1-4 basketball offense

When it comes to the 1-4 offense, there are two variations of the formation. You can have your players line up in the 1-4 high, or the 1-4 low.

1-4 Offense High
1-4 Offense High

1-4 High

The 1-4 high is named as such because we put the point guard up top on his own, the shooting guard and small forward at the free throw line extended on the wings, and the power forward and center up at each elbow (the high post area, where the free throw line and lane line connect).

1-4 Low

The 1-4 low will again have the point guard up top, but we’ll slide the small forward and shooting guard down to the corners, and the center and power forward down onto the blocks (the low post area at the bottom of the lane line).

1-4 Offense Low
1-4 Offense Low

While similar, they do present different advantages. In the 1-4 high we’ve emptied out the back end of the paint freeing us up for all kinds of backdoor and alley oop opportunities. The 1-4 low on the other hand pushes the defense all the way down to the baseline, isolating our point guard up top and giving him a chance to go one on one with his matchup.

The beauty of these formations is that they combine the advantages of both the 3-2 formation and the 4-out formation – we get a chance to spread out the defense while still keeping to traditional big men on the court and in a position to be effective.

However, the ability to read the defense and make accurate passes from the high post is important to these offenses, and while your bigs won’t need to shoot from behind the arc or dribble very often, those skills would still be valuable.This offensive play runs out of a 1-4 high set, with the point guard up top, the 4 and 5 at the top of the key and the 2 and 3 at the foul line extended.

1-4 Basketball Offense PlaybookRecommended Resource

1-4 Offenses Playbook

The 1-4 Offenses playbook includes 26 simple, fun and effective plays run from the 1-4 set.

From backdoor cuts... to dribble drives... to off-ball screens and on-ball picks... this offense is guaranteed to put your opponent's defense back on their heels, and get tons of easy baskets for your team!

Download the 1-4 Offenses playbook today!


Below is a sample play from the 1-4 High.

1-4 Offense - 4 Up

The play starts with the 5 sliding up to set a ball screen for the 1.

As this is happening, the 2 and 3 cut down towards the block and stay there for a moment.

When the 1 reaches the wing, the 2 will slide up the lane and set a back screen for the 5.

The 5 comes off the screen and dives hard to the basket, looking for the pass and layup.

If that pass isn't there, the 1 will hit the 2 popping back out to the arc.

This will key the 4 to sprint down to the left block, setting a down screen for the 3.

The 3 executes a tight curl off the screen, looking to catch under the hoop and get an easy


Coaching Tips

- Use a slow misdirection, then change speed and direction quickly to create separation off the screen

- Make sure the cutter brushes hard off the screener's shoulder without allowing any room for the defender to squeeze through.

- If the defender cheats on the 3-man's curl cut, he can flare out to the three point line, spot up and look for a skip pass from the 2.

More Plays Like This?

If you think "4 Up" would work for your team, you're going to LOVE the complete“ 1-4 Offenses playbook.

Inside, you get 26 proven plays that work for all ages and ability levels. From backdoor cuts... to dribble drives... to off-ball screens and on-ball picks... this offense is guaranteed to get tons of easy baskets for your team!

And it's all simple to learn. Easy to teach. And devastatingly effective (at all levels of play).

Here's the page to get the full download (31 page PDF file)

Next step: check out our complete library of free basketball plays. Or download one of our basketball playbooks in PDF format.