The 1-3-1 defense has been very effective for our team for the following reasons:
Normal zone offenses won’t work against a 1-3-1 defense and it causes opponents to adjust from offensive comfort zones.
Your team can utilize a 1-3-1 defense conservatively (by playing the passing lanes) or trap very aggressively.
You can use slow players at certain defensive spots and not get hurt.
It’s an up-tempo defense that mirrors the aggressiveness of a man-to-man defense.
The players love this defense. If they anticipate well they will get a lot of tips and steals.
How 1-3-1 works
The following shows rules and responsibilities for each position.
Diagram 1. Shows the basic lineup of the 1-3-1.
Diagrams 2 3. Entry pass rotation. Once the entry pass is made to either wing have your players rotate.
Diagram 4. Shows rotation Vs. a 1-Guard front.
Diagram 5. Shows rotation Vs. a 2-Guard front.
The top defender (X1) must:
Keep the ball out of the middle.
Against a one-guard front try to push the ball to the side.
If the ball is below X1 he or she plays between the ball and the middle of the free-throw line.
Diagram 6. 4’s Positioning.
Diagram 7. 3’s Positioning.
The wing defenders (X3 and X4) should:
Be fully responsible for the guards in front of them.
Play between the ball and the baseline.
Stop penetration at the top of the key extended.
Not allow baseline drives.
Trap in the corner with X2 at the baseline.
Trap the best opposing guard at the top with X1.
When the ball is away from wing defenders they play between the ball and the opposite corner.
Diagrams 8 9. The Baseline Defender (X2) must:
Trap with X3 and X4 in the corner.
Stay in the lane until the ball is on its way to the player in the corner.
Front the post.
When the ball is high stay as high as possible to avoid the screen on the baseline.
Diagram 10. The Center (X5) should:
Play between the ball and the basket.
Defend the high post when the ball is on top.
Front the post at all times when the ball is in the corner.