Flat Four Offense

Notice: This article was written by Steve Jordan, Coach's Notebook. Email the author at sjordan@alaskalife.net.

This is a really easy man to man offense to teach. The main reason it is easy is that there are very few skill elements and a lot of space to work with. This play is ideal for teams that have few (if any) practices and for teams that need an easy play to use in that end-game scenario when you need to create a shot.

When you stop to think about it, offensive plays are really about one thing - creating space, usually space to shoot. When a ball handler jab steps in and the defender retreats a step, space is created. When a screen is set and the defender is delayed, again, space is created. What we are doing here is creating space right away. What you will need to run this play is at least one good dribbler. If you have more good ball handlers, have the kids trade off as the ball handler in the diagrams.


Flat Four Start Up

This is the basic set. One player with the ball is in the attack position. The other four move to the baseline - hence the name: flat four.

The spacing is obvious. If the opponent is playing a tight man to man, they'll drop back to the baseline, too.

First Option

If your ball handler has some one on one skills, you are in good shape. He/she just starts the move. The natural dynamics suggest that the defensive players will adjust if their ball defender gets in trouble. If they leave their man to help, you should be able to cash in on some easy hoops.

Here, the ball handler drives. The baseline defender steps up to help, but a good pass earns a basket behind him.


Second Option

In this example, the offense sends a big player up to set a pick near the free throw line. I like this because there is so much room to run the pick and roll.

Note that the blue player in the left corner moves to mid-court. This is important because:

  1. This player will be your safety outlet
  2. She can resume the play if the first attempt fails giving you continuity
  3. She is your last bastion of defense if the opponent recovers the ball and tries a fast break.

In this scenario, we attempt a pick and roll, but the corner defender steps up to help. The man he was guarding - as soon as he realizes his defender is no longer looking at him! - breaks toward the basket.

The left corner player has moved to the top as your safety.

This play is simple to setup and learn. It is also good for a last second offensive play.