10 Reasons to Run Set Plays in Basketball

Basketball is a fast-paced team game. Like baseball but unlike football, every player on the court plays both offense and defense. This demands that each person on the squad hone their skills in multiple areas, hopefully rounding them out to be more intelligent, dynamic, athletic contributors.

With such smart, talented members on a solid basketball offense, plays can be created that utlize teamwork and discipline. While some may disagree with the necessity of coming up with such set plays ahead of time, in reality, there are ten solid reasons that it is a good idea to create set plays for basketball offense.

1. Efficiency

Without set plays, an offense may spend too many precious seconds simply trying to haphazardly move around the key, set random picks, blindly drive baseline, or other wasteful tactics. With set plays, the point guard can call for a specific strategy, then watch as it is immediately implemented on the hardwood.

2. Training

Set plays are perfect for practice sessions, providing an appropriate forum for instruction, discipline, and learning. Many coaches struggle to keep coming up with different drills for different skills; but, depending on the level of play involved, it may be a much better idea to incorporate set plays rather than repetitive drilling.

3. Competitive Advantage

If your team has set plays prepared, they come to the floor equipped with additional offensive weapons, tools in their arsenal that the opposing team may not have. Especially if your opponents do not use set plays, you have a distinct advantage, considering the items on this list.

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4. Ease

Not only can set plays be easy to teach, but they can also be very easily played on the court as long as they are taught well. Once the basketball team has a basic understanding of the set play, it can be unfolded as mere procedure, in a mechanical, methodical manner, rather than encounter the difficulty of trying to spontaneously create a brilliant, improvised play.

5. Consistency

With a few set plays at your disposal, the basketball team is ready to try them out, just as they did dozens of times in practice. During the game, if they discover that one or two of them work effectively, then they feel free to use them over and over in devastating fashion. If you are playing a slow team that is weak against the pick and roll, or a short team that cannot handle strong interior play, or a worse rebounding team that may be vulnerable to jumpers and resultant second-chance shots, all of these weaknesses can be exploited with the right selection of set plays.

6. Effectiveness

If it works, use it, and use it often. Set plays are set plays because they have been proven to result in points scored. Even a basic understanding of basketball dictates that a planned, coordinated attack has a better chance of success than one that tries to play off-the-cuff.

7. Perspective

One unique aspect of set plays is that, in both practice and in games, they provide a distinctly different lens through which to view your players. You may discover attitude problems, hidden talents, chemistry issues, or other traits that you never would have seen if you had stuck to drills and other exercises.

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8. Memory

Working on set plays improves the memory skills of every player involved, which can benefit in games. For instance, the opposing offense may be using set plays as well, but having knowledge of them as identifying their schemes can more quickly prepare defenses to deal with the sets they had seen earlier.

9. Teamwork

Set plays give multiple players the chance to play an important role. If players are left to their own devices, they tend to leave certain personnel out, or allow one ball-hogging hotshot to emerge as he or she dominates every play and fails to spread the ball around. Good coaching will account for every position in set plays.

10. Professionalism

Finally, one important reason to use set plays is simply that, at the highest level of basketball competition, including in the National Basketball Association (NBA), set plays are used. Even professional point guards drive set plays.

Although the debate over set plays continues, nowadays it is mostly over the proper age to introduce them; because, overall, their efficacy and usefulness and undeniable.