8 Simple Youth Basketball Plays (Get Open Layups and Shots!)

While we are strong advocates for running the motion offense at the youth level, we also think it’s okay to have a couple quick-hitters in your arsenal out of timeouts or in special situations. In this post, we go through a few of our favorite youth basketball plays.

If you’re looking for more advanced basketball plays against man, zone, or BLOB, click here.

Layup or 3-Pointer

This action starts with the point guard throwing the ball to the guard on the wing. The ball-side big man floats down to the block, and weak-side big man cuts to the top of the key for reversal. The point guard cuts to the opposite block.

The 2 will now reverse the ball to the 5. As that is happening, the 1 cuts out to the wing to replace the 3, who is now going to set a screen for the 4 on the opposite block.

The ball is reversed to the 1, and his first option is to look at the 4 coming off of the screen from the 3. That is your first scoring option for a layup. After the 3 sets his screen for the 4, he receives a down-screen from the 5 after he reverses the ball to the 1. The 3 pops to the top of the key for a look at a 3-point shot. This is your other scoring option.

If you don’t have a shot off of the first action, this play can turn itself over and you can continue running it until you get a good look.

Backdoor Play for a Layup

This play’s alignment starts with a double stack at the elbows. Both guards start on the right elbow, and both bigs start on the left elbow.

The action starts with our 1 dribbling to his right, about lane-line extended. This triggers the 3 man to clear through to the left side and come off of a double screen from the 4 and the 5.

The 1 crosses over and starts heading left to make it look like he’s looking for the shooter coming off of the double screen. This clears out the entire right side for the 2.

The one will stop about lane-line extended on the left side. The 3 will pop out to the wing and call for the ball, and then back cut his man.

The 1 will pass-fake to the 3 when he calls for the ball, and then throw him a bounce pass for the layup on the back-cut.

Elevator For a 3-Pointer

This play starts with the 1 on the right side of the floor. The two is on the right wing, with the 3 on the right block. The 4 is on the left elbow and the 5 is on the left block.

The two sets a downscreen for the 3 to pop out to the wing.

After the 2 sets the screen, he comes through an elevator screen from the 5 and 4. The 1 dribbles over and passes to the 2 for a shot.

Dribble Handoff Backdoor Play

Play starts in a 2-2-1 set. The player you want to receive the backdoor starts on the left wing, in this case it’s the 4.

The 1 passes to the 2 and cuts behind the 5.

The 3 comes off of a stagger and receives a dribble handoff from the 2.

The 3 comes off of the dribble handoff and attacks the middle. The 4 fakes like he’s going to receive another dribble handoff from 3, then cuts backdoor.

Backscreen – Downscreen

Play starts in a horns set with shooters in the corners and bigs in the slots. The player playing point guard here should be your best shooter.

The 1 enters the ball to the 4, then cuts hard off of a backscreen from the 5. The 4 should hit him if he’s open.

If the backscreen isn’t there, the 5 immediately turns and sets a downscreen for the 1 to come back up to the wing. After the 5 sets the downscreen, he slips to the rim.

Diagonal Screen for a Layup or 3-Pointer

This offense starts in a box set with the bigs on the elbows and the guards on the blocks

The action starts with the 1 dribbling to the wing. The 2 goes and sets a diagonal screen for the opposite big on the elbow, and the big dives to the block looking for the ball.

After the guard sets the diagonal screen for the big, the ball-side big on the elbow turns and sets a screen for the guard coming off ready to shoot.

Screen and Roll

The 4 and the 5 create a horns action and the 1 can go either direction off of their ball screens and looks to turn the corner.

The big that sets the ball screen rolls to the block. The opposite big goes to the top of the key in the high post. The 3 shoots to the ball-side corner.

The 1 can look to hit the 4 on the block off of the roll or the 3 in the corner. He can also hit the 5 who can look to go high-low with the 4.

Ball Screen – Backscreen

The 1 comes off of the ball screen from the 5. The 2 flattens out to the corner.

After setting the ball screen, the 5 will receive a backscreen from the 4 and the 1 looks to hit them cutting to the rim.

These should be simple basketball plays that your youth team can run.

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