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The most open man in basketball is said to be the screener. Therefore, screening should be a very high priority for all players whenever possible.  Two-man and three-man game principles are based on the efficiency of setting screens properly, reading the defense and using screens in a manner that will allow the offense an advantage over the defense.



To set a screen properly, you should approach the defender and communicate with your teammate at the same time. Signal to him by holding up your fist and say, "Use me!” Sprint to screen, come to a quick jump stop, feet shoulder-width apart, and place your hands across your midsection for protection. Remain low, wide, and expect contact. And most importantly, set the screen with the proper angle. Consider the expected path or “shot spot” of your teammate relative to the following screens:

  • Down Screen

    • Square your butt to the ball (2-step rule).

  • Flare Screen

    • Square your butt to the sideline corner.

  • Back Screen

    • Square your butt to the basket.

  • Pin Down Screen

    • Square your shoulders to the basket.

  • Wide Pin Down

    • Square your butt to the FT elbow.

  • Cross Screen

    • Square your butt to the sideline.


Using Screens

When you recognize your teammate is going to set a screen for you, it is important to allow him time to establish position. As he is sprinting to you, counter the defense by walking away. Once he is set, use the screen and consider the following:

  • You must go by your teammate hip tight.

  • Rip’s Rule: You should be able to reach down and grab your teammate’s calf as you go by.

  • Get your hands up and cut hard enough to create a scoring opportunity for your team.


First Cut Series

As you use the screen, read the defense (wait and watch) and counter accordingly:


Straight Cut

  • Pop-out straight if the defense slides directly into the screen.

Curl Cut

  • If the defender trails you over the top of the screen, tightly curl to the basket or open area.

Flare Cut

  • If the defender gets off and goes under the screen, nudge your teammate to change the angle of his screen, and then flare to the open area.

Back Cut

  • If the defense becomes too anxious and overplays the screen attempting to fight over the top or switches altogether, reject it and back cut.


Second Cut Series

After your teammate reads the defense and initiates the first cut, make a second cut accordingly. Avoid making two consecutive cuts to the same area:



  • If your teammate straight cuts or flare cuts, reverse pivot and seal the defense with your hips and buttocks. Call for the ball with your hands up.


  • If your teammate curls, pop to the open area rather than roll to the basket. Using your inside step, crossover and back-pedal to the open area.


  • Prior to the actual screen, quickly release to the basket or open area. This technique is most effective when the defense “shows” prematurely.


  • Do not fight pressure, simply back cut and re-screen. Getting open is all about motion. Remain hard-to-guard by screening multiple times.


Secondary Screens

A second effort is sometimes needed in our screening game:

  • If contact is not made, a secondary screen may be attempted. Reverse pivot and make contact on the roll. Have your hands up and call for the ball.

  • On certain occasions the first cut does not assume the “expected path”. Therefore, you may have to reposition your angle. This occurs most often after a flare read and/or against a zone.


Coach Hueser’s “3-Pointer”

  • 5 W’s of Screening: Wide, Wait, Wait, Wait and Watch!

  • On a tight curl cut, maintain contact with the screener as long as possible.

  • Sprint to screen and walk away before using a screen.


Learn to talk early, loud and often!


Coach's Corner:

Do the following if you want to get the ball on offense:

  1. Compliment your passer, always!

  2. Honor thy passer by passing back to him often.

  3. Play hard to guard without the ball so your teammates get used to you being open.

  4. Communicate your availability with your eyes, mouth, and hands.

  5. When your teammate attempts to pass you the ball, but turns it over, always assume the blame even if it's not your fault.

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