Screening is a skill that should be taught to every young player. If it isn’t required in your offense chances are it will be used in other offenses as your players progress through middle school and high school. Therefore, setting and using a screen properly is a vital skill that needs to be taught in your practices. All screens have the same basic principles and techniques that are used.

1.) Angle of the screen – The first priority of a screener is getting the proper angle to set the screen. The screener should let the person receiving the screen know they are screening by raising their fist. Whatever type of screen you are setting, a rule of thumb for the screener is to point your back to where you want the player open. For example, a rear screener’s back should be pointed toward the rim because that is where you want them to be open. Also, the screener’s chest should be in a direct line with the defender’s hips and shoulders. It will prevent the defense from sliding under or over a screen and force the defender to hit the screen.

2.) Positioning - After the screener has the proper angle for a screen, they must be in an effective position for the screen to be effective. The screener should have the same actions as they do in a defensive closeout. Screeners don’t want to be too close to the defender they are screening, but close enough to where your offense still has good spacing. The rules state that a screener’s feet must be no wider than their shoulders so teach your players to have a solid base and don’t set a skinny screen. Knees should be bent in a stance and arms inside the frame of the body. For protection, girls should cross their arms across their chest and boys across their groin area. Finally, screeners must maintain a vertical stance without leaning forward. A common mistake among screeners is to try to brace themselves by moving their shoulders. Teach your players to set screens like they take a charge. Take contact in the chest to avoid possible injury from knee to knee contact.

3.) Post Screen Actions - After setting the screen, you need to decide whether you want the screener to pop out, roll to the basket, slip the screen, or set another screen depending on how the defense is guarding specific screens. There are a variety of techniques to do each. You may want to have separate rules for certain players depending on their role in your offense. For example, you probably want your big post players to roll to the rim off of ball screens to get post position and you will want shooters to pop out after a ball screen. Cross screeners in the post will either flash to the high post or seal at the rim dependent on how the cutter reacts to the screen. Down screeners and pin screeners can both look to slip the screen to the rim or react opposite of where the cutter goes. If you have a player that is more of a role player then have them set multiple screens in a possession and try to force switches or help situations that will lead to open shots for other players.

The following are rules about screening that are found in the 2009 NCAA Rule Book:

A foul shall be called when:

1.) A defensive player is held or pushed off of her intended path around
a screen by use of the arms, legs or body.

2.) A defensive player holds or pushes through the screen with her arms,
legs or body.

3.) The screener extends the hips or buttocks to displace the defender as
she moves around the screen.

4.) The screener extends her legs beyond legal width and trips her
defender as she moves around the screen.

5.) The screener sets a “blind” screen (outside the visual field) on a
stationary defender that doesn’t allow her a normal step to move.

6.) The screener sets a “blind” screen (outside the visual field) on a
moving defender and doesn’t allow her ample time to stop or change
directions; usually one to two strides.

Author's Bio: 

Ryan Smith is co-founder of the youth basketball coaching website called He has multiple years of basketball coaching experience and has coached at many levels.