There are lots of formation types in basketball. All formations stem from a few basic principles:
- player movement and spacing (offense)
- getting open on the court with cuts and screens (offense)
- giving the ball to your best players (offense)
- playing fast or slow based on the tempo of the opponent and game (offense)
- forcing turnovers with steals, rebounds, blocks, traps (defense)
- focusing on a specific area of the court, such as the half-court, full-court, corners, or three-point line (offense or defense)
When discussing the alignment of players on the court, numbers are often used for quick recognition (2-3 zone defense, 1-4 high offense, 1-3-1, etc.). In this format, the numbers tell how many players are in which court space from which positions: the first number usually indicates how many players are at the top of a formation (farthest from the basket), and so on.
Offensive Formation Types
Here is a list of offensive formations:
Defensive Formation Types
Here is a list of defensive formations:
Choosing a Formation in Basketball
Deciding which formation to use can be difficult. Coaches use these steps to determine which offensive and defensive formations they should use:
- Decide if the formation is for when your team is on offense or defense.
- Know which formation(s) your opponent uses. If there is game footage available, you can study ahead of time. If not, you can always change your formation during the game.
- What is your team good at? If you have a great post player, you may want to run a transition offense. If your team has good shooters, then maybe a motion offense is better.
- Design set plays, so your team can rely on pre-planned plays in desperate situations.
- Have your team practice the formations and run drills.
Basketball Formation Terms
Here are some terms you can explore that are related to basketball formations: