A protection plan in our offense is a skill that we use to control ourselves on a drive when no immediate decision is available. The terminology is something that we took from Doug Novak, formerly the head men’s basketball coach at Bethel.
Many options exist as it pertains to protection plans and none of them are foreign to basketball coaches, but how we connect them to our offense and how well our players learn to use them can be an important piece of a quality possession. The four primary protection plans we use are two-foot stops, Barkleys, dribble-thrus, and retreats. For this article we will focus on two-foot stops and Barkleys.
The most often used and most familiar protection plan is driving the basketball and getting to a two foot stop. Two foot stops give us balance, power, and the ability to pivot. Two foot stops allow us time and when combined with pivots, can also give us space to make better decisions.
We primarily teach stride stops as our main method of playing off of two feet. A jump stop is certainly something that we want our players to understand and have the ability to use, but when we stride stop, our players have the primary benefits of playing off two feet while also having the option to play with speed. A quick reference of players finishing with speed and power off a stride stop is in the next video example. For more visual examples and a deeper dive into stride stops, check out this article.
In our base offense when a player drives the basketball, we have our standard push-pull-hold penetration reactions, but when the ball comes to a stop, it’s speaking to the players off the ball to move into an open window or make a cut to the rim. We call these cuts and movements when the ball is stopped “second cuts”, which is terminology that we gathered from Jay Wright and Villanova.
Not only does our two foot stop trigger second cuts and potential advantages/ scoring opportunities for players off the basketball, a two foot stop with the ability to pivot can create a shot opportunity for the player who attacked as well.
A Barkley is a drive that turns into a post-up. For us, it most often occurs on a baseline drive. Like two-foot stops, Barkleys can be used as a scoring tool especially when a player drives and has a favorable size and strength advantage.
We want players to be a threat to score when they use a Barkley, but they are most often used by our players to keep a live dribble when an immediate decision isn’t available on a drive. A Barkley is a trigger for off-ball action. It could be a dive to the rim, a weak-side screen, or most commonly, a post split. On a post split the two players closest to the post entry would come together for a screening or cutting action. This was our primary action anytime the ball touched the post either through the pass or via a Barkley in our offense.
We won’t always create a scoring opportunity or a shot with a protection plan like the video clips above show. Many times our usage of protection plans is to keep a possession alive and to allow our players more time and space to make a decision based on the action occurring on the court. Generally speaking, the more time and space our players have to make decisions and the more solutions they have to remain poised on a possession, the better decisions they make.
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or would like to talk basketball, please email me at email@example.com.