Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Teaching 4-out motion

This is a progression of drills (4 on 0, layups, 1 on 1) and 4 on 4 to develop basic motion offence for youth. See Teaching Motion Offence to Young Players (pdf), Offence - 4-out 1-in motion summary, Tactics - Motion offence build-up, Youth Basketball - Offence, Layups - Open-post motion.

4 on 0
- floor spots (spacing, balance)
- basket cuts
- blast cuts
- backdoor cuts
- drive and kick

Layups (then 1 on 1)
- give and go
- blast cut
- backdoor
- drive and kick
- dribble-at (pressure release)

4 on 4
- shrink
- keep-away
- no-dribble scrimmage (add dribble-ats)
- drive and kick scrimmage
- pressure defence.

Also see Attack/defend - Motion breakdowns.

1) Drills

a) Floor spots and balance

4 on 0, mark guard and wing spots on the floor. On "go", four players sprint from halfcourt to fill all four spots. Repeat.
- number the spots 1-2-3-4
- mark and use the corners too (6 spots)
- for 4-out 1-in, mark a spot in front of the basket (7 spots).


- players fill all four spots, then find a new spot on "change"

- from halfcourt, one player dribbles to a guard spot, the other players fill the other spots

- the player with the ball passes, all players without the ball find a new spot
- a player passes, cuts to the basket, everyone without the ball finds a new spot

- a player drives the lane and passes, fill spots (and behind the drive), repeat
- coach shoots at the far basket, the players inbound on a make or outlet on a miss, dribble upcourt, and fill all spots (optionally the wings go to the corners then blast cut).

See Tactics - Beginners offence, Fast break - Spurs floor balance.

Variation - start with 3-out motion, see Scrimmage - Bigelow 3 on 3 with passers, Tactics - Spurs 3 on 0, Defending - Procopio 3 on 3 shrink.up

b) Give-and-go layups

From a guard spot, players pass to coach on the wing and cut for a return pass and layup, continue, then switch sides.


- a coach defends the passer, who face cuts if coach does not jump to the ball on the pass, or backcuts if coach does jump to the ball

- give and go layups from all floor spots (e.g. a guard to guard pass)

- players make the scoring pass, not coach (or keep the ball and attack behind the cutter)

- 1 on 1.

See Layups - Ganon Baker hornet, Give and go,
Jr. NBA cutting, 1 on 1 - Ganon Baker give and go.up

c) Basket cuts

4 on 0, basket cut on a guard-wing pass, fill open spots, reverse the ball, basket cut on the other side, continue.


- a coach randomly defends passers, jumping to the ball or not

- fill the spot closest to the ball through an elbow (read spot), combining a fill cut with a lead for the ball (v-cut for a pass, or go backdoor if denied in a game)

- pass fake to the cutter, hit the fill guy

- basket cut on any pass from a guard spot, or from all floor spots

- add a low-post player, don't basket cut in front of a ballside low post.
Mike McNeill - fill late, 4 holds, giving 2 time to drive (a double gap).

See Tactics - 4 on 0 basket cuts, 3-spot pass-cut-fill, Quick-swing, Offence - 5-out youth motion, Perkins open post.up

d) Blast cuts

To get open on the wing, blast cut from the corner, read whether to backcut or pop out, here 2 first drags the arc from the wing to the corner (optionally mark spots in the corners).

On any basket cut, space to the corner, ready to blast cut to the wing (space out then up). Here 1 basket cuts on a pass across the top and spaces out, 2 fill cuts through the elbow.
Progressions - use dribble-drive spacing,
- 2 and 3 set up in the corners, blast cut from there, see Tactics - Dribble-drive quick-swing
- 1 passes and cuts to create a triple-gap for 4, see Offence - Dribble-drive outline.

e) Blast-cut layups

Use two balls, a passer and rebounder, from the wing players drag the arc to the corner (or start in the corner) then blast cut for a pass, finish with a layup.

Option - players rebound, rotate the rebounder after X shots, or shooter to rebounder after each shot.

- players are the passers

- 1 on 1.
See Shooting - Angled pull-up, Ouse drive and kick chaos (split catches), Layups - Blast cuts, Pass and replace.up

f) Backdoor layups

If a guard-wing pass is denied, the wing should backdoor cut to the basket, then come back out if there is no pass.

Do backdoor layups from a wing spot, use two balls with a passer, rebounder, and deny defender.


