“MOTION”…”FLEX”

Go to any basketball game at any level elementary thru to college and there is a better than average chance you will hear a coach yell out, MOTION to his team if the defense is playing man to man defense. Referring at every level I almost get motion sickness from seeing all the motion offenses at all levels. All these coaches must have all gone to the same clinic, at the same time, because alot of them run it.

Motion Offense is run out of a 1-2-2 offensive set. A point guard, 2 wings and two low post players.

As soon as the point guard passes to one of the wings, the point guard goes away and sets a legal screen for the opposite wing player as the wing player with the ball looks to pass to the low post player on the block on his side of the court. If the low post player does not get the ball he/she crosses the lane and screens for the opposite low block player and the wing with the ball looks for the new post player.

If he/she isn’t open then the wing with the ball passes to the new point player and screens down for the post man on his/her side and the new point guard starts the offense all over again. Motion offense is a continuous continuity offense.

Sometimes. the point guard will have both wings go and screen the low block post players on their sides and then passes and starts the offense with the wings at the post positions and the post players at the wing positions.

The key to running motion is to get good legal screens set on the wings and  the low post players and not just to change positions without setting solid screens. ALSO, IT IS IMPORTANT TO GET THE BALL TO THE PLAYERS CUTTING WHEN THEY ARE OPEN.

It is also important to teach all the players on a team how to post up on the low block position.

Motion is a very easy offense to defend because many teams run motion themselves and so do their opponents so the drefenders know where the cutters are going off the screens away from the ball. Many teams will front the post player on the wing side of the ball with his/her defender and rotate the other low post defender to behind the post player so the post player is double downed on and double teamed. They then will rotate the wing defender opposite the ball from the opposite side to cover the opposite  low post player and leave thre opposite wing all alone so that the wing is 2 passes away from the ball.  As soon as the wing passes the ball to the point the defenders quickly return to cover their original players they were guarding.

Another word you will hear yelled out by coaches is FLEX or 1-4 low alignment which has four offensive players lined up across the court in front off or even with the basket. 2 players on the block and 2 players even with the block players and positioned half way between the lane line and the sideline and the point guard at the top of the 3 point line. Then they go to   Flex. Flex is a continuity offense that originated from the orignal Drake Shuffle and the Auburn Shuffle, both College Teams in the early 60’s devloped the shuffle offense.

The point guard dribbles to one elbow as soon as he/she does that the opposite side block player moves quickly up to the opposite elbow and the poit guard passes the ball to the opposite elbow as the wide player on the opposite side runs off a screen set by the low block post player opposite the ball. The player with the ball looks for the cutter at the basket and as soon as the point guard releases the ball to the opposite elbow. the point guard goes down and screens the screener who moves up to the elbow on his side of the court. Now the offense is set on the other side of the court and then the player with the ball at the elbow passes the ball to the player at the other elbow and then you rerun the offense again.

Again just as with Motion Flex cuts are pre-established and because so many teams run Flex they know where the cutters are going to go.

Teams must run other options when teams are playing the play/cuts and this is very effective if you know how to do it.

Also very effective in both motion and flex is the ability of all the players who should know how to post up at the basket or Flex cuts and on the block in motion. They should know where to ask for the ball determined how they are being defended from in front, from the back or from eitther side. They should show the player with the ball trying to pass to them with the overhead pass where they want the ball and when they want the ball.

Smart defense man to man teams will switch on all motion or flex cuts and this allows them to keep their big players at the basket to rebound. Switching on all screens away from the ball against motion will make the defense look loike it is playing a 1-2-2 zone and switching on Flex will make it look like a 2-3 zone.

We used to do switch on motion and flex so we did not have to chase players all around the offense. This kept our big men at the basket and our smaller men out front. Then when teams thought we were playing zone we would then go back to man to man. This would get the offense to run man to man offenses against the zone and zone offenses against man to man.

So this week at the tourney keep track of the times you here ….MOTION and FLEX.

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