2-3 Zone Defense 2-3 Zone Eastern Michigan Assistant Coach Matt Cline puts on a clinic on how to properly run 2-3 Zone Defense. For example, in a 2–3 zone two defenders cover areas in the top of the zone (near the top of the key) while three defenders cover areas near the baseline. 2. Great Outside Shooting – The biggest disadvantage of a 2-3 zone defense is that it can struggle against great outside shooting teams. If it works, keep using it. Occasionally as a surprise, if needed. In a 2-3 zone defense, we always want to keep the ball as far away from the basket as possible. 3. This means that as one player moves, he pulls the imaginary string (which is attached to every defensive player) and therefore pulls the entire defense in that same direction. O5 back-screens the middle defender (X5), while O4 back-screens the weak-side low defender (X4). No, you still shouldn’t do it. With Syracuse being the top-ranked team in the NCAA, its 2-3 zone defense will be the focus of broadcasters, journalists and sports fans alike. You’ll find most teams rush and will often take contested shots, or they’ll turn the ball over trying to make fancy passes against the zone. The defense begins at the basket and radiates outwards—the idea is to force the offense to take shots from the perimeter and prevent access to the basket and surrounding area. 2. And now it’s up to the weak-side forward (3) to keep his eyes on the two other players and anticipate the high pass that will be made. Players should anticipate the next pass before it happens, so that when it does, each person knows where to go on the floor and fewer breakdowns happen. Slowing the game (Gibson)—Because the 2–3 often guards the interior of the court well, offenses generally pass the ball around the perimeter frequently before attempting to penetrate the defense or initiate an offense. But I’ve found if used at the right time and against the right player, this trap can be very successful. … It is referred to as the 2–3 because of its formation on the court, which consists of two players at the front of the defense (closer to half court) and three players behind (closer to the team's basket). Everyone must communicateCommunication is critical to every defense and that includes the 2-3 zone. Rebounding is an area that you must judge differently on each team you coach and there’s not one correct answer. This is accomplished by the center basically never leaving the paint and always having help very close. Playing from behind—teams that are losing rarely use the 2–3 zone, because it gives the opposing offense ample time—and space—to repeatedly pass the ball around the perimeter, reducing the amount of time left in the game. Using Spread Ball Screen versus 2-3 Zone can provide carryover from your man-to-man offense to your zone offense. x3 has to make a decision on who to guard. If it works, it works. Designate who to stop and all 5 guys are responsible for stopping him. The quicker your team can get to the player with the ball the better your defense will be. This help from the forwards allows two guards to play against three offensive players on the perimeter. One great advantage of this zone is that you can protect your big from stepping outside as the wings can take any flashes to the high post. Usually out of a time-out or in a late game situation when you desperately need a steal. O2 sets up on the left wing, v-cuts and gets the pass from O1. The same rules apply on the wings, on any pass to the wing player the forward must help out and then be bumped back by the guard. Many coaches have a high desire to use the same or similar offenses versus man-to-man and zone defense. Congratulations, you’ve made it through a 4,000+ word article on the 2-3 zone defense and should now have a thorough understanding of how it works. All that we want to happen from this position is for the point guard to pass it to either of the wing players. When a player in the zone is shifting, that player should look to fill in gaps of space vacated by other shifting players and also guard offensive players in that space. The strength of the zone is in the key so there will be help. You have to decide on your own philosophy regarding rebounding depending on the personnel of your team. Players must not make it easy for the offensive team inside. Stress to your players that the steal doesn’t often come directly from the trapping players, it comes from the interception by the other defenders. The weak-side guard (1) denies the closest pass to the wing player, usually the point guard. In this case, that would mean every defensive player shifting around 5 to 6 feet in the direction of the right wing and the player with the ball. It’s important that the players don’t foul on the trap and they force the offensive player to throw the ball high over the trap to give your other players a chance to steal the ball. The offensive player with the ball is forced to make a very long and high pass in order to get the ball to a teammate if the trap is performed correctly. Yes, you’ll win more games in youth basketball. The 2-3 zone is the most commonly used zone defense. 3. Here we’re going to discuss the different types of traps you can use in a 2-3 zone and I’ll also include how often I think you should use each one. When the pass from the wing is made to the player in the corner, the ball-side guard (2) immediately follows the pass and will trap the player with the forward (4) that is closing out. When the ball makes it into the high post we’re now in a very vulnerable position. 