Critical End of Game Timeouts


When a single shot can make the difference of winning and losing End of Game timeouts are critical. As a result, teams must be prepared, both offensively and defensively, for last shot timeouts. Save your timeouts. You will need at least two at the end of a closely fought game. Force the opponent to use their time outs especially early in the game. Rather than taking a valuable time out early in the game, use substitutes to make changes and adjustments. Play through adversity. Do not ever call a timeout in reaction or frustration to bad call or play. It will only waste one of your valuable time outs! Having time outs at the end of the game will definitely increase your chances of winning.

| Offensive Timeout Guidelines | Defensive Timeout Guidelines |


Offensive Timeout (Ball Possession)

A last shot situation is not just a simple matter of drawing up a play. There are numerous last shot situations to address dependent on court location and time on the clock. Be sure to get the ball into the hands of your best player, and let them hit the open shot or pass to an open teammate. Keep the play simple and execute. The more complex the action, the greater chance that a breakdown will occur.

  1. Anticipate the timeout. Decide what inbounds play to run prior to the timeout. Decision should be based on scouting report and/or in game observations.

    Last Shot

  2. Substitute designated inbounder if you have one. Inbounds with both hands, no one-handed passes.

  3. Play action begins as official hands ball to inbounder.

  4. Be alert for any opponent defensive changes. Players must read the defense and immediately take advantage of any defensive overplay.

  5. Go strong to the basket. The opposing players usually play poor defense since they do not want to foul. No fade away jumpers. Taking it hard to rim will provide for three scoring opportunities:

    Made basket and foul (three point play).
    Made Shot

  6. Players must be aware of the maximum number of dribbles available:

    Maximum Number of Dribbles


    Number of Dribbles

    3 Seconds

    1 Dribble

    5 Seconds

    3 Dribble

    7 Seconds

    5 Dribble

  7. Rebound offensively. Non-shooters should be well drilled to go to the offensive boards instead of watching the flight of the ball. Most last second games are won on putbacks not the shot.

  8. Important last second player reminders:

    How many, if any, time outs remain (especially, the inbounder!).

    If you are in the penalty situation or not.

    What defense to deploy on make.

    What defense or action to take on miss.


5 Stars

Defensive Timeout (Opponent has Ball)

Anticipate the opponent taking the timeout. If possible, be thinking ahead and decide what defensive action to deploy prior to the timeout.

  1. If opponent is not in the bonus situation, give a foul. Keeping an opponent out of the bonus free throw situation is a real advantage. However, if you are going to foul, be sure to substitute for any player(s) in foul trouble. Avoid the intentional foul, be sure to teach and practice how to foul.

  2. Create a five (5) second violation or force an opponent into taking precious timeout on the inbounds pass.

    Inbounding Under Pressure

    In making an inbounds pass is not easy. The passer is facing a five against four defensive advantage and only has five (5) seconds in which to locate a receiver and make a successful inbounds pass. In addition, to this numerical disadvantage, by rule the inbounder cannot move, except after a made shot. This provides the defense with the opportunity to jam or smother the passer very effectively with an active defender on ball. Also, on baseline out of bound situations, the backboard comes into play and becomes a real obstacle with which the inbounds passer has to contend.

  3. Steal the inbounds pass. Pressuring the inbounds passer usually results in bounce or lob pass which is easy prey for an alert defender.

  4. Take a charge. Taking a charge is a "Really Big Play" (RBP). On out of bounds situations, charges can be readily taken on screeners or receivers coming off screens.

  5. Switch on Off-Ball screens attacking the passing lanes. Attacking the passing lanes will force receivers further away from the basket creating a longer shot, pass to a post, and an extra dribble to the basket.

  6. Defend against dribble penetration. Pressure, but do not foul. Do not reach, defend with legs.

  7. Closeout on balance with both hands up on outside shooters. Do not leave feet or run past the shooter. Never foul a three point shooter.

  8. Box out and rebound defensively on shot. Do not watch the flight of the ball. Most games are won on putbacks, not the shot.


Timeout Reminders



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