Keys to playing well without the ball
Once players understand the basics of spacing and team movement, they can begin to move fluidly as a team. Players off the ball can read the actions of the ball handler and the positioning of the defence to create opportunities to score or rebound. 
Key questions for players off the ball: 
  • What is the ball handler doing? If they are under pressure, can you offer support with an outlet or a screen? If they are attacking the key, position yourself to receive a pass or compete for a rebound. 
  • Are the defenders focused on the ball or you? Notice their eyes and the open or closed positioning of their body. Cut backdoor if the defender focuses on the ball, V-cut to create space if they focus on you.
  • Is the ball in the centre or side of the court (is there a strong and weak side of the court)? Patience is a virtue on the weak side, read the ball and defence to find an opportunity.  Can I cut into space or should I set a screen off the ball to create an open look for a team-mate?
Final off the ball tip - If you cut into the key, count to 2. If you haven't received the ball or seen a shot go up, then move to the weak side and re-assess using the questions above. This helps to maintain balance, create fluidity of movement among the team and keep the defence off balance.