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Youth Basketball Plays - Out of Bounds Plays

When a team receives the ball under the opponent's basket, they have a unique opportunity to score. After all, isn't the point of offensive patterns to get the ball in an advantageous shooting position? In this situation, the ball is already there. Most teams, however, are content to just pass the ball in to an open player. The reason that player is open is because he is not a threat, so throwing him the ball doesn't gain anything unless the five second limitation is about to expire. If you have any doubt about the value of a well executed OB play that culminates in a basket, take the time to count the number of times that situation presents itself in a game and then look at the average game scores. In our Advanced Skills youth leagues, for instance, the scores range from 35 to 55 points per team (32 minute running clock). Shot chart records showed that we were scoring 4-5 baskets per game off our standard OB play. It is fair to say that 20% of our offense was generated from a single situation that represented a grand total of 10 - 15 seconds of game time. If you can learn just one OB play that is designed to score, it may likely mean the difference in whether you win or lose. Here are a couple to try. There are many, many more on other basketball sites.

If the plays do not work, examine their execution very carefully rather than crediting the defense with knowing the play and disrupting it. Usually the reason for failure is either poor screening or the intended beneficiary of the screen leaving before it is established. Secret code words are not necessary. Just run the plays properly and they will work. Offensive has first strike advantage. The defense must react and therefore it is vulnerable.

Pick a Competent Passer A critical point is to choose a competent passer to initiate any in-bounds play. This skill does not receive the recognition it deserves. Many teams just designate the #4 player to throw the ball in-bounds, regardless of the player's passing ability. The player's position or size is not important. What really counts is the passer's ability to do two things, trigger the offensive movement and, using mis-direction and timing, put the ball in the shooter's hands in such a way that the shot can be launched quickly. An in-bounds pass that is late or hits the big post player in the foot is nothing but a turnover.

Many players have a hard time triggering the offensive play. The first problem is ambiguous communication. The play must be called out clearly. The passer must be sure everyone understands what play is about to take place and that everyone is in the correct spot. If they are not set up properly, the passer must be very decisive and correct the situation if there is time. If there is any confusion, the play will not work. The second problem is signaling when the play is to start. Some passers call the play then immediately slap the ball before the players are really set. The result is that everyone starts moving at a different time. They answer is to clearly call the play, pause and make eye contact with everyone, spread the hands apart slowly, then predictably and authoritatively slap the ball (or other cue if you prefer). The passer may also shout "Go!" at the moment the ball is struck. That way there is no doubt when to start the play. It doesn't matter that the defense knows when the play begins. They still need to react to the offensive players' movements.

The passer knows where the ball will be thrown, so there is no need to stare at the target. Look elsewhere, using peripheral vision to track the intended recipient.

Timing is key. The moment to pass the ball to a player that is screening is right when he is turning to face the ball and seal out the defender. Pass the instant he begins to rotate to the ball. Do not wait until the target is facing the ball to throw it in. That is all the delay the defense needs to break up the play. Once the target turns to fact the basket, the ball should already be on the way. Practice will refine the timing.

Out of Bound Plays usually start from either a box formation or a stack formation. Here are some examples. Feel free to experiment and adjust to suit your team.

High Box Play

Low Box Play

Middle Cross Play

Middle Drop Play

Stack Back Play

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