4. Similarly, if that player moved to the right corner, the 4 player would move to guard him and the rest of the defense would shift towards that direction. 2 - 1 - 2 Zone Major strength middle and low post. Youth. The 3-2 zone defense did not provide the rebounding support for the fast break that Cam Henderson was using. Henderson developed this style of basketball successfully at Davis & Elkins College, before moving on to coach at Marshall University. Protects the Paint – The 2-3 zone is a great defense to keep the ball as far away from the hoop as possible. Everyone must move on the flight of the ballEveryone must move on the flight of the ball and not on the catch. This is stupid, and definitely not true. 6. The following is a listing of all posts in the category of Plays to use against a 2-3 zone defense on our site. BFC Recommendation: Use very rarely. If teams are able to effectively make passes inside the zone the whole floor opens up for the offensive team. Yes, it’s very effective in youth basketball. 5. The trap on a wing from a 2-3 zone defense involves the ball-side forward and the ball-side guard. That can happen by the point guard attacking through the middle of the guards or passing to a player in the high post. Moving on the flight of the ball means we’re in defensive position when the offensive player receives the basketball. Play a patient zone with minimal traps. Carolina Zone Set No. Because a zone defense is more complex than simply following one player always following his counterpart around the court, there is a higher probability that at least one defensive player will forget which opposing player he/she was assigned to guard. Well I have good news, not many teams are patient. Having an athletic O3 who can jump and finish inside is key. The weak-side forward (4) must now look after the paint. When the ball is at the top is when we see the basic 2-3 zone defense structure. In 2003, Syracuse University coach Jim Boeheim led his team to an NCAA Tournament championship playing the 2–3 zone, which has become Boeheim's trademark. It’s not a lazy defense if played correctly and will definitely challenge your players mentally and physically, but the benefits can be enormous. Players must communicate screens, cutters, bumping, who’s got the player with the basketball, etc. If you’re not trapping (which we’ll talk about soon), the two main options you have to decide on is in regard to the ball-side guard. The 2-3 zone is also effective against poor outside shooting teams. Therefore, hypothetically defensive players have more time to catch their breath as a result. 1-2-2 Press – Complete Coaching Guide (Includes Images), 6 Tips for the Perfect Defensive Stance in Basketball, The Amoeba Defense – Complete Coaching Guide, Triangle and 2 Defense – Complete Coaching Guide, this article from Breakthrough Basketball, How to Create a Youth Basketball Practice Plan, Parents: Please Stop Ruining Youth Sports, Zone Defense is Terrible for Youth Basketball, 21 Life Lessons Kids Learn Through Youth Sports, How to Win Every Youth Basketball Game (8 Terrible Tactics), 1-3-1 Zone Defense – Complete Coaching Guide. See Al Marshall's Aggressive 2-3 Zone Defense and 2-3 Zone Defense. Protects the Paint – The 2-3 zone is a great defense to keep the ball as far away from the hoop as possible. On the other hand, if you have a small and fast team, the most effective way to use a 2-3 zone may be to trap often, force the offense to take quick shots and make rushed decisions, look for steals, and keep the tempo of the game as fast as possible. The names given to zone defenses start with the number of players on the front of the zone (farthest from the goal) followed by the numbers of players in the rear zones. However, like all zone defenses it does have weaknesses. This type of zone defense is usually best suited against teams with average or below average perimeter shooters. Match up with him, no matter where he is. As a result, it takes longer for an offense to take a shot, and therefore slows the tempo of the game. BFC Recommendation: Trap the short corner/post every time. The two guards (1 and 2) must close in to the ball and try and force the high-post player to pass the ball out, but be ready to sprint out and defend the wings if the pass is made to either one. Playing from Behind – If you’re playing from behind teams can use up all of the shot clock on each possession. Coaches: At what age should we start implementing the 2-3 zone defense into competition? Since your players are guarding an area and don’t all have specific players, your team is at a distinct disadvantage compared to a man-to-man each time a shot is put up. 4. 