will be.
This is another play designed to open up an opportunity to score directly from the inbound pass. They will either have a perimeter shot from the elevator screen, or an open layup with a back screen. Player 2 kicks off the play by cutting directly under the basket and then setting up a back screen on player 3’s defender. Player 3 then moves to the basket with the goal of receiving an inbound pass. 2 will then cut between 4 and 5. They will have to close things off and create an elevator screen on 2’s defender. Player 1 will then inbound the basketball to 2, who will have to open for either a three-point or a midrange shot.
Split Down the Middle
The point of this play is to ensure that your strongest post player gets close to the basket for an inbound pass and finish. You start by having 2 and 4 cutting opposite directions to move their defenders away from the middle. During this process, 3 sets a screen for 5. 5 will have to keep an eye on the defenders as they move towards the hoop, waiting for 1 to pass them the ball. 3 will then get to the top of the key in case 5 isn’t open. They can also turn to face the ball and finish inside.
The more creative you get with these plays, the better. Basketball is poetry in motion, so utilizing spacing on the court and your players’ physical abilities is key to creating unique, well-executed plays.