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How to coach and teach the old Kentucky Pattern Basketball Offense

This type of offense is meant to be used against man-to-man defenses. Some minor changes should be made when attacking zone defenses.

The offensive system from a set pattern should be installed by diagramming each play on a blackboard. Break down the options on each play and explain them thoroughly. Each player should be given a copy of the diagram for reference. The  best method is to outline the play on a removable blackboard on the court.

Then the coach should have five players walk through the set play on the court, without opposition. After each aspect of the play has been covered, the coach should leave the five players at one end of the court, then walk the second group through the play at the other end.

The first group, led by an assistant coach, or team captain, should be going through the play pattern slowly as the coach works with the second group.

As a coach, you must insist on correct movement initially, since proper implementation of the play depends on accurate movement and timing. The coach should hold a player if he is going too soon or tap him to start him on his way at the proper moment.

On the first day that a play pattern is given to a team the coach should identify it by a number, a name, or a recognizable key signal. He should use this name, number, or key signal repeatedly during his explanation during the walk-through and slow-motion period.

On the second day, the coach should repeat the procedure explaining the play to the whole squad, outlining it schematically on the blackboard at court-side going over each play repeatedly in the walk-through and slow movement procedures, again doing it at both ends, at all times referring to the play by name, by number, or by the recognizable key.

On the third day, the coach should use passive defense against this play pattern. The defensive players should be the weaker players on the team, and they should be told to maintain passive defensive positions on their men. They should not use their hands and they should not switch. It is most important your players gain confidence in each option, or play; therefore, coaches should not defense their offense out of existence. Aggressive defense at this time may make players lose confidence in the play.

The fourth day, the players should move more aggressively. Timing should be checked as the pattern movement speeds up, and constant constructive criticism offered. Once the players understand the pattern, and all play options completely, the coach should break each play option down into its fundamental ingredients, for drilling.

The following tactics will help offensive teams maintain the proper deployment, or spread, against man-to-man defense:

  1. Try to beat the opponent's weakest player on-on-one.

  2. If the opponents adjust defensively to help the weaker defender, work through the weakened area after a feint towards the weak defender.

  3. Use inside screens to cut men free for a close-in shot, screening away from the ball, or at the ball.

  4. Use beat-the-switch tactics and offensive rolls to negate the effectiveness of switches.

  5. To obtain good shots for good players, use outside screens in the 3-point shot area, especially against teams that use sagging principles in their man-to-man defense.

Here are some suggestions for offensive players in specific situations:

  1. When playing against an opponent who is playing a tight man-to-man, run your opponent into your teammate or his teammates.

  2. You can screen effectively away from the ball while being played closely because your guard usually concentrates on you so completely that he abandons team defensive principles. For example, he may fail to switch, or neglect to drop off from the weak-side to help teammates.

kentucky1.jpg (9588 bytes)

Offensive Set:

Left: Player #1 brings ball down floor while teammates line up along free throw extended as in diagram.

Right: Player #1 passes to player # 3. Player #5 immediately sets screen for player #1 and Player #1, using #5's screen cuts to block.

OPTIONS For Player #3: 
  1. Player #3 may shoot the 3-pointer, 
  2. Take his opponent one-on-one and driving to the basket for a lay-up.
  3. Pass to player #1 cutting to the block, thus completing an effective give and go play.
  4. If none of these things happen he passes to player #5 who has replaced player #1, now at the low post.

kentucky2.jpg (10358 bytes)

kentucky3.jpg (10120 bytes)

Pattern continued:

Left: Assuming nothing happens, player #2 screens for player #4 who goes to elbow as player #2 replaces player #4 at the arc.

Pattern Continued:

Right: Player #3 passes to player #5.

OPTIONS for Player #5: 

  1. He can pass to player #4 cutting backdoor.
  2. He can reverse the ball by passing to player #2.

kentucky4.jpg (9223 bytes)

kentucky5.jpg (9219 bytes)

Pattern Continued:

Left: Ball is reversed from player #5 to player #2 and cuts to the basket. Player #3 cuts to the baseline and works off of player #1's

OPTIONS for Player #2:

  1. He can shoot a 3-pointer.
  2. He can pass to Player #5 cutting to the basket.
  3. Pass to Player #3 cutting to the low post.
  4. Pass to Player #1 cutting outside the arc.
Pattern Continued:

Right: This diagram shows Player #3 cutting across the lane to a low post position. Should he receive a pass from Player #2, he has these options:

OPTIONS for Player #3 if he is passed the ball at the low post:

  1. He can shoot.
  2. He can pass to another teammate under the basket.
  3. Pass outside to Player #1 cutting outside the arc. 

kentucky6.jpg (8867 bytes)

kentucky7.jpg (9367 bytes) Pattern Continued:

Left: Players #4 and #5 double screen one.


Pattern Continued:
Right: Player #1 cuts to top of key.

OPTIONS for Player #1:
  1. shooting at top of key.


kentucky8.jpg (9203 bytes)
kentucky9.jpg (9780 bytes)  
Pattern Continued:
Left: Player #4 pops back out to wing and Player #5 stays at block.


Pattern Continued:


kentucky10.jpg (9610 bytes)
kentucky11.jpg (9554 bytes) Pattern Continued:

Left: Player #2 passes back to point player #1. Players #3 and #5 slide up to elbows 

Pattern Continued:

Right: Players #2 and #4 slide around the arc to the free-throw line extended. Player #1 passes to player #4 and Pattern is repeated.

kentucky12.jpg (9412 bytes)
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