The motion offense is a type of offensive scheme in basketball. As the name indicates, it requires player movement to be successful. It follows a set of rules but is generally free-flowing and unrestricted.
What is motion offense in basketball?
The motion offense is a flexible offensive scheme predicated on the movement of players. It requires passing, cutting, and screening. The term “motion offense” was first used by Henry Iba, a longtime coach at Oklahoma State. However, it was Bob Knight of Indiana who made it popular.
Player movement in a motion offense follows a basic set of rules. For example, players on the team should move to open areas without restriction. This makes the motion offense more flexible and one that can handle any defense.
Motion offenses fall under four basic types: 5-out, 4-out, 3-out, and 2-out motion.
In this offense, screens are imperative. Such screens as the flare and back screens are always used to open up cutting lanes.
Motion offenses do not rely on set plays. The responsibility is on the players to read and react.
This is different than the continuity offense, which often ends up the way it started.
Basic Rules of the Motion Offense
Spacing.Optimal spacing is from 12-15 feet. Anything nearer could clog passing and cutting lanes, which ultimately defeats the purpose of the offense.
Patience.The first order of business of a motion offense is the pass to a player on the wing. As simple as this sounds, this could make or break what the team is going to do. From here, the perimeter player should be patient. He must not inattentively put the ball and the floor and pick up his dribble. He should look first into the post, read the defense, and look for opportunities.
Dribble only when you know what to do.Picking up the dribble quickly spells instant trouble. It makes you more predictable, and there is a possibility that the defense could swarm you. Only use the dribble if: you decide to attack an open lane, reposition yourself for a better pass angle, or get out of trouble.
No standing still.When you move, move with a purpose. Bigs should always look to free teammates up with a screen. Perimeter players should always be alert in using or rejecting those screens to get open.
Pass and move.In a motion offense, the pass to the low post is vital. From there, all kinds of cutting action ensues. Screen actions on the weakside are simultaneously happening.
Read about the Princeton Offense.
Main Motion Offense Categories
The 5-out means there are five players spaced out in the three-point line. From there, players look to pass, cut, screen, or penetrate. The main purpose of this type of offense is to free up the middle for penetrations and cuts.
2.) 4-Out 1
This type of motion offense means four players are spaced in the perimeter, and one player is stationed in the post. The main role of the post player here is to be the hub for a quick ball reversal. He may also set flare screens and back screens for the perimeter guys. The perimeter guys may cut and screen as well, but they should never camp out in the post.
3.) 3-Out 2
The 3-out 2 features three guys on the perimeter and two guys in the post. For the post guys, it works best if one can shoot. They also screen for one another or fill out the top if a perimeter player is not present.
4.) 2-Out 3
The 2-out 3 is for teams that like to play the power game. The two perimeter players must only patrol the sidelines and slide up and down. They do not set screens or cut since that will blow up the spacing badly. Most importantly, at least one of them must be a lethal shooter. If not, their man could leave them open and help guard the post.
Final Thoughts on Motion Offense
Unless it’s a type of continuity offense, most offenses are variations of a motion offense. The Princeton offense, for instance, is a motion offense predicated on looking for backdoor cuts to get open layups. The difference lies mainly in the coach’s philosophy and the rules they want the players to follow.
For example, depending on the coach, a motion offense may require a specific number of passes before the players may look for a shot. That is especially true in the earlier era where deliberate basketball was preached. Now, the same motion offense strategy could still be in place but may allow for early three-point shots and quick hitters.
Basketball is always a learning process; nobody knows everything. You may pick and patch things up from other coaches and their philosophies, but it will be up to you to make it your own. It will also be up to you to adjust and tailor some aspects to fit your team type.
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