Use a basketball multi-purpose offense, and then spend more time teaching your players how to play

When I started coaching basketball at the 8th grade level, my ability to teach defense was far, far ahead of my ability to teach offense.  I believe this was due to three main reasons:

  1. I assumed that fundamentals are intuitive, I used more practice time on patterns than just teaching how to play (View a previous blog post on the drills I use to teach offensive basketball)
  2. my strengths as a player were defense-oriented
  3. thought young players could grasp complicated offensive concepts

Based on self-evaluation, talking to other coaches and players, and the experience of developing my philosophy, I went searching for offensive systems that could teach me about offense, so then I could teach my players.  I wanted an offense that could be used against man to man, zone, and hybrid defenses.  I found two systems that could meet these needs, the 1-4 offense and open post motion offense.  Today’s blog will look at the 1-4 offense with these three videos on the Post Series, Wing Series, and entries into the offense:

I love about the simplicity of the 1-4 offense.  There are two basic patterns to teach, with multiple entries that can be created once the base offense has been learned.  These patterns naturally lend to creating good spacing and being able to identify the type of defense being played.

I began using this offense with Miami University Club Players.  The offense was far simpler than what they had experienced as high-level high school players, but I believe they appreciated the ability to make plays within the framework of the offense.  We averaged 3-5 backdoor layups from the 1st cutter in the post series, and another 2-4 layups from the high-low pass out of the wing series.  I wanted our offense to work the post, while getting our jump shots out in transition or from inside-out passes from the post.  This offense is great at teaching the players to cut hard and creating three passing options out of any situation.  If your team is facing a team that likes to force offenses to the baseline, the 1-4 offense clears out the backside and allows great driving opportunities from a skilled wing player to rip through and get to the basket before post help can arrive.

Because of the simplicity, I was able teach the fundamentals of proper footwork and how to read the opportunities the defense is giving your team.  The positioning of the players naturally put the offense into the gaps of any zone defense.  In the wing series, we were very successful having the low post player cut to the block or short corner, and working the high-low game through the high post player.

My main resources in learning the 1-4 offense were from these books about Ralph Miller and Dean Smith.

If you would like to purchase my Ebook on the 1-4, Open Post, and High Post Offenses, click here.   Have a great Monday and happy coaching!




Here are a couple of my most viewed posts.

Click here for my book review of Toughness:  Developing True Strength On and Off the Court by Jay Bilas

Click here for my book review of The Power of Negative Thinking by Bob Knight

Click here for my book review of Bo’s Lasting Lessons:  The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership

Brothers should bunk

-I am the author of The Basketball Match Up Zone and Multi-Purpose Basketball Offense ebooks.

-If interested in having me work with your organization on coaching, leadership, or customer service, please call me at 513.330.0319 or email at



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