Understanding Basketball’s Pick and Roll

Basketball’s Pick and Roll pic
Basketball’s Pick and Roll
Image: breakthroughbasketball.com

Suzanne Itani of Houston, Texas, has served as chief executive officer of International Exports, Inc., since 2010. When she is not providing the company with long-term business strategy and leadership, Suzanne Itani enjoys attending her son’s baseball and basketball games.

The pick and roll is one of the most frequently run and diverse offensive plays in basketball. The play is valued for both its simplistic setup and ability to create multiple scoring options. The traditional pick and roll involves a point guard and a larger player, usually a center or power forward, but it can be run by any two players on the team.

The pick and roll begins with an off ball player setting a ball screen, or pick, near the ball handler. As the ball handler dribbles around his or her stationary teammate, the defender must either drop under the screen and find their assignment on the other side, try to fight over the top of the screen, or switch assignments with the player guarding the ball screener. This simple maneuver quickly generates a number of quality offensive looks.

Should the defender drop under the pick, the ball handler can stop dribbling and take an uncontested jump shot. If the defender attempts to go over the screen, the ball handler can escape their defender and drive to the hoop, at which point they can attempt a layup or dish the ball to an open teammate. Finally, should defenders switch assignments, the ball handler can pass the ball to the screener, who is often left with a much smaller defender.

In a perfectly executed pick and roll, the larger screener is already rolling to the hoop as the smaller defender makes their switch. This allows the larger offensive player to make an easy drive to the rim or pass the ball while drawing attention from other defenders.

A Basic Introduction to Soccer Formations

Soccer Formations pic
Soccer Formations
Image: worldsoccer.about.com

Suzanne Itani has worked in Houston, Texas, as chief executive officer at International Exports, Inc., for more than six years. Away from work, Suzanne Itani spends time with her children and regularly attends their marathon events and soccer games.

To the untrained eye, the game of soccer may seem to lack the structure of similar team sports such as gridiron football. In reality, however, the 11 players on a soccer field have specific positions and responsibilities, most notably the goalkeeper, and can choose from any number of distinct formations.

While teams generally have a set formation, various circumstances can dictate changes or alterations. The opposing team’s preferred playing style and talent level, the condition of the field or the weather, and the strengths and weaknesses of both competing teams should all be taken into account when selecting a formation.

Soccer formations are read as a set of three, or sometimes four, numbers adding up to 10, as the goalkeeper always remains in the backfield to defend the net. The first number denotes how many defenders occupy the backfield with the keeper, the second and sometimes third numbers describe how many players oversee the midfield, and the rightmost number represents players tasked with a team’s scoring.

As an example, the 4-4-2 formation is considered the most standard set in modern soccer. In this formation, four defenders remain in the backfield to support the goalkeeper. Another four players are stationed in the midfield, where they can drop back to help on defense or surge forward to pressure an opponent’s defense. Lastly, two forwards remain on the opposite side of the midfield line, where they wait for goal-scoring opportunities. It is a balanced set that suits the playing styles of most teams and can easily be altered to a 4-4-1-1 for more defense or a 3-4-3 for added offense.