Newsletter #237

April 13, 2022

Today's Quote:   "It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe." - Muhammad Ali



Today's Theme:  Pistol Action - Early Offense

"Pistol" action refers to early offense action between the point guard and a wing player, with a post player at the top of the arc.  It is also referred to as "21" because of the interaction between O2 and O1.  Pistol has been used at all levels of the game - pro, college, high school.

Pistol usually starts with one of two options - a dribble or a pass. In both cases, O1 brings the ball up along one sideline (not in the middle), and starts the action from there.

The point guard may dribble at a wing player and use the wing player's screen, or make a dribble hand-off to the wing.  Or the point guard may pass to the wing, and follow the pass to the wing (with several options thereafter - ball-screen, return dribble hand-off, clear-out, etc).  The post player usually sets flare-screens or ball-screens for O1 or O2. Of course you can run this on the left side as well with O1 and O3.

Many coaches have their own way of running pistol, with many options. For example, some coaches may interchange either O4 or O3 as the screener at the top (instead of O5), which sometimes results in a mismatch for the defense.  Pistol is a good way to get into your offense. 


O1 dribbles toward O2, who screens for O1.  O2 then receives a flare-screen from O5.  On the weakside O4 screens for O3. In this diagram, O1 dribbles around the screen and attacks the hoop.  See the article for details, options and video.

Pistol dribble entry

Wing Pass Entry

The diagram below shows O1 passing to the wing.  O1 follows the pass around O2.  Here, O1 clears to the corner, but other options include ball-screening for O2, or receiving a dribble hand-off from O2.  O4 again screens for O3 on the weakside.  O5 then ball-screens for O2 for a pick and roll action.  See the article for details, options and video.

wing pass entry

See:  Pistol Actions - early offense


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