The Fundamentals of Setting a Screen

By using a screen to block a defender guarding a teammate, you can help create a scoring opportunity.

Every player enjoys the rush of scoring a basket. But a team’s success doesn’t come down to one individual – every member of the squad needs to work together to create scoring opportunities.

Setting a screen is all about teamwork and can help your squad find success on the hardwood.

Knowing how to set an effective screen is an intangible asset that many coaches value. Being a good screener not only helps your teammates to get open; it can also help you to get open if you understand how to properly position your body.


There are five main components to setting a proper screen:

  • Signaling the Screen: You can do this verbally by saying “screen” or visually by raising your fist in the air for your teammate to see.
  • Setting up the Proper Angle: To set the angle, V-Cut into your defender to create space. Your V-Cut should end in position next to the defender you want to screen. Your body positioning is based on the angle in which you want your teammate to go. You should position your hips and butt in the direction where you want your teammate to move. This screen will block off the defender from staying with your teammate that has the ball.
  • Spacing out the Screen: As you approach the defender to set the screen, be careful not to run into them or you’ll be called for an offensive foul. Try to leave about one foot of space between yourself and the defender. It is then your teammate’s responsibility to dribble just past your front foot and lead shoulder, forcing the defender into the screen.
  • Protect Your Body: The defender may not know they are being screened. This might result in them running into you as they try to guard your teammate. You want to make sure you are balanced with your knees bent. To protect your body, cross your arms over your chest or put your arms in front of you with your hands meeting at your waist.
  • Finish Your Screen: As your teammate with the ball moves past your shoulder, you can reverse pivot and roll to the basket. Be ready for a pass so you can finish at the basket with a layup. Another option is to flare for a shot. As your teammate goes past your shoulder to drive the ball, you can, again, reverse pivot. But instead of rolling to the basket, you can relocate to the wing to receive the pass and shoot a jump shot. In either case, be ready to make a play after setting the screen.

When you have a lineup of selfless players that are willing to screen for their teammates, you can raise your team’s chances of running an effective and efficient offense.

Ready to work on offense using the screen some more? Then check out the Pick & Roll and Pick & Pop.