I think that it is important to constantly learn new tricks and strategies for attacking different zone defenses; however, I always have trouble finding offenses that are effective against a 1-3-1 zone defense. I would love to hear anyone's ideas or schemes that have worked for them in the past!

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If my team is having trouble beating a 1-3-1 zone, I try to get some baseline screening trying to get the ball into the post - either via baseline drive or pass off a screen on the defender in the middle.

The other way to beat the 1-3-1, especially at higher levels, is to use an offense that quickly skips the ball. When the ball is on one wing, for example, the opposite defender typically needs to drop down towards the block to protect the weak side. Swinging the ball quickly (or skip passing) can create an overload situation on that player.

So I guess my basic rules would be:
1. If you don't have outside shooters, attack the block via the baseline.
2. Getting the ball into the high post (say the middle of the free throw line) can cause trouble because it can be confusing who should be dropping and it might put the baseline defender under the basket (and out of position)
3. Outside shots always pull teams out of a zone

Good book on the subject:
Attacking Zone Defenses by John Kresse & Richard Jablonski
I have used 2 guard up top, 5 in the middle, 3 & 4 in the corners. I have had team where we stressed looking to hit the diagonal pass after a reversal. This works real well for teams that don't rotate very good. I have a team now however where this does not work at all. I was watching Boston College play against Michigan's 1-3-1 earlier this year and Al Skinner overloaded by having PG and 3 man up top. He had 4 and 5 on the blocks, and 2 about fouline exteneded. When the PG attack the gap, the bounce pass to your 2 man will always be there. 2 looks to penetrate, bounce pass to strong side big man on the block. The 3 man up top with the PG looked to flash middle to occupy the middle man in the zone. If you just leave him out on the perimiter it will allow their middle man to sag towards your 2 post players. If I have 2 really good shooters, I do it the same way, but let the 3 man stay wide on the perimeter and my weakside big flashes, again, occupying their man in the middle.

When Belien saw Boston College breaking it that way, Michigan got out of it in about 3 possessions. (BC scored on 2 bounce passes and a open jump shot). I played highschool team that 1-3-1'd me twice already. First game they were beating us by 18 at halftime. 2nd game I installed this zone breaker and I got them out of it 1/2 through the 1st qt. I got them to play man and we beat them on their floor. It breaks down most of the rules in a 1-3-1.
Simple Offense-GAP. 2 bigs on the blocks, high post player, and two guards splitting the top. Guards look for diagnol pass to big on block. Any time pass is entered to high post they immediately face and look for one of the bigs. Important guards don't get too wide, then the defensive wings slide down to blocks. Guards should stay about width of key and constantly look for diag. pass to big. It's simple, but very effective. Key is coaching up guards to make that pass and bigs to have a good target.

You can also run back sceens on the defensive wings for lobs.
Also, if you get the ball in the corner, the middle defender job is to go the stongside block and defend...set a back pick on him and flash someone to the strong side block after throwing the ball to the corner or shot corner.
Alot of people will tell you to run a standard two guards at the top one in the midldle and two wing players with the 5 and 4 rotating in..Everyone in basketball knows this. A good coach brings a "fresh funkyness" to game..You can run a regular motion passing and cutting offense against spread out zone defense like the 1-3-1..Also depending on you players keep it simple SCREEN zONES..It creates uneven match ups and wide open players..IT also takes out and weakens zone rebounding even more

Coach Jared Neff

Hello everybody!. Against an agressive 1-3-1 press is kind of hard to play, so we need to train this offense very hard, correcting each time our players make a mistake. We really surprise them with our first sentence when we start practicing the BOX ATTACK, they can't believe what they're hearing: " WE ARE GOING TO ATTACK AND DESTROY THIS HARD 1-3-1 DEFENSE WITH JUST 4 PLAYERS, SO.....YOU (OUR Pointguard) WON'T PLAY" , and inmediately "we tell him to make the first pass and then SIT DOWN in the court. You should see their faces, thinking "our coach is going nuts!!".

Well, the principles in this BOX ATTACK are the following: 1- the four players in the holes of the 131 zone, so our figure would be a 2-2 (kind of a square).Our shooting-guard and small forward in the holes, trying to be on the free throw line extended, but always facing their colleagues (power-forward and pivot, who have to be near the base line but close to the basket, never wide open) . 2-No dribbling, just passes, trying to avoid skip ones. This will prevent to be trapped. I assure you that after 2,3 or 4 passes we'll have an easy shot, short one.

