Versatile Swing Offense
by Trey Watts
The swing offense has been made popular by Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan, who has used this offense to lead the Badgers to eight consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. He also won two national championships while coaching at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Division III.
The offense has been gaining in popularity due to Ryan’s success and the difficulty it gives teams who try to defend the swing offense.
Constant movement and solid discipline make this offense popular with high school coaches as well as those on the college level.
The swing offense is a player driven offense. That means that not all players will fit into swing offense. The basic theory of the swing offense is that every position on the floor is interchangeable. Guards can play on the blocks and forwards and centers should be comfortable shooting from outside the arc.
The swing offense can be a nightmare for some teams as it forces defenders to play outside their comfort zone and cover the whole floor. When a team plays defense for 30 seconds and then gives up a three point basket to the opposing team’s center, it can be a demoralizing experience. Yet that is the whole premise behind the swing offense. The offense moves players around using good cuts and smart passes to cause mismatches and wear down defenses.
The Swing offense is a 4-out patterned offense that has continuity. All five players are interchangeable, and spacing, screening, cutting and good passing are paramount. All five players learn to post up inside. The offense is deliberate, often with multiple passes and places value on each possession with high percentage inside shots, or free-throws.