How to Make In-Game Adjustments Against the 2-3 basketball Zone


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During the course of a basketball game there are many things that often separate a more experienced coach from someone just beginning his coaching career. Perhaps one of the more discrete (at least to the everyday fan) characteristics is one's ability or inability to make in-game adjustments.

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How to Make In-Game Adjustments Against the 2-3 basketball Zone

  1. 1. 1How to Make In-Game Adjustments Against the 2-3 Zone-hoopskills.comHow to Make In-Game AdjustmentsAgainst the 2-3 ZoneBy Dave Stricklinhttp://www.hoopskills.comDuring the course of agame there are manythings that oftenseparate a moreexperienced coach fromsomeone just beginninghis coaching career.Perhaps one of the morediscrete (at least to theeveryday fan)characteristics is onesability or inability tomake in-game adjustments.When I first began my coaching career I was often lost and besieged witheverything that takes place during the course of a game. I would often be sooverwhelmed that I would tend to make important adjustments too late or worsesometimes not at all.However as I coached more and more games I began to recognize things a lotfaster. But I soon realized that recognizing what is taking place is only half thebattle. The real trick is learning how to adjust your offense based on what theopposing teams defense is doing.
  2. 2. 2How to Make In-Game Adjustments Against the 2-3 Zone-hoopskills.comToday I am going to share with you three things you should look for when facing a2-3 zone as well as how to adjust your offense based on these three things.What Type Of Zone Are They Playing?The first and easiest thing to recognize is the overall "attitude" of the zone. Is thezone is trying to pressure (often trapping) your players; is it extending and playingthe passing lanes or are all five players sagging in trying to clog up the paint?If the zone is pressuring:Most likely when zones are pressuring they are trying to either A) trap the ballhandler or B) force the ball handler to put his/her head down as he dribbles thebasketball.Solution: If the zone is trying to trap, keep the ball out of the short corner and offthe baseline. This is a prime trapping spot because the sideline/baseline can act asanother defender in the trap. Also it might be a good idea to practice driving withyour head up against pressure (you could add a kick out to the opposite wing toemphasize to the ball handler keeping their eyes up) in the practices immediatelyleading up to the game.If the zone is extending:When a zone is extended it can create uncertainly in the minds of the offensiveplayers. Is that player really open? Can I safely pass the ball to that player? ShouldI not pass and instead just shoot the ball myself?Solution: If the zone is extended there are two things your offense can do toexploit the defense. 1) Pass the ball to the high post! When the ball is entered to
  3. 3. 3How to Make In-Game Adjustments Against the 2-3 Zone-hoopskills.comthe high post it will force the defense to collapse around the ball. If the defensedoes not collapse then your player should have an open 12-15 foot jump shot. 2)Attack the gaps. Instruct your guards to penetrate the gaps between thedefenders. This will again force the defense to collapse which should result in awide open drive and kick situation.If the zone is sagging:If the defense is sagging generally they are doing so because your interior game ismuch deadlier then your perimeter game.Solution: This is the perfect time to run set plays or "quick hitters." When it comesto defenders, It is human instinct to not want to give up a wide open three pointshot. Hopefully by reversing the basketball to an open shooter (after a ballreversal or two) it will trick the defense into extending more than they are usedtoo. When this happens either penetrate the gaps or jam the ball inside to get ahigh percentage shot.Who covers the high post?Realistically one of two players will be responsible for covering the high post.First, one of the top guards could be designated to defend this area. Second, themiddle defender in the zone could be assigned this responsibility.If the guard covers it:Then they will not be in good position to A) prevent quick ball reversals and B)dribble penetration.
  4. 4. 4How to Make In-Game Adjustments Against the 2-3 Zone-hoopskills.comSolution: Instruct your perimeter players to reverse the ball quickly and penetratethe gaps.If the post covers it:Then typically the bottom forwards are instructed to collapse to the blocks andprotect the paint.Solution: If the bottom forwards do collapse to the blocks then the corners will bewide open. Have your shooters slide down. If they do not collapse and stay on theperimeter then a hi-low will be wide open.Do They Bump Off Dribble-Ups From The Corner?A lot of offenses, both man to man and zone, try and overload one side of thefloor (having three or four players on one half of the court) in order to put thedefense at a disadvantage.A tactic that has been used for years is to have a player on the wing, at the highpost, on the block and in the corner all on the same side. When the ball handerdribbles up from the corner (the bottom forward will undoubtedly be matchedup) this should open up multiple scoring opportunities.If the bottom forward stays on the ball handler:Then have the offensive player on the block step to the short corner and receive apass (this will drag the middle man in the zone out of the paint). As the middleman comes out to the short corner the high post will dive to the strong side block.If the top guard bumps the bottom forward:
  5. 5. 5How to Make In-Game Adjustments Against the 2-3 Zone-hoopskills.comThen the remaining top defender is forced cover both the high post and yourother shooter. Either way you will get an open look at the basket.The 2-3 zone defense is the most widely used zone defense in the game and soonce you are able to comfortably and quickly make proper in game adjustmentsyou should be able to give numerous opposing coaches and players defensive fits!