May 3, 2019 • OffenseWinning Hoops

9 reasons your plays don’t produce points

by Daniel Brandel, contributing writer

Many coaches subconsciously — or even consciously — judge a play as successful based on whether it produced a score. Made baskets shouldn’t be the only measuring stick for grading a play. You should analyze the play call and determine whether it did what it was intended to do — create a quality shot.

basketball offense doesn't work
If your offense isn’t producing points, you may be overlooking one obvious reason. | Photo: Greece Trip Admin, Flickr

During the heat of a game, coaches often get caught up in the score and the prospect of winning. That means they might overlook a poorly run play if it resulted in a score. This is a dangerous tendency. Sloppy play becomes habit forming if you don’t keep a tight rein on execution.

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If you take a step back and think about it, even the best offenses fail 50% of the time. That means that a defense successfully defends an opponent 50% of the time — no matter the defense they’re using.

Here are nine potential reasons your team has failed to properly execute a play or set offense.

1. Fundamentals.

If the team has weak fundamentals, it could cripple the play before it ever has a chance. It’s never too late to develop fundamentals. You should constantly work on the fundamentals, no matter the level of play.

2. Bad matchup.

You could be running the play against the wrong team, meaning what you call might play directly into the defense’s strengths. The other team also just might be better all around, giving you few chances to hit shots, regardless of the play.

Analyze your team’s talent, evaluate your opponent’s strengths, and make adjustments. Spend time watching game film to prepare for an opponent. Ask other coaches how they’ve succeeded against certain teams.

3. Wrong talent.

You may not have the right talent to effectively run the play. Consider playing to your team’s strengths instead of forcing players to adjust to how you want to operate the offense.

Also, stop running plays that you know won’t work against this particular opponent. Focus on the plays that your team does best.

4. Off day.

Your team is having a bad day and not executing correctly during a game. Even the best players are off once in awhile. If the shots aren’t falling, it may be worth giving it another try on a different night.

Continue to work on the fundamentals, stay positive, and hope for the best. Good teams win games.

5. Ill-advised strategy.

It may happen to be poor strategy, so self-assess the plays that you call. It’s entirely possible the blame falls on your shoulders.

Continue to encourage your players. Reinforce the idea that bad days come and go. Stay positive, and compliment solid execution. This lets your players know that you’re confident in them.

6. Impatience.

basketball defense block
Photo: Kevin Hoffman

It’s possible your players are impatient. Some plays require ample time to find openings in the defense. If your players are not willing to wait it out, you don’t stand a chance.

Have patience as a coach. Remain calm, and encourage your players to settle down and remember what they practice day-in and day-out. If the coach is impatient, players react with urgency and try to force things to happen quickly.

7. Anomaly.

The defense happened to get lucky. This isn’t a consistent factor, but it happens. We’ve all witnessed unknown bench players having career nights, so sometimes the wind blows in the other team’s favor.

Stick to the fundamentals, be patient, and weather the storm. Luck isn’t a long-term factor.

8. Defensive approach.

The defense is stretching your offense out of its comfort zone, resulting in poor execution and ill-advised shots. Make adjustments for shortening your passes.

9. Pressure.

The defensive pressure caused your team to struggle. There are times when you run into a great defensive team. Preach patience, self-control, and try to do things to keep your players loose.

These nine reasons are not excuses, and some are correctable errors. Many times, coaches can make slight strategic adjustments that make a difference in your team’s execution.