Special Situation Basketball Plays

Basketball special situations are important, and special situations does not mean just last second shots. Offensive special situations are all your jump ball, inbound, pressure release, late clock and free throw situations. Defensive special situations are all your jump ball, inbound and free throw defensive situations, plus how you will foul intentionally, speed up the game if down, or slow down the game if up, and other situations specific to your rules of the game.

I can offer two pieces of advice on 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 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.

Stan Van Gundy Play Diagrams

Special Situations

Special Situations

Special Situations

Special Situations

Special Situations

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