Out-of-bounds situations are one of the most under-coached aspects of the game. If ran efficiently they can account for six to eight points a game and be the deciding factor. When designing out-of-bounds plays you always need to keep personnel in mind and have plays for every possible situation that may occur during a game. Be sure to design plays that can get you an open shot, a 3-point shot, and get the ball in the hands of your best player. The following are some concepts that will help you design out-of-bounds plays that will make you an effective out-of-bounds team:

Have the Best Passer as the Inbounder
There is nothing more frustrating for a coach than to have a play where you get a player open for a shot and the passer doesn’t see them or throws a bad pass that leads to a turnover. Therefore, make your inbounder the best passer on the team. Often times it is your best player but he wont be able to get the ball if the inbounder isn’t a good passer that can get it to him. If your inbounder is also your best player then run an inbound to get the ball inbounded and run an action that will get the ball back in his hands.

Have the Same Alignment
There are a number of alignments that you can run for out-of-bounds plays. The most popular alignments are the stack alignment up the ball-side lane line and the box alignment on the blocks and elbows. There are a couple of advantages to running all of your out-of-bounds plays from the same alignment. First, it makes it easier for your players to remember where to go. They don’t have to wait for you to make a call, remember where they are suppose to go, get there, and then go to the correct spot. The players on the floor can get to there alignment first and then look at you for the play you want to run. It will save time and be less confusing for your players. Second, having the same alignment will make it difficult to scout. If you are able to do three to four different things out of the same alignment it will force the defense to play each play honestly on each cut. If you have three different alignments for three different out-of-bounds plays then good defenses will pick up on that and will eliminate your first options and make it difficult to inbound the ball.

Make it Easy to Get into Half-court Offense
If the out-of-bounds plays don’t result in a score then your players need to be able to quickly get into your half-court offense. Therefore, you need to put your players in a position to where they are able to flow seamlessly into offense. If you cut a post player to the perimeter be sure you have an action to get them back into the post area. Also, if you have a perimeter player coming to the rim you will also need a way to get him on the perimeter. You will also need to account for the inbounder and decide where he will cut in order to properly flow into the half-court offense. You will need to keep in mind that some teams play man-man defense on out-of-bounds plays and others play a zone. Be sure that you are able to flow into your offense regardless of what the defense is playing.

Have Counter Actions
If a defense does a good job of guarding your inbounds plays then you need to be able to adjust without calling a timeout and setting up a play. If you have players with a good basketball IQ then you can chooose to let your players read defenders and make counter actions to how they are being guarded. If you would rather make the calls then you will need to have counter actions from the same alignment. If you usually cut a guard ball-side off of a single screen then you may want to either back cut him to the rim or use a double screen to get him open. Screen the screener actions from box alignments are good for counters. They offer good screening angles and multiple options for counter plays. Counters should be designed from the same alignments and used to keep the defense honest. If nothing else, they should allow you to have an easy inbound pass and allow you to get into your half-court offense.

Design Plays to Work against a Man or Zone Defense
There are a lot of coaches that have multiple inbounds plays that are used for a man-man defense and another set of plays that are used against a zone defense. Try to simplify it for your players and design your inbounds plays to fit both man and zone defenses. It will make it easier on the inbounder and the cutters. There may be a little adjustment for screeners and cutters. For example, if a post player usually screens a specific defender against a man defense he may screen another defender against a zone defense. Also cutters may have to cut to a wing rather than to the corner depending on type of defense the opponent is playing with the ball out-of-bounds. Having plays that will work for any defense will cut down on practice time you have to work on out-of-bounds and will also increase your efficiency because your players will be good at three or four plays rather than be average at five or six out-of-bounds plays.

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