Setting a screen is a multi-step process that can lead to easy points near the basket.
For a screen to be successful, the ball handler cannot let the initial defender jump the screen. They must use crossovers and good ball-handling skills to get free and attack the hoop.
But the ball handler also needs to be ready for when the defense tries to hedge the screen. Hedges occur when an offense sets up a pick and roll but a defender, typically a forward or center, comes over to take on the ball handler on the other side of the screen. Offenses must be ready for this when it occurs, splitting the screen.
“What I am looking at is the positioning of that big [defender],” says Performance Enhancement Specialist Paul Fabritz, who trains professional basketball players. “If that big jumps high and hedges hard, I [have] to split him.”
There are two ways Fabritz suggests to split the screen and eliminate the threat of a hedge.
PUSH AND CHASE
The “push and chase” is a simple and efficient way to split the screen. You will push the ball off the dribble toward the basket and chase it. When done properly, you can get to the rim in one or two dribbles.
If the big is being aggressive and going low to swat the ball, you’ll want to use the “tap through” technique. As you attack, tap the ball toward the basket with your inside hand while making sure to stay low. The lower you get to the ground the better.
By working on splitting the screen regularly, you’ll be ready to attack the basket and get your team points in the big game.
Ball handling and court awareness are two vital skills basketball players need to master. The Move That Ball Drill can help you work on both.