25/10/2016 Edit: We’ve published a blog post with breakdown drills to implement this offense. Check it out here.
Today, we break down the “4 out 1 in” motion offense used by Jay Wright of the Villanova team that won the 2016 NCAA championship. This offense is similar to that of the Golden State Warriors’- a small ball offense relying on 3 point shooting, spacing, ball movement, that is less dependent on tall low post players.
4 reasons to run 4 out 1 in
- Great for small teams that can shoot.
- Gives players freedom to read the defense and make decisions.
- Motion teaches kids how to play, not to just run plays.
- Your players learn basic concepts of ALL offenses: cutting, timing, spacing and passing.
If you want to learn how to implement this great scheme, keep reading!
We recruit guys that are good shooters, we want them to come in and shoot with confidence first. Maybe they’ll be a little reckless. – Jay Wright
This offense is all about perimeter shooting so you’ll need players that can shoot at all 5 positions. In an interview with Coach Jay Wright, he revealed that he recruits shooters with confidence and aggressiveness because it’s easier to refine them than build up confidence.
The key position is the center position (no.5) because this player must be a threat in the paint to draw defenders in and also have the skills of a guard (shoot 3’s, pass and dribble). Think of a Draymond Green.
JAY WRIGHT 4 OUT 1 IN MOTION RULES
4 out 1 in motion can get very complex. For youth teams, you can start by simply teaching the basics: spacing, post and perimeter rules. After a couple of seasons together, you can start introducing some of the more advanced scoring opportunities. Teaching the basics will already allow your team to run this offense.
Spacing is offense, offense is spacing
One post player is always stationed on either of the low blocks. The other post player is on the perimeter diagonally opposite the low post player (in one of the slot positions). The other 3 perimeter players are interchangeable, occupying the two wings (near the baselines) and one of the slot positions out top.
The “slot big” is key to this entire offense- unlike the high post big he draws the other big out above the free throw line, making it more difficult to help on drives and allowing for the big-guard flare screen up top to create mismatches.
When you read on, you’ll realize why shooting is so important: it punishes double teams, delays help defense, and draws defenders out into positions where they’ll be uncomfortable.
7 Key Teaching Points
Before we discuss the X’s and O’s of the motion offense, these are 7 general principles to remind yourself
- Post ups and ball screens are your primary looks- always be looking to score with these first
- Catch to shoot every time (eyes on the rim, see post, reversal). The most open you’ll ever be is when you first catch it!
- Standing in position is not bad as long as you have good spacing and are ready to shoot.
- Read the defense – take the lane they give.
- Good shot selection- define what is a good shot for each player
- Good communication – talk to each other when screening, cutting, reversals
- Read your opposite – low post- slot bigs, screener cutter action, this offense makes use of weakside screens so you need to be alert!
One last word: unlike set plays, the motion offense is about teaching your players a set of rules designed to get players open via screens, cutting and misdirection.
We don’t say “the goal of is this play is to get this player a corner 3”, rather a motion offense tries to get your team open for 3 point shots. You’ll never know when or which player might be open- it could be after multiple movements or a simple ball reversal. That’s why rule #2 is vital- all of your players must be aggressive and ready to score the basketball- there is no separating stars or bystanders, everyone must be willing to step up when they catch the ball.
The 4 in, 1 Out offense is about playing TEAM basketball
None of the diagrams below actually tell you when to score- that’s up for your players to read, but we guarantee this motion WILL get your players open.
The 4 Basic Post players Rules
These are the 4 rules that your post players should be following at all times:
- Post players are positioned high / low- diagonally opposite of each other.
- Always screen for the guard/wings player (1, 2 or 3) standing in the slot.
- When the ball is in the slot with the forward, the other forward will duck inside.
- If ball goes into the post, the other post player will rip to the opposite elbow /opposite block.
Let’s see some of these rules in action by breaking down some of the basic movements of the 4 in 1 out offense
NOTE: Post players represented by 4 and 5.
Post Screen Away
The post screen away is all about using weakside ball movement to free up guards. Although it seems complex, it is actually very simple:
- The offense is set up, with the low post triangle formed in line with rule #1. The slot big carries the ball up and swings it to the wing.
- After the pass, the slot big moves to set a cross screen for the point guard in the slot. The point guard uses the screen and cuts to the basket- a pass backdoor from wing to point guard is the first option.
- If the pass is well defended, the slot big can run back to his slot and receive the ball- the second option. Sometimes, the confusion by the screen will give the big enough space to attack directly. Otherwise, the weakside wing is able to move into the vacant slot left by the point guard to swing the ball the other way.
This type of motion is the basis of many Warriors sets- e.g more advanced teams can add in a down screen set by the 5 onto the weakside wing.
Post On Ball Screen
The post on ball screen is another Warrior’s staple. It’s a particularly popular set at the end of quarters- allowing your best two players- a point guard and an all rounded forward, to get involved and set your team up for open shots. Here’s how it works:
- Your team sets up the offense, with the point guard bringing the ball up.
