Weekly X’s and O’s – Motion Offense Breakdown | Screen Away

This week we are breaking down our motion offense and building it up with some basic skills breakdown. Before launching into the X’s and O’s, it is worth mentioning that the “skills” we are referring to are the perceptions involved in executing the technical details.

Whilst the technical details and micro skills are important, we think that the ability to perceive when to execute said techniques ranks a little higher if not at the same level.

Our U16 team are learning about screens for the first time this season. The Austrian Leagues do not permit any screens to be set in the U14 levels. This meant that whilst our guys learned the basic Motion offense last season, with rules on off ball movement, we are introducing actual off ball screens this season.

With our Motion Offense, when the ball is passed from slot to slot, we want the player who made the pass to screen away.

Initially when we introduce the drill, we are more concerned with the rotations as opposed to the details.


The drill is simple enough in the sense that the lines in the slots have basketballs and players on the wings do not.

Player from the slot sets an away screen and we script what action we want our player without the ball to perform. At this moment, we are working on movement patterns, not off ball screens.


When we perform this drill during games, it becomes organised as everyone is performing the same cuts and actions, as there are no reads involved.

The issue with this is that it doesn’t help the learning process or the perception action coupling that is necessary for skill acquisition.


Therefore, once we have performed a couple of repetitions in the practice environment, we can introduce variables. These scripted defenders are giving the players a read. We can decide how random we want it.

This adds an element of chaos and disruption into the drill. As such, it doesn’t always look great. However, this is a core component of being able to perceive the action before executing the skill needed.


The benefits of adding defenders into the drill are as follows. First, we are now actually working on off ball screens and not just movement patterns.

Second, the offense doesn’t know how the defense will play them, they are actively engaged in the drill. This also helps us improve the angle of the screen because we are setting it on an actual person and not space.

Additionally, it works on the timing of the passes and cuts; the perception action coupling and the speed that is necessary to play the game.


In order to completely randomise it and make it a competitive game, we play 3v2, where the passer on the slot cannot score.

Slot to slot pass triggers the away screen and the guys play to a set score. We can progress or regress the drill by including a time or pass limit and/or encouraging the defense to guard a certain way (without the offenses knowledge).


That’s all for this week. I hope you guys enjoy seeing what we do within our practices. If there is a specific action or drill that you would like us to share, just drop us a message and we’ll be happy to do so.

As we progress in practice, we will be adding our dribble penetration principles and ball screen concepts into our motion offense. That is something to look out for in the coming weeks.

Until next week.

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