How To Attack A Ball Screen

How To Attack A Ball Screen

One of the most popular actions in basketball is the ball screen. As ball screens have increased in popularity teams have adapted and become increasingly more effective at defending this action. it has become crucial that players understand the intricate details of this game action. There are many options available to use when attacking a ball screen. The key is knowing when, why and how to use them. Over the next few weeks HoopGrind Basketball will be looking at 10 ball screen actions (Click the link to learn more about the types of screens).  Professional skills trainer Ryan Thomas will be breaking down what players, trainers and coaches need to know about attacking the various defensive schemes teams use against the ball screen.


  • Feel yours
  • See Theirs
  • Read help

What is your defender doing?

  • FEEL YOURS– this refers to having a feel for your defender. A ball handlers focus must not be on the initial on ball defender. The ball handler must be able to feel his/her defender and using angles and body contact to control them. (This is where pace and SLOWING DOWN is crucial to the game).

How is the screener’s defender playing?

  • SEE THEIRS– this refers to the screener’s defender. As the ball handler approaches the screen they must have vision on how the screener’s defender is playing the screen. Do they show early, stay attached, drop, etc)

Where is the help?

  • READ THE HELP– This refers to the other 3 defenders on the court. There is a short window of time and space to make a read on these help defenders. The ball handler must have the knowledge and skill to make the correct read in any given situation.


  • Gain an Advantage
  • Create space between ball handler and defenders
  • Create a mismatch
  • Move a shot blocker away from the rim
  • Create tough rotations for the defense (1vs2 weakside)

We will look at the different ways defenses play the ball screen and how to attack it. Below are a few examples:

The Defense Ice or overplay / drop

  • Reject- Attack rim finishing options
  • Reject Separation series
  • Pound Stop

The Defense goes over / drop

  • Speed attack
  • Outside attack
  • snake
  • Jail stop
  • Split

The Defense Switches

  • Quick slip
  • Pocket pass
  • Screener seals his
  • Roll
  • Pop
  • Slide

Each week, we will pick out a few of these actions and break them down. As the NBA season begins, be on the look out for these actions. If you see a good example, tweet us at @HOOPGRIND. If you want to discuss other ball screen actions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

This list was developed by pro skills trainer Ryan Thomas and the HoopGrind Basketball Staff. You can reach Coach Thomas via Twitter at @coach_thomas_hg or you can e-mail him at

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