Though most coaches hold widely divergent views on offensive basketball. Most would agree that the ideal is an offense that will keep all players constantly occupied and that will work equally well against all defenses - zone, man-to-man, match-up, pressure and switching.
The Shuffle Offense is designed to use all players in a rotating pattern. The Shuffle Offense is predicated on the team concept, on ball control and player movement. And upon a flow of play which provides many opportunities for scoring.
The Shuffle Offense's true positive aspects are its action, its constantly changing appearance and its confusion and frustration for the opponent. The Shuffle Offense carries with it the entire spectrum of the game of basketball.
The Shuffle relies on basic fundamentals - the art of passing, catching, positioning, moving without the ball, setting screens, proper use of screens, one-on-one skills and the sense of team play. Movement is the basic factor in offensive play. It is therefore logical to move as many players as posible. The movement of all players must have a purpose and be a threat and a problem to the defense. To accomplish this, each movement must result in a screen, good rebound position or a chance to score. The Shuffle Offense lends organization to your game and gives every player responsibilities and identification. It demands of your program comprehensive attention to detail and strategy.
The first goal of the Shuffle Offense is to score. This must be kept in mind by the coach and players. Everytime a player receives the ball he has many scoring options for himself and his teammates. The defense must always be aware of the threat of the player with the ball to score. Keeping the defense honest in this manner will result in many scoring opportunities inherent to the Shuffle Offense.
Every position is a scoring position. And the coach must make sure that his players fully understand this fact. Even if a player receives the ball in a spot that he is not a "true" threat to score he must present a picture to the defense that shows him as an offensive threat. Even when learning the offense in its beginning stages of reprition the coach must insist that his players present themselves as a scoring threat.
Total team concepts are used in the Shuffle Offense, something that you absolutely need if you do not have a dominate big man or outstanding overall talent. The very fact that each player will play every position in the offense is a real advantage to teams that lack height. Different players moving through the post presents problems to the defense. This is a greart advantage in the area of substitution. You do not have to substitute by position. You can now substitute the best player on the bench for whichever player needs to be replaced on the floor. In general, your average size players have a chance to use their skills in a manner that is not dependent on their height in the Shuffle Offense.
Some of the basic concepts of the Shuffle Offense are:
ABILITY TO COMBAT PRESSURE
All sound offenses have to have the element of balance to be successful. If your offense isn't balanced you will not be able to make the necessary adjustments to the defense. You must be albe to run your offense on either side of the court with equal effectiveness and good court spacing. The Shuffle is very sound in regard to balance as it allows you to maintain your court position.
Your offense has to flexible enough so that you do not become predictable in your pattern. There has to be enough options in your game plan to make your patterns flexible without totally disrupting your offense. The Shuffle has the ability to change, bend and deviate.
For your offense to be effective it must have a continuity factor in it. If a shot cannot be found you must have options to keep you in your offense without having to reset, while allowing the defense to reset at the same time. Keep the defense constantly moving and working and you will get better shots and score more often.
The Shuffle Offense is a pattern type offense. There are two types of pattern styles in the game of basketball - one is continuity and the other is set plays. Plays can be used successfully to score points but the problem comes when a shot does not result from the play and you still have the basketball. The play team must pull out and reset and prepare to attack again, while at the same time allowing the defense to do the same. Thus you are always going against a set defense, thereby allowing the defense to cover its mistakes more easily. All of this can work to your advantage in a continuity. The defense doesn't have a chance to cover their mistakes and reset. You keep them moving constantly which allows your offense to exploit the defense. Thus I feel we have a better chance to score. The Shuffle Offense is a definite commitment to continuity pattern play.
ABILITY TO COMBAT PRESSURE
If your offense cannot overcome and successfully combat pressure then it is not a sound offense. If the back-door option is not available then the defense will be able to shut down your offense. To be sound an offense must be able to combat pressure successfully. You must have options to use that cannot be stopped by simply preventing a pass, dribble or cut.
The high school coach and to some degree the college coach does not have the same quality of players from year to year. He also does not have players with the same exact skills as the year before. He therefore must be able to adapt his offense to the players he has on hand in order to be successful. The Shuffle Offense with its many options and variations obviously provides this adaptability.
When a team has several different offenses, then defensive pressure and change causes confusion on which offense should be used in that situation.
Possibly the most important factor in building a sound offense is simplicity. I feel your offense need not be complex, and intricate to be successful. Rather I believe it should be sound fundamentally and well learned by your players. We would rather have one offense that we really know well, than to have several offenses that we know half-way. If your offense is sound fundamentally and well learned by your players then your chances for success should be improved.
The key to good offense is in execution rather than secret moves and complex plays.
"You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but if you aren't careful you'll be one of them."
The Shuffle Offense is of great value to teams of average ability and size which must depend on coordinated team effort to be successful.
Many coaches feel that the Shuffle Offense is the greatest offense ever designed to be used against man-to-man defenses. They say that it literally drives opponets to play a zone defense. Bruce Drake designed the offense to destroy both defenses. As one coach stated while lecturing on the Shuffle Offense, "This offense has 34,000 different options." While we don't know if this coach actually counted that many options, the statement does illustrate the potential it has and the many scoring opportunities it presents. The saturation point has not been reached, and the possibilities of the Shuffle Offense are virtually unlimited. Few styles of play give such excellent opportunities for the high percentage shot both inside and out.
Bruce Drake's innovation has proved to be a sound offense that can be used against all defenses and easily adapted to meet unusual defensive or offensive requirements.