Hi, I'm Ben Falk. I worked for NBA teams for close to a decade before creating Cleaning the Glass to teach people the game from an insider's perspective. I'm teaming up with Gibson Pyper of Half Court Hoops and The Basketball Playbook, a master of film breakdowns, to create an in-depth course on basketball Xs and Os.

We'll start with the basics and take you all the way up to advanced, NBA-level concepts. You'll absorb terminology alongside these concepts, so you don’t only recognize the tactics but can speak about them fluently. And we'll have tons of video examples and diagrams so you can understand both what everything looks like and the diagrams coaches use to communicate.

Our goal is to change the way you see the game. Whether you want to become a smarter fan, a more informed analyst for writing and podcasting, or gain the background knowledge to become a better coach or scout, this course will help you.

Can't wait to start learning?

Take advantage of our start of season sale and choose the option that works best for you. Or read on for more.

“Basketball is like religion. Many attend but few understand.” — Former NBA head coach Scott Skiles

I saw this quote recently and it really frustrated me.

Skiles is right. There is an enormous amount going on during any given possession, and it's all happening at a very fast pace. Unless you've learned what to look for, it's hard to truly diagnose what is going well and what is going poorly for each team. It might still be fun to watch, but, as Skiles said, it's hard to understand.

But here's the part that's truly frustrating: why aren't more people trying to change this? Why do so many treat basketball Xs and Os like it's some sort of mysticism that only the qualified can understand? You might think I'm joking, but that comparison isn't that much of a stretch: it even comes with its own language and symbols that nobody really explains.

Before I got a job in the NBA, this drove me crazy. I knew there was an entire part of the game that I didn’t fully understand, but I didn't know how to learn it. That was many years ago, and while blogs and social media have made it so that there are now a host of people talking about Xs and Os, there still aren't many people truly teaching them—at least not in a way that is accessible to those without a whole lot of technical basketball knowledge in the first place.

If you’re a media member, an aspiring analyst, a blogger, a podcaster, or just a fan who wants to see the game the way professional coaches do, how can you learn from scratch? Sure you could read articles that reference strategy and try to absorb it all that way, but that’s a lot of work and a lot of time. Shouldn’t there just be one place where you can go to learn the terminology alongside the strategy so that you can discuss it all fluently?

Eventually, I did learn Xs and Os. You know what it took? Working in professional basketball for almost a decade. I learned by breaking down thousands of hours of film, sitting in NBA coaches meetings, and participating in the film sessions given to players. I learned by asking tons of questions to the coaches and scouts and executives I had the good fortune to work with. And then going back and watching even more film, trying to see it through their eyes.

I've always believed there should be an easier way. Which is why I teamed up with Gibson to make this course.

Gibson makes a living cutting up film of NBA and college teams, creating video playbooks of their sets, and highlighting what they do that works so well. Coaches from every level of basketball subscribe to his site to get access to his advanced film work. He not only is helping me teach the Xs and Os, but he'll teach you how he breaks down film, including how he gets the video in the first place.

Gibson and I have spent a lot of time putting together this course. Here's what's included:


Click on the chapters below to see all the lessons included.
Or check out a free preview of one of the lessons.

  • 2

    The Basics

    • Player Positions

    • Court Locations

    • Play Diagrams

  • 3

    Full Court Basketball

    • Full Court: Introduction

    • Transition Offense

    • Early Offense

    • Transition Defense

    • Pressure

  • 4

    Half Court Basketball

    • Half Court: Introduction

    • Set Ups in the Half Court: Introduction

    • Set Up in the Half Court: Offense

    • Terminology, Part 2: Labeling Plays

    • Set Ups in the Half Court: Defense

    • Reactions: Defense

    • Reactions: Offense

  • 5


    • Actions vs. Sets

    • Cuts and Spot Ups

    • Isolations: Offense

    • Isolations: Defense

    • Post Ups: Offense

    • Post Ups: Defense

    • Ball Screens: Screening Action

    • Ball Screens: Types of Ball Screens

    • Ball Screens: Defense

    • Ball Screens: Defense, On Ball

    • Ball Screens: Defense, Screener

    • Ball Screens: Defense, Off Ball

    • Handoffs

    • Off Ball Screens: Offense, Basic

    • Off Ball Screens: Offense, Complex

    • Off Ball Screens: Defense

  • 6

    Putting it all Together

    • Action Combinations

    • Set Plays: Intro and Horns

    • Set Plays: Delay and Pistol

    • Set Plays: Weak and Strong

    • Set Plays: Dive, Floppy, and Loop

    • After Timeouts and Out of Bounds

  • 7

    Taking the Next Step

    • The Chess Match and the "Why"

    • Beyond This Course

    • Apply It

  • 8

    Technical Details: Getting, Watching, and Editing Film

    • Getting and Watching the Film

    • Recording and Editing Video

    • Editing Video: Advanced

  • 9

    Glossary and Bonus Videos

    • Glossary

    • Drawing up plays in FastDraw and on the board

Ready to see the game like a coach?

Take advantage of our start of season sale:

Frequent Questions

  • Will this be self paced or something I have to schedule?

    It is something you can do at your own pace so you can fit it into your own schedule.

  • What if I buy the course and decide it's not what I wanted?

    We feel really strongly that you'll be impressed with the quality and depth of this course, and we're happy to back that with a guarantee. If for some reason it's not what you expected, just email us at [email protected] within 15 days of purchase and we'll refund you.

  • This course sounds great but I just don't have the money right now to buy it. Are there any additional discounts available?

    We don't want finances to be a barrier for people to gain this knowledge. Email us at [email protected] explaining your situation and we'll see what we can do for you.

  • Can I get a receipt to expense this?

    Yes, you'll automatically be emailed a receipt when enrolling.

  • Can I get a discount for buying multiple copies for our staff/team?

    Yes, we've had a few groups/teams reach out to us on that. Contact us at [email protected] and we'll work with you on pricing.

  • Can I purchase this course as a gift?

    Yes! Unfortunately there's not an easy way to do it on the site, but you can purchase the course using your own info and then email us at [email protected] and we will take care of the rest.

  • Will I be interacting with Ben and Gibson?

    Unfortunately both of us have busy schedules and can't promise to interact with everyone who purchases the course. That said, we put a lot of time into the course so that it's pretty clear. And there is a discussion section for any aspects that are not!

  • I have another question not on this list.

    Just email us at [email protected].