- The slot forward runs over and sets an on ball screen for the point guard
- The point guard now has a plethora of options to attack the defense off the dribble. A current favourite by MVP Steph Curry is the In and Out crossover dribble, as illustrated above.
Post Flare Screen
The post flare screen can be used to initiate the offense and cover up the pass into the low post- another example of rule #2. Here’s how it works:
- The offense is set up, with the point guard bringing up the ball
- The ball is passed the strong side wing.
- Afterwards, the slot post player sets a flare screen for the point guard, and they swap positions. The guard can fake a backdoor cut before exploding the other way to lose their defender.
Post Duck In
The post duck in is an example of rule #3- when the ball is in the slot post player’s hands, the low post player should try to duck into the middle. This means that they should use their body to pivot and seal off their defender away from the middle, allowing for an entry pass and a layup.
Perimeter player 3 basic rules
Your perimeter players should follow these 3 basic rules:
- After making a pass, you have 3 options: a) basket cut b) set a screen c) receive a screen (from post play in a slot). Never pass and stand.
- Perimeter players only screen for other perimeter players. Do not screen post player in slot positions.
- Use the dribble to drive to the hoop or create passing opportunities.
Basket Cut After Pass to Post Slot
The steps of this movement were already explained above in the “Post Screen Away”, but here are some additional tips for the guards:
- Remember rule #1, never pass and stand. In this case, cut backdoor, with the help of a jab step to fool the defender
- The other perimeter player should always fill the empty space left by the cutter
Basket Cut After Wing Pass
This movement is a variation of the “post flare screen” above:
- After the pass to the wing and flare screen, the point guard fakes going over the screen then cuts backdoor
- The weakside wing slides up to fill the empty slot space
This basket cut should be the first option your team explores- if open it will lead to a layup and in the future the defense will always go under the post flare screen, getting your guard open above the 3 point line.
Receive a Screen After Making a Post to Post Slot
This is an example of rule #2- perimeter players should only screen for other perimeter players:
- After passing the ball to the slot big, the wing sets a flare screen on the point guard
- The point guard cuts to the wing and both players swap positions.
Receiving a Ball Screen (Roll and Pop)
This is a more complex variation used to get the slot bigs and low post bigs to swap positions:
- After the slot big sets a cross screen for the point guard, the point guard dribbles the ball across to the opposite slot
- The low post big then cuts up to the slot, and the slot big cuts to the opposite low post.
Advanced scoring opportunities
You can start introducing these more advanced concepts once your team has mastered the basic rules. All of these are wrinkles to add to the fundamental concepts:
- Post and rip
- High ball screens
- Screener cutter actions
- Side ball screens
Post and rip
The post should always seal first meaning they should use 1 arm to hold the defender in position so they cannot steal the ball. The passer should always wait for the seal and then feed the post.
Once the post player has the ball, they have 2 options: Go “baseline to score” or “middle to explore”. If post player goes middle, this is when the other forward needs to cut to the weak side low post.
We always look to enter the ball to the low post. This creates several scoring opportunities. These are as follows:
- Look to score immediately in post.
- Ripper – look for opposite post player who basket cuts to the weak side block. If this post player does not receive the ball he/she is in perfect weak side rebounding position.
- Rip/Skip/Seal – Look for skip pass to weak side corner. After the skip pass if the wing does not shoot he has an ideal pass to the ripper who has just sealed his defender.
- Look to kick back to the wing who entered the ball after slight relocation (this is ideal if the wing defender doubles down on the post)
High ball screens
There are many 3 main options here if the 2 slot players play off their ball screens.
- Pick and drive – immediate driving opportunities to the hoop
- Pick and roll – a drag dribble signals a roll to the hoop (the opposite post fills out and replaces)
- Roll, pop and seal – the opposite post pops out and receives the pass from the driving guard. They then look for the roller, who has sealed his defender. This is the fallback option if the roll man isn’t initially open.
If the ball is passed to the wing, the 2 slot players can use these off ball actions to create opportunities by cutting and screening each other.
- Flares or curls with 2 players in the slot positions. Post player are always screening for perimeter players.
- Post players who set the screen can slip the screen and cut to the basket.
- The perimeter player who uses a screen to curls and the screening post player pops back out to be ready to receive the ball
Down screen options
These are options between the forward slot player and the wing player.
- Pick and slip
- Pick and pop
- Back cut and pop
- Rescreen and drive
Side ball screens options
The post player can also set a side ball screen for the wing player and here are some options out of that.
- Look first to low post
- Low post sets on ball screen in the corner
- At the same time two slot players set a staggered screen for weakside wing to curl or get a good perimeter look
If you run any type of 4 out or motion offense, I’d love to hear about your experiences and if we’ve missed anything here!