Basketball Coaching Tips; What is a Screen?



Its one of the most utilized offensive fundamentals of the game.  Whether you are playing 3 on 3 or a full on 5 on 5 real game competition, screens are a great tools that should be practiced daily.  What is  screen?

Screen – When a player uses his/her body to block a defender to get their teammate open for a shot.  One of the most historical teams of all time UCLA won 10 national championships with great offensive techniques which included spacing, ball movement, players moving with out the ball, timing and screens!  To this day, the UCLA screen is still being used throughout the country because of the tremendous success this screen opens up when used correctly.  Even as I watched the women’s final four this past March I noticed great screen setting and use in order to create quality shots especially from Notre Dame.  Love watching them play, very fundamental and very high IQs.

The current trend that most teams use in today’s game on the men’s and women’s game is the ball screen which forces the defender to have to choose how they will guard the ball.  With the ball screen, defenses may switch, hedge, trap or even go under the ball screen which is primarily based on the kind of offensive threats they are up against.  If the guard is a good shooter, then usually a hedge, trap or switch works best.  If the guard is more effective getting to the rim, then going under the screen is best to cut them off before they turn the corner.


Another factor to consider is the players setting the screen. The person setting the screen is typically the person who gets open because their man has to communicate that a screen is coming their teammate, they have to help and recover.  These factors give the screener seconds to roll, pop or even slip based on how they are being guarded.


Screens in the game of basketball are an act of selflessness.  A player who is committed to the team’s success and focused on getting someone else open will always set a good screen.  This is a great motivator for players who don’t see their purpose within a play – If you set a great screen, You will get open.  Its that simple.

KBJ’s 4 Tips to using screens:

  1. TIMING: Wait until the screen is set before you move, if you are moving at the same time as the screener that’s an unforced turnover (moving screen)
  2. SPACING: make sure you have adequate space to set/use the screen
  3. RUB: Rub off screener shoulder to shoulder, foot to foot so the defense can not slide through
  4. AWARENESS: Take what the defense gives you. Check to see if the screener’s man helped over – then the screener is open, or if helpside came over, then their man is open

Whatever level you coach, whatever style of play you coach, screening is a huge part of the offensive fundamentals that all players must develop.  I encourage you to work on setting, using and defending screens daily.  Go through various types of screens so that your players are familiar with them all: UCLA screens, ball screens, flex screens, flare screens, pin screens, down screens, back screens, cross screens and stagger screens.  Great floor spacing and solid screen setting will yield great open shots for any team.  Check out for more blogs related to this article.



Bio: Brenita Jackson has coached women’s college basketball for 8 years improving the culture at each school she worked for.  She started playing basketball at Cedar Hill High School in Texas,USA and went on to play professionally in Aarhus, Denmark.  She beganher coaching career while in Denmark leading the junior team to an undefeated season.  She currently holds a Master’s Degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University in Irvine, CA.

Brenita returned to her home Dallas, Texas to continue her passion for coaching young girls and inspiring others to develop and use their gifts.  She was recognized as 2011 Sportswoman of the Year by the Jacksonville Progress after winning the Region XIV Championship Runner Up Title along with developing the program’s first All American who’s jersey hung in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, TN.  In 2015 Brenita was voted the Region XIV Coach of the Year for a turnaround performance going from 3 to 23 wins in just her second season as head coach.

During her 8 years of coaching college basketball, 6 of them were with her husband Kevin Jackson who was a huge key to her success as a head coach.  The two were recognized by the Houston Chronicle as “Couple a winning team on and off San Jac court.”  The Jackson’s are known in the basketball community as coaches who care about their players, set high standards and teach life skills through the game of basketball.  They founded a company called KBJ Academy where they travel to schools, churches and businesses to host team bonding retreats or leadership workshops. They also consult with coaches on changing the culture at a new school they just joined or consult with players on how to pursue playing college sports. They have experiences that they love to share with all transparency so others can learn, grow and succeed.



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