Eight Ways to Use the Ball Screen


I have never been able to figure out why more coaches do not use the ball screen more often in their offenses.  Simply put, teams and players, especially at the high school level, do not know how to defend the ball screen well.  Defending the ball screen is just not an aspect of defense is not worked on all that often.  So when it comes time to defend it in a game, these players really are not prepared to.  From and offensive perpspective this makes it easy to use the ball screen effectively and get good looks at the basket and in most cases easy scores.  Using the ball screen properly is an aspect of skill development that can be worked on like anything else.  The following are eight ways in which basketball players can use the ball screen effectively and get themselves or their teamates good shots throughout the course of the game. 
1. Turn the corner (the screener’s defender does not show) — Guard drives low and tight, get your shoulder as low as their hip.

2. Hesitate and go (soft hedge) – At level of screen, hesitate, eyes on rim. Key to make the hedge man relax then explode past him.

3. Split the hedge— use a quick change of direction move.

4. Fake the split then inside/out dribble to the paint.

5. Reject the screen (Guards man completely blocks the path of the driver, screener’s defender is at block area zoning up.

6. Shooting behind—The on ball defender goes behind the screen. Shot must come directly behind the screen.

7. Re-screen – when screener’s defender shows big, flat hedge. Drive over the screen, then crossover and use the screen again toward the baseline. Screener turns to the inside on second screen getting you closer to the basket.

8. Early slip—Guard’s defender jumps low (toward baseline), driver splits between his man and the screen. Counter is to fake the split.





The most under-utilized part of offensive ball screening. After clearing the screen low and tight, explode on the split. Dribble below the knees.

Circle the Cone Basketball Agility Drill

Training for speed and agility is a main part of my basketball training philosophy at Elite Basketball Training.  It is so important for basketball players to be able to change directions quickly during a game and this is a skil that needs to be practiced.  Below is a video of another great basketball speed and agility drill. 

In this video from Elite Basketball Training, the player is running through the Circle the Cone Agility Drill.  The player will be running diagonally at each cone then around the cone and on to the next one.  The key to being successful in this basketball agility drill is to really stay low and balanced in the cones.  This will allow you to accelerate out of the cone and on to the next one.  As always, this drill is also done with the basketball to make it even more functional to the game.  By adding the basketball, the player is learning how to transition into different directions while maintaining their balance and handling the basketball. 

Elite Basketball Camps (Discount Information)

Summer time is right around the corner!  This summer there are many opportunities for your son or daughter  to participate in some great basketball, stay active, get in shape and prepare for the upcoming school or travel basketball season. 

The Elite Basketball Camps will be run by Rich Stoner, owner and operator of Elite Basketbll Training, LLC and head boys basketball coach at Metuchen High School in Metuchen, NJ.  Coach Stoner is an accomplished coach having turned a program that had 17 straight losing seasons into a perennial contender at the state group one level.  He is also an accomplished writer having articles featured on websites including:,, and as well as being featured in a recent online basketball clinic from

Registration forms for these programs are available online at Elite Basketball Camps and Elite Basketball Bootcamp.

Also take advantage of this one time offer and receive 10% off the Elite Basketball Camp fee (the Elite Basketball Bootcamp is not subject to this because it is already being offered at a promotional price).  Simply, become a fan of Elite Basketball Training on Facebook (click on the Facebook icon on the home page), post a comment, print that comment and send it in with your registration and you can take 10% off the total cost of your Elite Basketball Camp(s) registration. 

Please Remember, Space is Limited.

I look forward to working with all new and old participants.  Any and all referrals are highly appreciated.  If you know anyone who would benefit from this programming please feel free to send this e-mail to them.  Your referral is the biggest compliment I can receive.  Thanks.

See you on the court!

Rich Stoner

Elite Basketball Training, LLC

Delicious Chocolate Cherry Bars Recipe

I’ve got two super quick updates for you from my partners over at Prograde:

First, yes, it is true. They really did sell out of their brand new Prograde Metabolism in just four days! As of right now they plan on having it back in stock the last full week of May.

Second, here’s another sweet recipe for you to try out. Looks mighty tasty!


Rich Stoner

Elite Basketball Training, LLC

One on One Closeout Drills

As a coach, you see it all the time, players working on their basketball skills in a way that is not conducive to a game.  You know the drill, going out on the court and immediately chucking up three point shot after three point shot from the same spots while bouncing the ball five or six times in front of you because they are frustrated that they keep missing.  This type of workout usually lasts about 15 minutes and then the player goes in the house having barely broken a sweat.  It is really frustrating to watch because you know that, that particular player thinks they just put in a good workout and that they will out perform the competition based on those types of practice sessions.  Unfortunately for them, they are sorely mistaken. 

This is not always the case; there are players out there who understand how to workout properly for basketball on their own.  For example, about two weeks ago I was putting one of my trainees through a rigorous speed, agility, and skill workout at a local park and while we were there two high school age girls (I believe they were sisters) came and began to work out on the opposite end of the court.  I could not help but notice how they practiced because I was astounded by their hard work and determination.  They put themselves through a basketball specific warmup then proceeded to run many drills that allowed them to get all different types of shots at different spots while continuously keeping themselves moving throughout the entire workout.  They finished their workout with a few one on one drills that allowed them to incorporate the skills they had been working on into a game-like situation.  The one on one drills also gave these players the opportunity to work on their on the ball defense.  Finally, these drills created competition between the two players which challenged each one of them to be better and to work harder.  Just watching them, you could tell that they were successful basketball players.

Below are two examples of  one on one drills that you can use while working out with a partner.  The first two diagrams allow the players to work on their offensive and defensive skills from the top of the key while the second two diagrams show the players working from the wing. 

1 on 1 Closeout Drills

Categories: Ballhandling / Dribbling  Defense  Games/Fun  Offensive Moves  
Ages: Middle School  High School+  

Purpose of the Drill:

The purpose of this drill is to incorporate your basketball skills into a game like situation against a defender.


  • The two players set up on either block while the offensive player (blue circle) has the basketball.
  • The offensive player will roll the ball out diagonally toward the opposite elbow and chase after it.
  • The defensive player (red triangle) will sprint across the lane and touch the opposite block and then close out on the offensive player.
  • It is now a live one on one situation
  • In this variation of the drill, the defensive player starts at the elbow and the offensive player starts on the same side block.
  • The offensive player rolls the ball out and chases after it.
  • The defensive player sprints to touch the block and then closes out on the offensive player.
  • At this point, it is a live one on one game.

Points of Emphasis:

  • Offensive players should attack the basket using three dribbles or less.
  • Offensive players should get their hips and shoulders low and initiate contact with the defender as they attack.
  • Go after the offensive rebound.
  • Defensive players should sprint to closeout.
  • As they approach the offensive player they should start to break down with choppy steps while balanced and under control.
  • Defensive players should focus on keeping the offensive player from getting into the lane. Make them take a contested pull up jump shot.

Motivation/Teaching Tips:

  • Alternate posessions and keep score. Play to a designated number.
  • Must validate your win by making a one and one free throw situation. If you do not, the win does not count.
  • Have consequences for the losing player.