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March 15, 2014     Newsletter #33

Dear Coaches, Players, Friends,

Today's Quotes
"Never miss a good chance to shut up."- Will Rogers
"Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was 'shut up.'" - Joe Namath

Today's theme is "Dick Bennett's Blocker Mover Offense".

The Blocker Mover offense was developed by legendary coach Dick Bennett at University of Wisconsin Green Bay and then Washington State University. Not all players are natural scorers, and we want to get shots for our best shooters. It is an unpredictable motion offense with extensive screening and cutting, with players reading the defense and reacting accordingly. Players are given roles, some are "blockers" and some are "movers".

Movers are scorers, play all over the court, side to side and top to bottom. A mover looks for a "blocker" to get a screen, uses the screen correctly, reads the defense and makes the right cut. A mover might also screen, but his/her primary thought is to score.

Blockers are smart team players who embrace their primary responsibility of setting good, solid screens for movers. After screening, a blocker may set another screen, or in reading the defense, may shape up to the ball or slip the screen for a pass inside. Blockers score off posting up, slipping screens, offensive rebounding, etc. Blockers are restricted to operating in just certain areas of the floor. After screening, a blocker might pop outside for pass to help relieve pressure, or to help with ball-reversal.

There are variations of the blocker mover offense. Some coaches use three blockers (two "free blockers" and one "lane blocker") and two movers. Here I will discuss Coach Dick Bennett's Blocker Mover offense, which uses two blockers and three movers. In teaching the offense, Coach Bennett teaches it "as a whole", 5-on-5, and does not use breakdown drills per se. You will use drills however to teach blockers how to become good screeners, and movers how to use screens correctly and make shots.

A couple things...
(1) Side-Top-Side Mentality. Defenses tend to breakdown with ball-reversal. Look to pass the ball from the top, to a side, back to the top, and to the other side.

(2) Be deliberate when the ball is on the top, and quick with the ball on the sides (wings). When the ball is on the top, the perimeter player should pause and look inside for a cutter or a post-up, and allow time for the helpside defenders to clear out. When the ball is on the side (wing), the defense has to scramble into helpside, and so pass and move quickly before they get there. The longer you hold the ball on the wing, the more time you allow the helpside defense to get set.

Four Basic Sets
Lane-Lane Set
This set uses two inside post, or "lane", blockers, and looks like a 3-out, 2-in offense. Each blocker stays on his side of the floor (no crossing over), and sets screens up and down the lane line. A lane blocker looks to pin, or seal, defenders inside and shape up to the ball (post-up).

Wide-Wide Set
Two "wide" blockers are used, each having complete freedom to set screens anywhere on their side of the floor from the lane to the sideline and up to the arc (flare screens, ball-screens, elbow screens, back-screens, exchange screens, etc). After screening, the blocker might screen again, or open up to the ball for a pass and shot. A wide blocker is usually more involved as a scorer than a lane blocker. Back-cuts are often open.

Lane-Wide Set
Here we use one "lane blocker" and one "wide" blocker. This set works well when you have one true inside post player, and the other is smaller, more mobile and comfortable on the perimeter. It's more like a 4-out, 1-in offense. The lane blocker O5 stays on his/her side of the lane as discussed previously ("lane-lane" set), moving up and down the lane line, and looks to pin and seal defenders in the paint, and then shape up to the ball (post up). The wide blocker stays on his/her side of the floor and has all the freedom for movement and screening as discussed above under the "wide-wide" set. There are endless screening opportunities..

Top-Bottom Set
This is like a 4-out, 1-in set that favors a smaller team with just one post player ("bottom blocker"). One "top blocker" is used. The bottom blocker can move anywhere below the free-throw line in the paint area on both sides of the lane, and in addition to pin-screening, can cross-screen, elbow screen, and diagonal screen. After screening, the low blocker with seal and post-up. The top blocker works in the area above the free-throw on both sides of the floor, and can flare-screen, back-screen, exchange screen, elbow screen and ball-screen. He might screen and then pop, or slip the screen. Our top blocker might also get the ball and do a dribble hand-off (weave) screen.

None of the actions are scripted, and the screening possibilities are endless. Oftentimes the defense breaks down after a few screens. Less face it, our own defenders don't always do a great job of fighting through, around or over screens, and we don't always switch when we should, and cutters get open. And when we do switch, we might have a big-little mismatch.

In summary... Dick Bennett's Blocker Mover offense is a true, unscripted motion offense with numerous screening and cutting opportunities. There is constant motion and no standing around on offense. It tends to be deliberate as players must be patient, waiting for opportunities to develop. Defenders often get tired fighting through screens. Your offense will usually improve throughout the season as players become better at seeing and seeking the opportunities and reading the defense.

See Blocker Mover Offense, or for Premium Members see the complete article. If you are serious about using this offense, I highly recommend Coach Bennett's DVD - Coach Gels.

Dick Bennett's Blocker Mover Offense
Dick Bennett's Blocker Mover Offense - just $29.99!
Coach Bennett presents his own offensive philosophies and the principles which have made the Blocker Mover offense so successful. There are different variations of the offense, depending on the personnel available. The Blocker-Mover offense allows you to build your team around the talents of one standout player or those of multi-talented athletes.

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Till next time...
Best wishes,
Dr. Jim Gels, aka "Coach Gels"
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