Three Simple Rules to Improve Cutting and Screening

Regardless of the type of offense used, cutting and screening are two essential offensive building blocks. In a recent survey I sent out I received a surprising large number of requests for information about screening more effectively. So, here are three simple rules that will improve the screening and cutting in any offense.


As simple as it sounds, communication between the screener and the cutter is essential, even in a continuity offense where the cutter generally knows the screener is going to set a screen. The easiest way to do this is with a visual signal. I prefer screeners to raise both hands above their heads with the palms facing in the direction the screener wants to the cutter to go and then motioning in that direction. This silent, visual signal is easy for the cutter to recognize and has the added benefit of not being overwhelmed in a loud gym.

Screen a Man and Not Space

All to often screens are ineffective because the screener does not actually set a screen on the defender. This one rule, more than any other, can improve the effectiveness of screening within an offense. If the defender’s ability to move is not impeded, the screen and the cut will not be effective.

Wait, Wait, and Wait Some More

This is the second most important rule to improve screening and cutting. Many times the screener will screen a man and not space but due to the cutter not standing still and waiting for the screen to be set, what would otherwise have been an effective screen serves no functional purpose. Cutters must learn to wait for the screen to be set.

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