July 16, 2020 • OffensePlayPlaysWinning HoopsXs and Os

Adding Multiple Phases/Waves in your Offensive Attack

by John Kimble, contributing writer

A successful offensive scheme is a plan of action that never relinquishes its aggressive attack on the opposition’s defense. There is never a lull in the action from one phase to the next phase of attack; giving the opposition’s defense absolutely no time to regroup, recover, or reorganize their defense. The offensive team’s goal is to force the opposition’s defense to face a continual wave after wave of a fundamentally sound offensive attack.

The source of the initial phase of attack varies because of the different scenarios that take place during a game. These sources of the first phase of attack could be any of the following such as 1) Primary Fastbreaks, 2) Baseline and/or Sideline Out-of-Bounds Situations, and 3) Half-Court Plays/Entries. If the initial phase does not score or produce a shot, the offense’s objective is to have a continual, smooth, and seamless transition from that first phase into the next phase. If that phase of the offensive attack still does not produce a shot, the next phase should be able to have an immediate conversion.

PRIMARY FASTBREAKS (that could flow immediately into Secondary Breaks)

One initial phase could begin with a team’s Primary Fastbreak, which could actually begin with possession of the basketball via an opponent’s turnover, or your team’s defensive rebound off of the opponent’s missed (field goal or free throw) shot or the conversion after the opposition has scored. The number of these types of possessions will vary depending upon the style of play that is chosen for that particular team. It could be a very high percentage of the total number of possessions a team has in each game played. See DIAGRAM 1 PRIMARY BREAKDIAGRAM 2 PRIMARY BREAK

Photo: Joshua G Photography / Creative Commons


If your offensive team cannot score with a ‘number advantage,’ the next phase or wave of attack would be the smooth transition from the Primary Fastbreak into the designated Secondary Fastbreak. Secondary Breaks are viewed as “accelerated and expanded plays or entries. Just like (half-court) plays/entries, a team can have more than one Secondary Break, depending on that team’s mental capabilities. Depending on each team, a team could and should have multiple Secondary Breaks that can be executed (dependent upon the strengths and weaknesses of the offensive personnel.) As discussed, the number of possessions where Secondary Breaks are executed could vary from game to game, dependent upon each game’s different variables; such as the style of play as well as how efficient and successful the team’s actual Primary Fastbreak performs. See DIAGRAM 3 SECONDARY BREAK


Another source for the initial phase of attack could be when your team takes the ball out-of-bounds either from the sideline or the baseline. These two types of situations/scenarios could take place in several possessions of every game. Multiple plays from both locations can be implemented to attack the opposition in different manners. See DIAGRAM 4 B.O.B. PLAY & DIAGRAM 5 B.O.B. (continued)


Generally, the most commonly used initial phase of the offensive attack is the half-court play/entry. Multiple plans can be implemented to meet specific needs and should be tailor-made to both the offensive team’s strengths and weaknesses in addition to probing the opposition’s defense for weaknesses (and then attacking those weaknesses.) See DIAGRAM 6 HALF COURT PLAY/ENTRY

Each of these possible initial phases of attack– the Secondary Break, BOB plays, SOB plays, and half-court plays/entries all should be designed to highlight individual players’ outstanding offensive skills or to attack individual defenders’ weaknesses and overall opposing team’s defensive weaknesses. All of these different phases or waves of attack have one main commonality. The common thread of these phases of attack is that each phase that does not produce a shot must reposition all five players into five pre-designated locations (called ‘spot-ups’).


When any of these initial phases are executed and they do not produce the desired shot, the requirement for all of these attacks is that all five players end up in designated positions on the court. These positions are called “spot-ups” and when these five spot-ups are filled at the conclusion of any of these phases; it then allows an offensive team to be able to seamlessly and quickly flow from the preceding phases into the final phase of an attack. This final phase could be in the form of various designated continuity offense or into a form of one of the many types of Motion Offenses that exist.

The designated continuity or motion offense must also meet the offensive team’s offensive skills and talent level as an overall team as well as individual players in addition to the team’s mental capabilities.

The offense’s purpose is if the preceding phase of attack does not manufacture the desired shot, the transition into the final phase is so seamless and fluid that even a close observer cannot tell when any of the offensive phases actually begin or end and when the subsequent phase begins—there is just one continual attack on the opposition’s defense.

While the various initial waves/phases of the offensive attack can vary to a great degree; the one constant is that the final wave of attack (the desired continuity or motion offense) is always the same.

Regardless of what the first wave of attack is, possession of the ball that does not produce a shot; each ends up positioning all five players in those predetermined  ‘spot-up’ positions. If the defense has successfully shut down the beginning phase (or phases), the offense still has the security to be able to revert back to the one primary constant in this offensive scheme — the designated Continuity or Motion-type Offense.

The other phases can all be modified and changes even in the same season, but the foundation of the entire offensive package can remain the same for that season as well as for several seasons. Options of the Continuity or the Motion Offense can be added, deleted, or modified; but the bases of the offensive scheme can be the staple that all teams need.