Basketball Special Situation Plays

Basketball special situation plays encompass a wide range of scenarios that go beyond just last-second shots. Both offensive and defensive special situations are crucial aspects of the game, requiring strategic planning and execution. Offensive situations include jump balls, inbound plays, pressure releases, late-clock scenarios, and free throw situations. On the defensive end, teams must be prepared for jump ball situations, inbound plays, defensive strategies for free throws, intentional fouling, managing the game pace, and adapting to various rule-specific situations.

Offensive Special Situations:

Offensive basketball special situations involve a variety of strategic plays aimed at maximizing scoring opportunities. From executing effective inbound plays to managing late-clock situations with precision, teams must be prepared to capitalize on every offensive possession. Pressure release plays help relieve defensive pressure, while free throw situations require strategic planning to secure points efficiently. Coaches and players alike must understand the nuances of each offensive special situation and execute with precision to gain a competitive edge.

Defensive Special Situations:

Defensive basketball special situations are equally critical, as teams strive to disrupt their opponents’ offensive strategies and limit scoring opportunities. Jump ball and inbound defensive setups must be well-coordinated to prevent easy baskets. Teams must also be prepared to defend against free throws, strategically fouling when necessary to manage the game clock. Additionally, coaches must make split-second decisions to speed up or slow down the game pace based on the score and remaining time. By mastering defensive special situations, teams can control the tempo of the game and maintain a competitive advantage.

I can offer two pieces of advice on basketball special situations. Do what the players know and are comfortable with. Make sure your players know that each basketball move they make on offense, or force on defense, takes one second off the clock (dribble, pass, shot fake, shot).

Here are four important questions about basketball special situations:

  1. Has your team lost a game because your team failed to execute a special situation?
  2. Has your team won a game as a result of proper execution of a special situation?
  3. Do you have special situations for each possible situation (Varies by the rules you play with)?
  4. Does your team practice special situations each day? 

If you have coached very long, the answer to all four questions is undoubtedly YES. This is why special situations are a popular topic to digest as a coach.

Who better to learn from than a coach who has been in basketball since 1981. These notes and video learning are from Stan Van Gundy’s presentation on at the 2017 Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan.

Coach Van Gundy’s number point of emphasis was that it is important to have a wrinkle our of what you already run.

Check out these plays, and play diagrams, from the clinic and adapt them to what you do already.

Coach Van Gundy also discussed his coaching musts at the clinic. These coaching musts are a part of his coaching philosophy, and many encompass offensive and defensive special situations.

Stan Van Gundy Coaching Musts

Take Care of the Ball

  • Good teams pressure – you must be able to handle that.
  • Spend time on press offense, pressure releases in the half court.

Must Get Back and Take Away Easy Baskets

  • Take away anything in transition.
  • Work really hard to get your defense set.

Do Not Foul

  • Teach technique. For example, how to contest without fouling etc.
  • Dumb, sloppy fouls will kill you.
  • Not fouling, does not mean to be soft.

Must Box Out and Rebound

  • Cannot give up second chances.
  • All five players must rebound.
  • You are what you emphasize. Spend your time on things that will keep you competitive.
  • After time out sets can help you win games and situations.

Learn more from Stan Van Gundy from his appearance on The Basketball Podcast and learn more about basketball special situations Masterclass with Dave Severns on Special Situations/

Stan Van Gundy Play Diagrams

Basketball Special Situations

Basketball Special Situations

Basketball Special Situations

Basketball Special Situations

Basketball Special Situations

Basketball special situation plays encompass a broad spectrum of offensive and defensive scenarios beyond just last-second shots. By mastering these situations, teams can effectively navigate crucial moments in the game and gain a competitive edge over their opponents. Whether executing precise inbound plays, managing late-clock situations, or making strategic defensive adjustments, the ability to excel in special situations is essential for success on the basketball court. Coaches and players must dedicate time to studying and practicing these plays to ensure readiness for any scenario that arises during gameplay.

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