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Dribble-Drive Zone Offense

By James Gels, from the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @ http://www.coachesclipboard.net

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The dribble-drive motion offense, developed by Vance Walberg and popularized by John Calipari, is now being used by many college and high school teams. The basic concepts are spacing, creating gaps, attacking with the dribble-drive, and "inside-out" passing for open 3-point shots (drive and kick). It is a guard-oriented offense that favors a team that might be lacking in tall post players, but strong in good outside perimeter players who can dribble-drive and are good outside shooters. It has been used mainly as a man-to-man offense. This article discusses how you can modify and use the dribble-drive offense in attacking zone and packline defenses as well. Before proceeding however, you must have a basic understanding and familiarity with the dribble-drive motion offense. Click here and/or get Vance Walberg's excellent DVD, or one of several other excellent DVDs listed below.

This article comes from our own experience and also from ideas presented by Hall of Fame Coach Jerry Petitgoue, the winningest coach in Wisconsin high school history, at Cuba City High School, with over 40 years of successful coaching experience. If you are serious in learning about and wanting to run the dribble-drive zone offense, you'll definitely want to get Coach Petitgoue's "Dribble-Drive Zone Offense" DVD. Coach Petitgoue is a great teacher of the game and I love to listen to him.

Coach Jerry Petitgoue
Jerry Petitgoue

Basic Zone Offense Concepts

As in any zone offense, these principles apply:

  • Transition attack... beat the defense down the court and score off the break. This is especially true of the dribble-drive offense, which favors speed and the guard attack. Also the dribble-drive offense is very easy to flow into off the break with O1 and O4 at the top, O2 and O3 on the wings or corners, and O5 running to the rim (and then moving to the weakside once the offense starts) - see Diagram A.

  • Spacing... spacing is very important to any offense and we have our perimeter players out beyond the 3-point arc, and our post player O5 will usually be "away" or opposite the ball. Against the 2-3 zone, we may start the offense with O2 and O3 (normally in the corners) up higher at the wings (see diagram A).

Dribble-drive zone offense


Most of this article discusses attacking the 2-3 zone as this is most common zone defense that you will encounter. Diagram B shows the offense starting against the 2-3 zone defense. Now I had always believed that against a two-guard zone front, you must run a zone offense with a one-guard front, like the 1-3-1. However, I have been very impressed with how well spreading the floor with the 4-out set and attacking with the dribble-drive works. Notice in diagram B in our 4-out set that O2 and O3 start higher on the wing. Diagrams B, C and D show a simple continuity offense with passing and reversing the ball. The rule is simple... when either player at the top passes to the wing, he cuts through to the opposite side, as the other perimeter players rotate to fill the vacated spots. I think you could run this continuity as a drill, just to get the players to understand how the perimeter spots must be filled.

So here O1 passes to O2 and cuts through as O4 and O3 rotate to fill the spots. We always want our perimeter players to locate in our six basic spots... the four spots seen in these diagrams, or either corner. It's very important that we fill those spots. In diagram C, O2 passes back to O4, and O4 passes to O3. On the pass to the wing O1, O3 cuts through to the opposite side.

Notice the continuity here. Also notice that the only time the cut-through is made is on the pass from the top to the wing. We don't want players cutting after every pass (as in the Read and React offense), as this will tend to clog the middle. Notice also, that so far, we have not shown any "dribble-drive" action... just all passing. You can use this continuity action for a few passes, to get the zone to move and shift, and then it is often easier to dribble-penetrate. Or you may choose not to run this continuity, but rather just spread the floor, make a few passes and then dribble attack.

Dribble-drive zone offense Dribble-drive zone offense Dribble-drive zone offense

The rest of this article is in the Premium Members section and the Deluxe CD and downloads. It also includes all of these important parts of the dribble-drive zone offense:

Attacking with the Dribble-Drive

"Triangle" Set

Screening the Zone

In Summary...

If your team is guard-oriented, I think you will like both the dribble-drive man offense and this dribble-drive zone offense. We are finding that we can save a lot of practice time and greatly simplify things for our players by not having to teach and drill a separate zone offense (other than perhaps a simple 1-3-1 zone attack). We find that the dribble-drive zone offense is simple and effective. We will go up and down the court 5-on-5 in practice, interchanging the defenses between man-to-man and zone, and just let the kids attack. The dribble-drive zone offense keeps players moving and aggressive and avoids some of the stagnation, standing around, and predictability that sometimes occur with other conventional zone offenses. Get Coach Petitgoue's DVD!

Also see: Dribble-Drive Motion Offense, Dribble-Drive Motion Offense - More, and Dribble-Drive Motion Offense Breakdown Drills

Helpful DVDs:

The Dribble Drive Zone Offense
The Dribble Drive Zone Offense
with Jerry Petitgoue, Cuba City HS (WI) Head Boys Basketball Coach (35+ years), 19 Conference titles, 3X Wisconsin State Championships .
Coach Petitgoue, the winningest coach in Wisconsin High School history, shows how to defeat zone defenses with the Dribble Drive Motion Offense. Petitgoue's on-court demonstration shows how to attack the 2-3 zone, 3-2 zone and how to beat it in transition. With an emphasis on... more.

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD - Video Store!

Vance Walberg:  the dribble-drive motion offense
Vance Walberg: Mastering the Dribble Drive Attack Offense
By Vance Walberg, University of Massachusetts Assistant Coach, creator of the innovative dribble drive attack offense, 2005 California JC undefeated State Champions.
Vance Walberg's Dribble Drive offense has taken the basketball world by storm. An idea 10 years ago, this system has evolved into an offensive attack adopted by John Calipari, Larry Brown, ... more.

Price: $119.99 (2 DVD's)
Buy Now!

Fran Fraschilla:  the dribble-drive motion offense
The Encyclopedia of the Dribble-Drive Motion Offense
with Fran Fraschilla, ESPN analyst, former college basketball coach, NABC District II Coach of the Year ('95), MAAC Coach of the Year ('95) while at Manhattan.
Fran Fraschilla lays out everything you need to know to install the Dribble-Drive Motion Offense. Fraschilla explains four types of Dribble-Drive Motion: the Memphis Attack (4-out, 1-in), ... more.

Price: $119.99 (3 DVD's)
Buy Now the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD Store!

Jerry Petitgoue:  the dribble-drive motion offense
Dribble-Drive Offense for High School Basketball
with Jerry Petitgoue, Cuba City HS (WI) Head Boys Basketball Coach (35+ years), 19 Conference titles, 3X Wisconsin State Championships .
Coach Jerry Petitgoue, the 41-year legendary high school coach, has put together his own unique twist on the Dribble-Drive Offense for high school basketball... more.

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD - Video Store!