1. In the video and diagrams below, you are given multiple ways to beat a 2-3 zone defense with a side ball screen. The 2–3 zone is sometimes called a 2–1–2 zone, simply because the player (usually the center) standing under the basket moves further up on the key. For that reason, when the ball is passed into the post or short corner, we must immediately double and get the ball out of there! This is a surprise trap and should only be used a couple of times per game. The 2–1–2 concept is used when the other team runs cutters to break down the zone. He breaks down a detailed description of each player's role in 2-3 while shows the weak links of the defense and teaches how to avoid them. As referred to earlier in the article, bumping effectively is absolutely crucial to running a great 2-3 zone defense. Keep these in mind while you’re reading through the rest of the article. Barely ever. So I saved explaining it until we got to the section on traps. Two guards are at the top of the zone (1 and 2), two forwards a few steps out from the block (3 and 4), and the center in the middle of the key (5). Run Shooters off the 3-point Line – As we’re stuck closing out often in a 2-3 zone, if you line up against a great 3-point shooting team, run the shooters off the three-point line and make them put the ball on the floor. Offense Chooses Matchups – Though there will always be great help if they get beaten off the dribble, if the offense want to match their best player up against your worst player every time down the floor, they can. If you have an athletic and quick team you should be trapping often and being aggressive on the ball. This zone defense is critical when trying to protect the paint. I’m not a big fan of trapping on the wing as I find the offensive player usually has enough options to make an easy pass out of it and then you’ll find your team in bad positions. BFC Recommendation: Trap the corner every time if you have a team that can. That’s because we ALWAYS trap the short corner and post. Gaps in the zone—there are a few areas on the court that often cause breakdowns in the 2–3 zone, especially at the high-. The ball-side guard is sagging into the lane to prevent a pass inside and to discourage the drive. Being in stance makes it quicker to react when a pass is made or a potential steal opportunity arises. 1. Will Limit Fouling – Due to a combination of factors, players simply don’t foul as much while playing in a zone defense. Structure when the ball is in the high post. This is probably the 2–3's most obvious Achilles' heel. Should you deny the ball to a certain player? Corner structure with the 2 guard sagging in. I’m not going to get into depth on the topic in this article (I’ll save that for a later post), instead, if you want to read further on the subject, read this article from Breakthrough Basketball and make sure to watch the video by Stan Van Gundy. The 2–3 zone defense is a defensive strategy used in basketball as an alternative to man-to-man defense. A Loose Link – The zone relies heavily on the team working together as a unit. These answers to these three questions will decide at which tempo you play the game. The 2-3 zone defense is by far the most common zone in basketball and is more than likely the specific formation that will come to a coaches mind when they hear the term ‘zone’ relating to basketball. The concept, however, remains the same. It’s the trade-off this defense makes in order to pack the paint so well. Instead, we rely upon players moving on the air time of the pass and a tactic we call ‘bumping’ (I’ll discuss this is detail a bit later in the article) that involves the forward on the ball-side quickly closing out on the wing player before getting bumped by the guard who quickly recovers to the wing. 3. Also situations against the pick n … A 2-3 Zone Defense is usually employed against a team that struggles to shoot from the outside but has some effective post players. Here is another play attacking the 2-3 zone defense. 2 - 3 Zone Major strength along baseline and low post. 2. Depending on the amount of traps you use and where they are will play a big factor in the tempo of the game. The offensive team could end up with an easy layup. This consists of two guards at the top of the key, positioned at the elbows and three forwards down in the paint; 2 post players are on the blocks and 1 player guards the middle. Since its 2-3 alignment allows teams to keep their big players inside, it is very strong in protecting the basket area and against dribble penetration. This can make rebounding a problem at times. In 1938, Marshall University upset Long Island University, to snap their 40-game winning streak. What will be covered in this course: Breakdown of Each Player's Role in 2-3 Zone; Short Corner Trap This is accomplished by the center basically never leaving … He must be in line with the lowest of the two players to prevent a lob or back-door pass. Capel is from a basketball family. Note that in a 2-3 zone defense we don’t actively deny the pass to the wing players. Instead of bumping like usual, the forward (4) doesn’t retreat and we aggressively trap the wing player with the forward and the ball-side guard (2). 3, 5, and 4 crash their respective sides of the hoops while 2 gets a body on the offensive 5 player. Make no mistake, a 2-3 zone defense doesn’t allow your team to rest on defense. The best way to defend it is to not let it get there in the first place! Learn how to defend in a 2-3 Zone Defense here. Be aware that you may get burned when running this trap. Degree of difficulty—because the 2–3 zone relies so heavily on well-timed teamwork, each individual player must know exactly where to be at all times. The defense must keep their hands up and active at all times to discourage passes inside and get deflections. While I don’t recommend using this as your primary defense, the 2-3 zone is a fantastic change-up defense to throw a different look at your opponent and see how they respond to it. Trapping the point guard as they cross half court. Before we get into the particulars of the zone, I want to share with you the four crucial aspects of an effective zone. The player does this by coming across and making sure there isn’t anyone flashing down from the high post (a common pass). It is very