5 Guidelines For Proper Ball Screen Use (As A Screener)

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The screener’s role in the ball screen is just as important, or perhaps, more important than the role of the ball handler. If the screener doesn’t read the defense properly and set a great ball screen, neither the screener nor the ball handler is going to get open. The screener has to follow guidelines as well in order to make the ball screen work.
1. BE PATIENT- Screeners need to be patient as much as the ball handlers. It is seemingly very difficult in an up-tempo game such as basketball to slow down and take your time. Patience is a virtue, and being patient with a ball screen is vital. Screeners can’t be in a hurry to set a ball screen especially if the timing and spacing is not right for one.
2. Keep proper spacing- As a screener, pay attention to whether or not the court is balanced. If there are too many players on your side of the court, it is probably not a good idea to set a screen on the ball handler. There won’t be enough room for the ball handler to make a play off the screen, or for you to maneuver after setting the screen. Make sure there is enough space between you and the ball handler, as well as you and the other players on the court. It will make it easier to make decisions after the ball screen is set.
3. Prepare the screen- This entails lots of patience and awareness. Come to a jump stop as you prepare to set the screen. Make sure your knees are bent and your butt is low to the ground. Feet should be shoulder width apart. Chest should be out and ready to take the hit. Keep your elbows at your side so you are wide. This builds a solid foundation for the screen, and makes it difficult for you to be moved by either defensive player. Protect yourself by holding your hands low (guys) or high (girls).
4. Set a great screen- You have a responsibility to make contact on the defensive player. The ball handler must use the screen properly, but you have to do your part. Find the defensive player. Screen with your body, not with your hands. Don’t move on the screen, rather stand solid and firm to the ground.
5. Read and react- Notice how the defense is guarding the screen. There is not a lot of time to react so pay attention beforehand to how the screen is being guarded. If your defender hedges hard, than look for opportunities to slip and roll to the basket, or pop to the short corner. If the defender guarding the ball handler goes under the screen, try rescreening for your teammate. Utilize the various options you have available to get the ball handler open as well as yourself.

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