- backcut when coach pass fakes

- from the wing, drag the arc, blast cut to the ball, backcut

- backdoor layups from all floor spots

- players cut to a read spot, then backcut

- players make the scoring pass

- 1 on 1.

Here players cut to the read spot (elbow) from the weakside wing, and backcut.
- backcut or pop out for a pass
- 1 on 1 - Fill cuts.

See Shooting - Huggins cutting, Layups - Backdoor cuts, Kiwi cutting, 1 on 1 - Coach as passer (contesting).up

g) Backdoor cuts

4 on 0, players backcut if the ballhandler makes a pass fake, basket cut on a pass, space to the corners, blast cut to the wings, fill through read spots.


- a coach randomly denies passes, players backcut on denial

- replace one player with coach, who has the ball, pass fakes at players, and can pass and basket cut.

See Tactics - 4 on 0 basket cuts.

h) Drive-and-kick layups

A ballhandler drives the lane, passes to a shooter spacing on the drive, and becomes the next shooter.
Dribble-drive principles are an option, e.g., rotate behind a middle drive, see Offence - Dribble-drive outline.

Here 1 drives baseline from the right wing, 3 drifts to the baseline from the left wing.
- 1 exit cuts and gets a return pass
- close out, live 1 on 1.

i) Drive and kick

4 on 0, a ballhandler dribble penetrates the lane, jump stops, passes, then spaces outside the arc. The other players move and space on penetration (e.g., fill behind) and call for the ball. Continue.


- pass and basket cut before another drive

- every three drives a shot is taken, then replace one player.

See Shooting - Duke 3-man penetrate and kick, 4-out 1-in drive and kick, Tactics - 4 on 0 penetration-drift, 4-out 1-in drive and kick,
Matt Bollant dribble-drive, Dribble-drive continuity, also 5-out youth drive and kick.up

j) Dribble-at layups

Use dribble-ats as pressure release. 1 dribbles at coach defending 2, 2 drags the arc, get a handoff from 1, finishes with a layup, 1 is the next shooter.


- backdoor cuts

- hand off, or backcut if coach gets in the passing lane to take away the handoff

- 1 on 1.

See Shooting - Dribble handoffs, Procopio game shots, Tactics - 4 on 0 dribble-ats.

2) With defenders (4 on 4)

a) Shrink

Defenders gap one pass from the ball, not trying to deny or steal passes, attackers pass and cut (defenders jump to the ball).

Optionally attackers just square up, shot fake and pass to start, without cutting, defenders jump to proper defensive positions (this is a shell drill).

See Scrimmage - Bigelow 3 on 3 with passers, Defending - Procopio 3 on 3 shrink, Memphis shell

b) Keep-away

Two teams, no dribbling, defenders can deny passes, attackers play keep-away.

See Passing - Tauer 3 on 3, Scrimmage - Ganon Baker keep-away, Hurley 11-pass drill
, Defending - Oakland pressure.

c) No-dribble scrimmage

Two teams, no dribbling, no defensive restrictions, attackers get (for example) one point for a basket, an offensive rebound, a completed pass on a backcut or basket cut, and 6 passes in a row (defenders can't just sag in the paint).


- allow one dribble in the lane when trying to score (shown)

- use dribble-ats as pressure release, attackers can dribble at a teammate who is overplayed for a backdoor cut or hand-off.

See Scrimmage - 4 on 4 cutters, Ganon Baker keep-away, Hurley overplay, 3 on 3 truth test , and Attack/defend - Paul Hewitt 3 on 3, Pistol action.

d) Drive-and-kick scrimmage

Promote dribble penetration, e.g.
all catches must be outside the 3-point line (no cutters)..
Variation - no shooting, see Defending - 4 on 4 paint touches.

See Scrimmage - Penetrate to score, Attack/defend - 3 on 3 kickout, Defending - Dick Bennett 3 on 3 closeout, Shooting - Advantage, String 3s.up

e) Pressure defence

Defenders deny perimeter passes, no offensive restrictions. Attackers should space out and up, backcut against pressure, drive the basket, use dribble-ats, pass fakes, and shot fakes.


- the on-ball defender does not try to steal the ball

- add a coach who plays on offence, passing and coaching movement without the ball

- 3 on 3 with coach.

See Scrimmage - 4 on 4 with coach, Attack/defend - Motion breakdowns.

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-23 Eric Johannsen