Jump Ball: Two-Man Split

While there is only one Jump Ball situation in a game (depending on the rules you are utilising) this can set the mood early for a team’s opening period. The jump ball can be a very easy scoring opportunity for a team that looks to push for a structured offensive possession. By having a pre-planned play ready to be utilised a team can and will find that more can be achieved then simply securing possession from the jump ball.


The Two-Man Split is an offensive option to be used when challenging for the jump ball. For this reason, the Two-Man Split might not be the jump ball play of choice for a team who is likely to lose a jump ball and therefore needs to limit the risk of a scoring opportunity from the opposition immediately after the jump ball.


During the set-up there needs to be some specific positioning to allow for maximum potential of creating safe areas for the player involved in the jump ball to tip to. For instance in the diagrams below Four (4) and Two (2) might ensure no opposition player is between them so this creates a high percentage opportunity for securing possession if the ball is tapped towards this space.


As a thought if the team feels like the opportunity to secure possession is higher they might even try to have all players involved in the initial scoring play move into the offensive end of the jump circle and overload the opposition players entirely. As a point of note, however this is a high-risk activity and will result in selling a team sort should they not be able to secure possession.


The jump ball situation should be practiced and range of different purpose plays implemented into the team playbook. The mixture of plays should range from aggressive to defensive in nature to ensure the team is best equipped to take full advantage of the opportunity presented at this point in the game.


For the Two-Man Split play, players need to be focused on primarily securing the possession. From this point, the team will be able to move into the scoring phase of the offense. Players should be quick to react to the situation to ensure they catch the opposition off guard and are unable to be proactive in defence. Both wide lane runners (Two and Three) need to move quickly to create the advantage in offense needed for the quick scoring opportunity.


When implementing the Two-Man Split play with a team note that if the shot is not available that the preferred option rather than forcing a shot is to secure possession and set-up in the half court for the main phase of offense. The different types of reads a team can apply to what is a good and bad shooting situation will come down to a coaches preferences and philosophy, however a shot outside of the key-way should indicate a less then desirable outcome.

Jump Ball: Two-Man Split Diagram 1
Jump Ball: Two-Man Split Diagram 1

Five (5) is the Jumper


For (4) is the Tapper


Tow (2) & Three (3) are lane runners


One (1) is the safety




5 tips the ball to Four (4)

Jump Ball: Two-Man Split Diagram 2
Jump Ball: Two-Man Split Diagram 2

Four (4) taps the ball over her head towards Two (2)


Three (3) runs the left lane to stretch the defence


Two (2) lays the ball up or drives and dishes to Three (3)

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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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