The art of deception is so common in our world that most of us have become numb to it. For many basketball minds, designing techniques to deceive defenders is one way to get an edge. False Motion is typically used to describe movements or patterns that have no intention to create a score. By deceiving the defense, the offense looks to create scoring opportunities when and where they want them to occur. And while the ability to control and dictate is essential in winning games, deception in other areas of life can be traced directly to the greatest deceiver of them all, the devil. Let’s take a look at how basketball teams are using false motion, but as we do, consider how the similar use of deception allows the devil to gain control over each of us.
BASKETBALL – False Motion
Not to be confused with the delay offenses used before the shot clock, false motion to deceive defenders really sprang out of the Princeton Offense, which uses a series of cuts and flashes to confuse and distract defenders. When I coached Division I women’s basketball and the 30 second shot clock was first introduced, we used a basic Princeton entry to help our team settle down when action on the court was frantic and used it to move the defense from side to side before we attacked them with a ball screen. We had a basic pattern where each of our perimeter players would touch the ball, we made two basket cuts, and then ran a wing ball screen as we attempted to exploit late hedging post players. When we signaled the play, our players knew we could only break it off for a clear lay-up. Click HERE for a similar motion used by the Boise State men a few years ago.
NBA teams also use a variety of false actions to confuse defenders before getting into their primary scoring action. It can also be a good way to make adjustments or additions to offense throughout the season. A team can disguise a highly successful, but well-scouted action, by running a different action to get into the original. John Leonzo published this helpful video of four common false actions for FastModel Sports:
You can also read more and view Leonzo’s diagrams at :
The critical coaching point, however, when using false motion is that your team has to understand the purpose and function of the movement. If you don’t teach them why you’re using it and what you’re looking to gain (i.e. calming team down, forcing defense to play extended possessions, or simply delaying) you run the risk of having them go through the motion halfheartedly and ineffectively. False motion run halfheartedly and without true purpose can change momentum within a game, so if you choose to use it, be clear about your expectations.
LIFE – False Work
I wish I could give you a wonderful story about my work ethic as a youngster and that I learned from a trusted mentor or relative how to build a career and how to succeed in my professional life, but I didn’t have any of that. Professionally, I was on my own. I made a lot of mistakes and formed some really bad habits when it came to work. I usually did enough to get paid and was usually on the lookout for a better gig. For example, I struggled as a high school classroom teacher because my true career goals were in coaching. I used teaching jobs to be able to coach, and consequently squandered opportunities to develop important skills in motivating students and developing methods of teaching. I didn’t like the classroom and as a result, I under performed. It was a hard lesson for me that I tried to justify as I chased my career goals in coaching. All work opportunities are important, even if it’s not exactly your final career.
Sadly, I see a lot of young people who have yet to learn the painful lessons of false work. Most of us will change jobs and careers throughout our lives, so don’t fall into the trap of false work. Make the most of whatever job opportunity you have and as you identify your true work passion, which may change in your life, work diligently to build your skills – even if it’s not the ideal situation or exactly the field or career you’re working toward. Otherwise, you run the same risk of allowing false motion to develop bad habits and attitudes within you.
FAITH – False Action
As my pastor told us last week, the devil works the hardest within churches and Christian families. That’s where he’s the most active and throughout generations, has created a narrative of false motion. Unfortunately, many of us fall into his trap as we think that all of our self-righteous habits and activity will lead us closer to God. Satan wants us to believe that just by being in church every so often, writing a check or two for a charity, and volunteering every once in a while, we’ll be in better standing with God. Those are all well and good, but if done halfheartedly, they’re false motion.
But to follow Jesus, truly follow Jesus, means listening to God’s voice in scripture and through the promptings of the Holy Spirit:
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. (Mark 8:35)
To follow Jesus means we give things up in our lives – our time, our money, and maybe even our comfortable traditions and habits. Whatever it is, God doesn’t need our false motion. In fact, He keeps it simple:
But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:60)
There should be no false motion in preaching and living the Gospel. So, what is God putting on your heart? How can He use you? What does He want you to give up?
I’m proud to be friends with Tom Stanton. In our community he’s known as Mel after he started a fundraising event known as “Mel’s Pig Roast,” which has reached out to help the challenged and disadvantaged in our area. Our team has partnered with him each year to hold a Special Olympics event at one of our games and it never fails to impact lives. Mel never wants to take credit and openly talks about being led by God to show love to others. There’s no false motion in that. He simply lives out his faith and I’m thankful for his example!