Premium Membership

Premium Coverage
Defensive Strategies

Defending Baseline Out of Bounds

Coaches spend considerable amounts of practice time working on offensive baseline out of bounds plays, but spend little or no time on ways to defend them. As a result, too many easy baskets are given up during the course of the game on out of bounds plays simply because teams are not prepared to stop them.

If you analyze "Out of Bound" situations, they are unique in that it is the only time during the game of basketball where the defense actually has an advantage. Because of this numerical player advantage (5 on 4), it can be difficult for the offensive team to inbound the ball, and, as a result, numerous NCAA and NBA championships have been lost because teams were not able to make successful inbound passes in the final seconds of game. This is why many coaches like to avoid taking time outs at the end of the game.

Most coaches take it for granted that their basic half court defense applies to baseline out of bounds situations. However, this is not the case. Defending the ball when it is located out of bounds behind the defense is entirely different matter than defending the ball when it is out in front of the defense. In addition, in regular half court set offenses, defenders are mostly guarding shooters moving off screens away from the basket. On baseline out of bounds, the shooters are going directly to the basket. As a result, there is no room for error. If the defense makes an error on an out of bounds play it results in an easy basket.

Some teams will automatically zone on out of bound situations. However, zones are faced with the same problem of having to make adjustments to defend the ball being taken out on the baseline behind the basket rather than out front. In addition, zones are very susceptible to screen and roll action along with overloads, which happens to be the main staple of out of bounds plays.

Four effective ways to combat the baseline out of bounds

Coaches should exploit this numerical player advantage to its fullest. Since the vast majority of out of bounds plays revolve around screens, the various techniques used to defend against screens can be incorporated into an effective out of bounds defensive attack.

Learn More - Click Here  Disrupt or Jam - no switching, hard nose "in your face" basketball.

Learn More - Click Here  Jump Switch - going to switch, must take away all passing lanes.

Learn More - Click Here  Trap - double team the inbounds pass.

Learn More - Click Here  Combo Defense - box or diamond & one, triangle & two, etc.


In disrupting Baseline Out of Bounds situations, the defense must be set and ready prior to the official putting the ball in play. Smart and alert offensive players will immediately recognize when a defensive player is out of position or has their back turned, and simply cut to the basket receiving a quick pass for an easy lay-up.