Blog Archives

Creating an Offensive Play Call System (Part 1)

One question I am frequently asked, “How do I come up with the play calls that I use for my plays?”. Until now, I have never taken the time to explain why I name certain actions the way I do. This was until I watched Stan Van Gundy’s lecture at the 2013 Coaching U Live and I became inspired to break it all down for you. However, before I dive into the names of particular actions to signal play calls, let’s discuss many of the most commonly run schemes in basketball.

Flex Action

Flex is probably the most known and run offenses in all of basketball. Why? Because it is extremely effective if not guarded correctly. Furthermore, it is a repetitive offense that if you can lull the defense to sleep, will result in lay-ups. Flex actions are designated by running a backscreen/downscreen action. If you want to be creative you can move your wings higher and set traditional backscreens to give more space/time to get open at the rim.


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Portland Trailblazers Zipper Flare

The Portland Trailblazers ran this zipper cut flare action in the 1st half of their win over the LA Clippers last night.  Portland head coach Terry Stotts does a great job emptying out the weak side to open up the flare screen.


Phoenix Mercury “Zipper Stagger”

The Phoenix Mercury ran this play at last night vs the Chicago Sky at the end of the 4th quarter in an attempt to take the lead. As 1 came off the screen she had to option to pass to 3 coming off the stagger, throwback to 4, or attack the rim. She decided to pull up for a free-throw line jumper, which she missed.


Florida State Seminoles Zipper Backdoor

Leonard Hamilton ran this quick hitting backdoor set during the 2008-09 basketball season. As 2 (DeMercy) popped out to the wing, 31 (Singleton) really fake a passed to 2 as he cut hard backdoor to the rim.


Boston Celtics Zipper Thumb Sideline Out of Bounds

This sideline out of bounds play from Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics is one of my favorite plays. Zippering a guard into a middle pick & roll is extremely effective and opens multiple scoring options.


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