How to Run a Zone Box-and-One basketball defense


The box-and-one zone is an extremely effective way to shut down a team that has one main scoring threat. As a defense, it is not as commonly used as other zones, but that does not mean it is not as efficient. It can really shut down a one-dimensional team and give your own squad a real boost. Here is how to run the box-and-one zone defense in basketball.

Things You'll Need

  • Competent basketball defenders
  • One solid defender

The Box-and-One Defense in Basketball

  • Know when to use the defense.The box-and-one defense is not appropriate for all situations in a basketball game. Generally speaking, the zone defense is used when your opposing team has one main scoring threat that you would like to isolate and stop. Often times, the defense is a pseudo-last resort, with coaches only moving to it as an adjustment based on how the game is playing out.Just as often as the box-and-one might work, so might another type of zone defense that also can isolate the opposing team's weapons.

  • Set it up the box correctly.The box is probably the simplest zone defense there is.The box portion is the zone. Four players make a box and play their positions as a four-man zone. Usually you will want your players to box the paint area, with one standing at each end of the free throw line and one located on each block under the basket. That is your basic box zone.Obviously you want to change your set up based on the circumstances, but generally speaking, you would place your biggest guys on the blocks down low and two guards up top - just like any other zone.

  • Pick your one.The "one" portion of this defense is straight up man-to-man. You need to pick someone to literally shadow your opponent's main threat. This person should be fast, this person should be tenacious and this person should be an excellent defender.Remember, this person is basically playing a one-person man defense. So they should be an excellent defender and the type of player that you would routinely place on an opposing team's best player. It's not important that they are a good basketball player, just that they are a good defender.This person will likely get screened a ton, so make sure they are extremely quick.

  • Know when to play box-and-one.Again, the box-and-one is not for every situation.For example, it won't do your team much good against a post player. If your opposing team is just going to dump the ball down low, a box-and-one won't do you much good. This is because if they are going to plant someone at a block, and you are playing man on them with another box player in the same spot, you will have a crowded, unbalanced defense that will be ineffective.Therefore, the only time when a box-and-one is truly appropriate and effective is when you want to shut down a shooter. This shooter will play on the outside, out around the three-point line, and your box defense will be intact down low while you attempt to shut down the shooter one-on-one.It executed well, this will force the other team to abandon their offensive strategy and go another route.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't help off of the man-to-man. If the person you are isolating is truly a knock-down shooter, then you should not have your defender play any help-side defense. Just have them mirror their mark and stay on them tight.

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