Anyone that would like to discuss this is welcome , my emal is sankoolhaas@hotmail.com . The hardest part of it is to practice it, to convince our players that it will work, so an intensive on-floor job is essential.

We start in a 2-3 low set, pass to the wing, flash the
weak side wing into the high post. On the strong
side you have a hi/ low situation. We get layups all
day on the strong side.  Then you have a 1 on 1 situation
On the weak side and can skip and attack the defender 
Closing out.


Jacques F.Koolhaas said:

Hello everybody!. Against an agressive 1-3-1 press is kind of hard to play, so we need to train this offense very hard, correcting each time our players make a mistake. We really surprise them with our first sentence when we start practicing the BOX ATTACK, they can't believe what they're hearing: " WE ARE GOING TO ATTACK AND DESTROY THIS HARD 1-3-1 DEFENSE WITH JUST 4 PLAYERS, SO.....YOU (OUR Pointguard) WON'T PLAY" , and inmediately "we tell him to make the first pass and then SIT DOWN in the court. You should see their faces, thinking "our coach is going nuts!!".

Well, the principles in this BOX ATTACK are the following: 1- the four players in the holes of the 131 zone, so our figure would be a 2-2 (kind of a square).Our shooting-guard and small forward in the holes, trying to be on the free throw line extended, but always facing their colleagues (power-forward and pivot, who have to be near the base line but close to the basket, never wide open) . 2-No dribbling, just passes, trying to avoid skip ones. This will prevent to be trapped. I assure you that after 2,3 or 4 passes we'll have an easy shot, short one.

Anyone that would like to discuss this is welcome , my emal is sankoolhaas@hotmail.com . The hardest part of it is to practice it, to convince our players that it will work, so an intensive on-floor job is essential.

Split the point guard of the 131 then split the back court defender and a simple pass from guard to opposite forward down low results in a eight foot jumper every time.



Don Emigholz said:

Split the point guard of the 131 then split the back court defender and a simple pass from guard to opposite forward down low results in a eight foot jumper every time.

P.S. The eight foot jumper is often parallel to the back board so make sure a right handed forward is shooting on the left side and a left hander forward is on the right to make it easier to shoot around the backboard. You would think it does not matter but it does.

A 2-3 offensive set can be really good sometimes against a 1=3=1

        3                X              4

                          5

     x                  x                 x

       1                  x             2          say the ball goes to the four man in the corner, a trapping team will move the bottom and side defenders out to trap, the offensive 5 man goes low block ball side, and the 3 man from the other side of the floor can flash to the high block for a pass, shot, or high low game.  As the three man flashes, the defender on his side of the zone naturally reacts, then the one man can back cut for a layup.  I'll try to draw it up on the playbook, but I'm not good with it.

                 

hi, you can attack all kind of defense even 1-3-1 with READ & REACT OFFENSE system, just try and see how you make the defense like crazy .i play only this system in all games, nobody can scout you in offense, especialy its great transition offense, you can play it 5 out, or 4 out 1 in, against all zones defense, just try once and see .

I like to simplify the game in that, just about any zone you see will become a 2-3 when you corner the ball. That will get you back into familiar territory. I want to "odd the front", which means if they have 1 on top, we'll have 2, if they have 2 we'll have 3, if they have 3, we'll have 2- trying to have guys in gaps as often as possible. Then, you use simple concepts- work 2ah3 or 4 sides of the floor, work inside out with penetrating passes and dribbles and we always teach our post guys to work from behind the zone. When the ball is moved, let the defense shift and then attack a gap, which means guards have to be patient and let the defense settle in for a quick second so the bigs can gap it.

If the weak-side wing on defense is doing his job, then you shouldn't get easy passes to a forward for 8-foot jumpers - he should be basically in that passing lane.  However, if you have two people on that weak side - one near the block and one slightly below the elbow - that might create a difficult overload situation...  It depends on what they do with their top guard on defense when the ball goes to the wing (if they trap vs. if they have him sag in the top half of the lane).

Don Emigholz said:



Don Emigholz said:

Split the point guard of the 131 then split the back court defender and a simple pass from guard to opposite forward down low results in a eight foot jumper every time.

P.S. The eight foot jumper is often parallel to the back board so make sure a right handed forward is shooting on the left side and a left hander forward is on the right to make it easier to shoot around the backboard. You would think it does not matter but it does.

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