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Simplify Your Motion Offense for Better Results

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Nearly every coach in America secretly wishes his teams could run a free flowing, efficient motion offense.

When run correctly it's not only extremely difficult to defend and almost impossible to scout, but it also resembles a well choreographed dance that is fun to watch.

However, most of those same coaches never run true motion and instead settle for a more patterned offense like the flex, the shuffle, the swing, etc.

Why? Because in order to be run correctly and efficiently, true motion requires that all five offensive players on the floor are able to "read" the defense and respond accordingly.

And let's face it - it seems like every team has at least one really good player (and often several, especially at lower levels) who just can't "get it" and this ultimately keeps everyone else from progressing and improving.

To solve this almost universal problem, longtime Villanova women's coach Harry Perretta runs an offense that has all the benefits of motion but that can be controlled from the bench. This is how it works -

First of all, Peretta has identified seven specific actions that he would like to see included in his motion offense and be executed by his players. These actions include:

1. Basket cut
2. Curl over a down screen
3. Backdoor cut behind a down screen
4. Slip screen
5. Back screen / Flare screen
6. Pick and roll
7. Dribble handoff

Instead of requiring (or even hoping) his players use all seven actions, Peretta starts out by calling out a number and having his team run just one option on each possession. For example, if he calls out #1 then his players will execute a basket cut after making each and every pass until they find or create an opening to score.

Eventually, the Wildcats will combine two of the actions to create more purposeful movement and to make the offense even more difficult to defend. Again the actions are decided by the coaching staff and called out from the bench.

Peretta has found that it usually works best to run the first action twice in a row and then run the second action for the rest of the possession. For example, a call of 23 would tell the players to curl over the first two down screens and then look to start over the top and back but instead. Yelling out 76 would tell the players to execute two dribble hand offs followed by consecutive pick and rolls until they had the opportunity to score.

Combining the actions in this way provides almost unlimited possibilities and creates all the benefits of running a motion offense without requiring the players to think too much.

As the season progresses players start incorporating some of the other actions on their own which makes the offense even more effective and difficult to scout and defend.

If this type of offense interests you but you are coaching younger players, try condensing the menu of actions from seven possibilities to four. Using only basket cuts, curls, pick and rolls, and dribble hand-offs should still provide plenty of scoring opportunities and will be even easier for your players to remember and master. If and when your players master those possibilities over the course of the season then continue building their skill-sets by simply adding another one.

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