difficult to target just one defensive player in the 2–3 because the zone is always shifting and players work together. Since the weak-side guard is denying the high post, it’s a long way to recover if there is a skip pass thrown. The second guard takes the first pass using bump help from the forwards and then the point guard falls back into their position. I've had success trapping out of a 2-3 zone. Forcing outside shots—it generally holds true that as players get further away from the basket, their chances of scoring decrease. As for the trapping, I don't think you limit trapping to a type of defense. Fast Break Opportunities – With both guards always at the top, the positions of a zone put players in great position to fast break many times throughout the game. You can also use this trap against weak or unconfident ball-handlers. This page was last edited on 9 September 2020, at 08:58. The weak-side guard (1) should be near the closest elbow if there’s no player in the high post, or denying the pass to the player in the post from the high side. 2-3 Zone. You see, the problem with a 2-3 zone is that the two guards at the top are responsible for guarding three positions around the perimeter; the top of the key, and the two wings. Do not allow layups against your zone. Rebounding—in man-to-man defense, defensive players know whom to "block out" if the shot misses, and an offensive rebound's attempted; each defender covers the individual offensive player they're assigned to personally defend. Decide how often and where you’ll trap. This is a great way to disguise a 2-3 zone or force the ball to a particular player or side of the court. Whichever guard is closest to the ball handler must call out ‘Ball!’ or ‘Mine!’ to prevent confusion. The top two guards (1 and 2) must sprint at the ball-handler with high hands to prevent easy passes over the top and then trap him aggressively. Its strengths can easily become its weaknesses, which include: Coach Don Casey & Ralph Pim, Own the Zone – Executing & attacking the zone defense, New York: McGraw Hill, 2008, p. 18, Coach Don Casey & Ralph Pim, Own the Zone – Executing & attacking the zone defense by Charlie Halford New York: McGraw Hill, 2008, p. 19, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/ncaatourney03/story?id=1532389, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2–3_zone_defense&oldid=977516037, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The center (5) is behind to half-fronting the post player. The 2-3 zone defense is one of the most popular and common setups for teams on defense. It is more important to guard an open player than stay within the normal constraints of the zone. Who’s the shooters? Want a faster tempo? The 2-3 zone defense is the most commonly used zone defense, designed to stop the inside game. The widespread use of the 2–3 zone is likely due to its somewhat intuitive operation. Some teams simply can’t play against a 2-3 zone defense, so use it! Let’s get this myth out of the way early. Positions when a player is forced to take the ball. The 3-2 zone defense implements perimeter ball pressure and heavy low post defense to limit scoring opportunities for the offensive team. If you’re looking to add this defense to your team’s arsenal, there are three things you must decide on before implementing the 2-3 zone with your team. The top defender dropped back to form the 2–3 zone. All we can ask is that our players box out, are relentless pursuing rebounds, and do their best to secure the basketball. The weak-side guard (1) sprints all the way across the court to deny the easy pass back to the guard. Offense -Zone Frame 1 North Carolina Zone Post Entry 1 3 5 4 2 x1 x4 x5 x2 x3 In this play against a 1-3-1zone defense, 1 passes to 4 at the high post, then moves to the wing. O5 and O4 set up below the defense. Notice 2 is responsible for the high post. If any player doesn’t fulfil their role, other defenders will have to compensate and it will lead to open gaps and usually easy scores for the other team. The 2-3 zone defense, common in basketball, makes it very difficult for an offense to enter the paint, score a layup or get a rebound. The on-ball guard (2) should be in either a neutral stance or forcing the ball towards the baseline depending on the coaches preference. 4. We'd do it a few times a game out of our normal set. The two players on the top of the zone are usually a team's guards, and they guard the zones closest to them on the perimeter and three-point arc. Major weak spots middle and corners. The benefit of this trap is that after you get a few steals and make it tough for the offensive team, they’ll simply stop passing it to the corner because they don’t want to be trapped. 4. Structure when ball is on the wing and the corner is free. Tempo Control – A good zone defense can dictate how fast the game is played. Structure when there is a player in the corner. If the offensive team have put a good passer in the high post (a wise decision), every other offensive player on the floor is now only a short pass away and a threat for a quick catch-and-shoot. University, to snap their 40-game winning streak to target just one defensive player in the high post a... Games and made a career primarily out of our normal set way to disguise a zone. Aware that you may get burned when running this trap also occurs on all baseline drives the. Defense must keep their hands up and active at all times to discourage the.. 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