Box Offense: Lift to High On-Ball

The Box Offense is useful in condensing defenders early in the set-up of an offense. This formation helps position defensive players towards the basket so if moving away from the basket the offensive players should find receiving a pass easier. Against defensive teams playing full denial, the Box Offense is also very effective.


The Lift to High On-Ball Play brings a screening action to on-ball movement that will help provide some freedom of space and relief when facing high-pressure defences.


In using the Lift to High On-Ball Play there are a few specific reads to focus on:


  • Two (2) must be aggressive in attacking the keyway off the on-ball. If not, the player (Two) will be pushed to the outside keyway and a good scoring driving lane. A variation to the regular movement is to deliberately dribble towards the outside of the keyway in an attempt to look for Five (5) on the roll to the basket. Form this point a high/Low action between Five (5) and Four (4) can be created.
  • Three (3) should look to fill to the closest long corner in a majority of cases. This is especially true in situations where the on-ball screen and action is being successful executed. If the on-ball is having trouble being performed, by Three (3) moving to the long corner near the down screen this will form a possible sideline triangle for a post scoring action with Four (4), One (1) and Three (3).
Box Offense: Lift to High On-Ball Diagram 1
Box Offense: Lift to High On-Ball Diagram 1

One (1) controls the timing of offense and must wait for all four players to be ready to run play. A box set-up must have all players in position and ready to go before starting or the player positions will make elements ineffective.


One (1) brings to the ball elbow extended (side of choice depends on positioning of players, but offense can be executed on either side of the floor).


Four (4) down screens for Two (2) who flashes to extended high post. Three (3) can move to either side of the floor into the long corner. If on the same side as the down screen (Four) then a sideline triangle is established by One (1), Three (3) and Four (4).


One (1) makes pass as Two (2) as the player reaches above the key. One (1) then continues to shift down the sideline to be foul line extended.


Five (5) sets on-ball screen for Two (2) and rolls to basket following Two (2) utilising the screen.


Timing is everything in this offense as this should be executed with a high degree of pace and aggression. The pass that is made from One (1) to Two (2) needs to be quick and as the player (Two) is about to reach the three-point line so the use of the on-ball screen can happen quickly.


The Screen by Five (5) will need to be in motion before the pass is initiated so all defenders will be moving in the on-ball situation.


Scoring Options:


  • Four (4) on seal after screen; if the screen is set effectively then the Four (4) should be able to drop step towards the base line sealing the screened player to the outside of the key.
  • Two (2) off on-ball screen
  • Five (5) on roll to the basket
  • Three (3) on flare to corners for 3-Point


The Box Offense Lift to High On-Ball Play is a quick and effective play that allows for a quick on-ball action in the middle of the floor. This should help promote choice for the ball handler and as a result increase the offensive output generated.

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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

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