Simple Guide to Man-to-Man Offense

man to man offense

Written By: Lamar Hull @ Google+

Basketball is a team sport. Teamwork is essential for success. A group of talented players working together is a beautiful sight, just watch the Golden State Warriors play.

While teamwork is still the signature of the game, basketball creates many opportunities for individuals to shine.

Players have the ability to stand out by staying with the framework of the team concept.

When players learn to work together, EVERYONE SUCCEEDS. This teamwork is never more evident than in a man-to-man offense.

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A finely tuned offense attacking a dogged defense is basketball at its purest. Winning in basketball is a fun thing.

For high school coaches, make sure you have some good man-to-man offenses to help your team be successful.

The book, Winning Ways Basketball, provides some great tips on man-to-man offense for high school basketball coaches.

While man-to-man defense encourages one-on-one offense, team play is essential to attacking this kind of defense.

If a team falls into the trap of focusing only on beating their own man, the offense will stagnate and the defense will force bad shots every time.

Match ups and movement are the keys to a successful man-to-man offense. Perfecting these movements requires practice and a belief in the offense. If a team will dedicate themselves to playing together, they can overcome any defensive scheme.

Movement is essential to a successful man-to-man offense. Whenever players stand in one place, the defense does not have to work to guard them.

Moving with a purpose puts pressure on the opposing team to make quick adjustments and provides opportunities to score.

As offensive players move around the court, the chance for the defender to lose contact with them increases, which could result in an open shot for the offense.

Simply switching positions with another player or executing a dribble hand-off creates openings for the offense to take advantage of.

Moving without the ball and running off properly timed screens allows players to find open shots.

By practicing these movements gives the offense the advantage necessary to break down any defense.

Another key to successful man-to-man offense is creating mis-matches. Designing situations for offensive players to be guarded by an ill-suited opponent opens up scoring opportunities.

The most common way to create these mismatches is the screen. A screen is where one player blocks a teammates defender.


A screen can be set for the player with the ball or a player trying to get open. This strategy allows the player to dribble freely or break open to receive a pass.

A screen forces the defense to switch who they are guarding which can create the desired mismatch or cause the defense to work around the screen allowing an opening for the offensive player. In either case, the offense can have a distinct advantage.

Man-to-man offense is about well-timed movements that create scoring opportunities for the offensive team. They can range from simple to very complex.

However, the goal is to create the easiest shot possible. Regardless of the offensive scheme, the movements must be practiced until they are perfected.

When consistent practice and effort is achieved, a finely tuned offense can overcome any defensive scheme. A man-to-man offense is FUN to run and usually simple to teach.

It challenges the players to increase their teamwork and improves their basketball IQ. One of the most well-known man-to-man offense is motion.

5 man motion keeps the offense active and opens up scoring opportunities for the offensive players. 5 man motion is a good offense to run against a pressuring man to man defense.

5 Out Motion Offense Video Step-by-Step

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