How to read down screens in basketball


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During the last few weeks we have had several basketball players and coaches email us asking about scoring in the half court. Coaches are asking if there is anything they can do to make their offense run more smoothly while players are curious about how they can score more points. The answer to both of these questions relies in down screens.

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How to read down screens in basketball

  1. 1. 1 How to Read Down Screens-HoopSkills.comHow to Read Down Screens-by Coach Dave Stricklinhttp://www.hoopskills.comDuring the last few weeks we have had several players and coaches email usasking about scoring in the half court. Coaches are asking if there is anything theycan do to make their offense run more smoothly while players are curious abouthow they can score more points. The answer to both of these questions relies indown screens.Today, down screens are making a huge resurgence and are once again becominga staple in many teams half-court offense. Coaches like them because they takeaway the overplay, help players get open, and allows to basketball to be reversedeasier. On the other hand, if players can learn how to read these screenscorrectly, they could see their scoring averages possibly before the end of nextseason! Today we are going to talk about the 4 reads that players need to makewhen receiving a down screen as well as how to drill down screens in practice.Catch and ShootAll screens are set in order to get players open. Whether this opening is to reversethe ball or to create a shot depends on the defense. In an ideal situation, thedefender guarding the player receiving the screen gets hung up long enough toleave the offensive player open on the perimeter. When this happens, playersshould come off the screen looking to catch and shoot the basketballimmediately.
  2. 2. 2 How to Read Down Screens-HoopSkills.comCurling the ScreenBefore coming off a down screen players can do two things to increase theirchances to score. First, players need to set their man up for the screen. To do thistake two steps away from the screen before coming off of it shoulder to shoulder.Second, players need to read how their defender is guarding them. If thedefender is on the outside hip this tells the offensive player to curl the screen.When curling the screen, the cut should be as tight as possible ensuring thedefender cant squeeze through. At the same time the cutter needs to have hishands in order to help make the shot quicker!
  3. 3. 3 How to Read Down Screens-HoopSkills.comBodying up the ScreenerA read that players dont usually make often enough is rejecting or back dooringthe screen. As soon as the offensive player notices the defender trying to body upthe screener and be the aggressor, he should reject the screen and go back door.This works because the defender will get caught up on the screen which will makehim a half step slower in reacting to the cut. Another thing you can do in thissituation to improve your chances of scoring is to give the passer a target hand.
  4. 4. 4 How to Read Down Screens-HoopSkills.comFlare the ScreenThe last read I want to talk about is flaring the screen. Generally this occurs whenthe down screen is set on the weak side of the court. If a defender is playing "helpside" defense he will usually try to beat the offensive player to his intended spot.If the offense sees the defender going over the screen, he should flare to thecorner. This will create space between the receiver and his defender which mightlead to an open shot attempt.
  5. 5. 5 How to Read Down Screens-HoopSkills.comHow to Practice Down ScreensLike everything else skill related, the secret to mastering down screens is practice!The more your players can practice reading their defender the better they willbecome at this crucial skill. The best way to give players time to practice is to runa controlled drill in practice. Have players split into groups each containing a guardand post. Instruct two groups to step out on the court - one on defense and oneon offense. The ball starts with the post players on the wing. After passing the ballto the coach at the top of the key, the posts will then set a down screen for theirpartner. This drill can and should be run at several baskets at the same time.When first implementing this drill, tell your defensive players how you want themto guard the down screen. This will make it easier for your offensive players toread the screen until they perfect the skill. If you spend as little as 15 minutes aweek, spread out over several practices, you will soon see your players and youroffense becoming much more efficient.