How to Set a Double Screen in Basketball


When one screen just isn't good enough, basketball coaches go to the double screen. It's a sure-fire way to get your sharp-shooting player an open look at the basket. With two players screening their defender, it's very difficult to defend and a great way to set up for one important basket. So here is how to set a double screen in basketball.

The Double Screen in Basketball

Use it appropriately. The double screen is generally used as a special play. Often times you will see it employed near the end of a game or as part of a set play after an inbounds pass. You can choose to use it as much, or as little, as you want, but just remember that the more you use it, the less of any sort of surprise it will become. So if you use it periodically throughout the game, chances are when you need it for a buzzer beater, the other team might be looking for it.

Set up the screen. The most important part of the double screen has nothing to do with either of the people setting the screen - it's all about the person who the screen is being set for. That person must set up their defender so that the double screen has a full effect. In order to do that, the player must fake their defender away from the screen to get some separation. Take them in the opposite direction of the double screen for a few steps. Then break away from them toward your screeners, leaving your defender a step behind you. As you come off the screen, your defender should be caught well behind you since you got an early jump on them.

Rub shoulders with the screeners. The most important part of any screen - double or single - is the way the offensive player comes off of it. When you run past your double screen, you should literally rub shoulders with your screeners. This means as you go past the screen, your shoulder is making contact with theirs, just enough so that it does not impede your progress. Rubbing shoulders will seal off your defender and disallow them to break through your path to the screener. They will be caught and will have no choice but to follow you around, leaving you open for a shot or to drive with the ball.

Make the double strong. The double screen can be set by anyone. It does not have to be two big people, although it can probably improve its effectiveness. But again, anyone can do it. It's just important that the screeners are strong and stand their ground, not allowing the defender to easily pass through them or move what should be an impenetrable force. The screeners should be standing side-by-side with their feet touching so that they know there is no room for the defender to sneak in between them. Their arms should be at their sides (or covering their sensitive areas) and they must remember not to move at all. Even throwing a shoulder out into the defender makes this an offensive foul.

Stick it to the defender. The screen should be solid and it should either make the defender go all the way around them, or give them a nice jolt when they slam into you. The screeners must hold their ground and remain firm. Though you cannot move when setting the screen, you are allowed to move up until right before that point. So just cause their feet are set in place does not mean that they should not move. Maybe the path gets derailed a bit or the defender tries to slip around the screen. The two people setting the screen should move with them and make sure they get right in front of them. Again, you don't want to commit a foul here, but you also want to make sure you do your job. So be slick.


Coming off double screen is an excellent opportunity to get a sharp shooter a good look. So have them run off the screen and look for their shot. It's also a great time for a pick and roll. Since there will be three defenders in the same area frantically trying to cover the ball, someone should be open. Look for them for an easy jumper or a lay up.


Don't over use it. The double screen really is a special play and should be saved for last-second attempts or a time when you really need a basket. The last thing you'd want to do is overuse the move and have the defense waiting for it when you need a basket most.