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Hook & Look: A Quick Tweak for Attacking Zones

We get a lot of questions about zones. For coaches that have been used to running separate man and zone offenses, it is sometimes difficult to make the mental transition that the Read & React Offense can be used for both. Sure, there are certain layers that work better against zones and there are a few tweaks that will help a great deal.

Let’s examine one of those tweaks – the Hook & Look as it dovetails into Pass & Cut.

Against a zone, adjust your Pass & Cut layer like this: when you pass (instead of cutting in a straight line to the basket), you should hook into a seam of the zone and stay in that seam for one pass before filling out. Holding for one pass is important: often the zone may maintain good defensive position on your initial cut, but lose track of you when an extra pass makes them shift.

In the following clips, you’ll see how a 13U Travel Team from South Windsor, CT uses this simple tweak to attack zones, many times getting lay-ups. Yes, lay-ups against a zone are possible.

Clip 1: Although, it is a bit difficult to see in this clip, two consecutive Passes & Cuts with Hooks & Looks lead to a high-post and low-post, both on the ball side. Once the high post is fed, the low post slides to the short corner opening up the lane for the cutter and the lay-up. This idea gets expanded in clip 4 and you’ll also get a clearer view of the action.

Clip 2: On the final situation of this clip, there is a perfect example of the power of Hook & Look, Post Feed, Post Cut. The guard passes to the wing, cuts into the lane, and hooks into a seam of the zone. The wing feeds the post (the cutter is now a post player) and Laker Cuts for a lay-up – exactly what the zone is trying to prevent.

Clip 3: Again, we have a Pass & Cut followed by a Hook & Look post feed, but this time instead of hitting the cutter, the post hits a filling guard for the wide open three. And, it’s a nice addition to have good rebounding.

Clip 4: In this clip, there a two consecutive Hooks & Looks to the ball side. With two passes the girls have flowed easily from a 5 OUT formation to a 3 OUT formation. Now that there is a ball-side high post and a ball-side low post, there is a four player overload.

The top right and bottom right defenders converge on the ball handler, forcing the center of the zone to guard the low post. The help side guard hedges between the high post and the guard, ultimately leaving both of them open. Once the post feed occurs, the wing cuts and the low post defender freezes, uncertain as to whether to defend the ball, the cutter, or the low post.

Let’s point this out too. Once the high post receives the pass, the low post acts as if the entry pass were a penetration dribble and slides to the short corner (Basic Post Slide). This creates separation from her defender (who is now trying to guard three players) and allows for the easy lob and subsequently, the foul.

Clip 5: Here is another example of getting lay-ups against a zone. Simple and clean. Hook & Look, Post Feed, Laker Cut, Lay-up – perfectly executed. Well… almost.

Clip 6: This final clip is thrown in as a lesson. The potency of the Pass & Cut with the Hook & Look puts the zone on its heels. Now, it’s easy to do damage with other layers. In this case, dribble penetration followed by Circle Movement generates the three.

Want more tips on attacking zones with the Read & React? We have a DVD for that. Check out Read & React Zone Attack.


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about rick torbett

Rick Torbett has taught thousands of coaches to win more games through his innovative approach to the game. He has created powerful training for coaches at any level so they can coach their best and win more games.

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Read & React 5-Player Coordination Drills

Enter your email address to get an inside look at teaching the Read & React Offense with the drills in this free video.