Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Screening: How to Use as an Offensive Weapon

Just to let you know, last season we used the Read & React offense and used screens in less than 20% of our offense; mainly because we had speed and utilized the R&R offense to beat our man of the bounce and create help. I have a fundamental belief that screening is a great offensive weapon. Outside of having a great scorer, I'd take a team that screens and understands how and why to screen.

How to Screen
Most of us were taught to get to a spot, stand straight up with our hands "protecting" ourself and be still. The game has changed so much since then. If your player is screening like that versus us we are going to floor him. The screener should:

  •         Get Low, be in an athletic stance
  •         Lean Forward to prepare for the contact
  •         Be prepared to "shape up" to the ball

How to Recieve a Screen
We all probably tell our players to wait for the screen. How often to we explain why or even how to wait? Players have to learn how to set their defender up to ensure the screen is the most beneficial. Here is how:
  •        Get close to the defender by taking away from the screen first.
  •        Sprint to the screen
  •        Come off the screen low as the screener is. 
BONUS TIP:   If your opponent likes to hard hedge and "stand up" the cutter. Run directly into the hedge. Hard. This will free up the screener on a slip. 
     Example: Think Big on Little Screen. Your 5 is screening for your 3 on the block. X5 hard hedges to                   
                    bump the cutter out so X3 can chase. 3 should sprint right into X5's chest and stand him up and 
                    allow 5 to "shape up" and find the ball. 

Here are my three beliefs and how I teach the importance of screening.

#1 A Screen is a Collision
Players have to understand that a screen is a collision. Players have to expect and want the contact. (Check out this post on Contact.) I know Coaches have different uses of screens. I have two types. The first is a location screen. {Ex. elbow screen.}The screener goes to spot on the floor and the cutter is responsible for using it correctly. The second is the Linebacker. The player goes to find the defender and makes direct contact. Both of these take time in teaching but using both gives you two different types of weapons.

#2 Have a Lineman Mentality
Players have to have a mentality of an offensive lineman. An offensive lineman's jobs are to protect the quarterback and open lanes for the running back. Most of us would struggle to name ten offensive lineman in the NFL but we all know the one who misses the block or  gets a holding call. Missing a screen has to be addressed so players understand the importance of it. Nothing is more frustrating than a great play being erased by an illegal screen called. Players have to be willing to sacrifice their personal glory on a play to make sure that the team succeeds. If each player thinks like a lineman, some might become a tight-end, which leads to...

#3 Better the Screen, the Better the Scoring Opportunity
The beauty of Screens is everyone defends them different. Switch all, switch guard to guard, chase, go over the top. Everyone does it based on their belief. By selling your players on screening, the screener has a great chance to be the scorer. If you practice different types of screens, once you scout how the defense defends screens you can attack them however you need.

That's my take on screening. Check out this post on Defending Screens too.