Press Break Concepts

I'm often asked questions about how to handle a full-court press.  The questions usually sound something like this; "how do I beat a full-court press"? Or "how should I position my team to beat a full-court press"?  These general questions are difficult to answer because many factors must be considered.  Factors such as your team's skill level, your opponent’s skill level and also what type of pressure defense your opponent is using.


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Since I get so many questions concerning the subject I've decided to write an article which I hope helps you formulate your on concepts about how to beat full-court pressing defenses.  Instead of just giving you simple x's and o's diagrams I want to show you what most teams try to accomplish with a press and how you can use this information to develop your own game plan.

Trapping Hot-Spots

The image on the left shows common areas where defenses try to trap the basketball.  I call these areas the trapping hot-spots.  These areas include the corners and the half-court line.  I've shown both sides of the half-court line but the most effective area is just over the half-court line because this prevents the offensive player from stepping back or throwing the basketball back beyond the line.

The reasons these areas are the most effective trapping spots are because the inbounds lines and the half-court line acts as another defender.  In the picture you'll notice 1 is trapped by the defense in the corner.  If 1 steps to far back or to far to the side he/she will be out of bounds. This is an example of how the boundary lines can essentially become another defender. 
 
 

 

 

 

Avoiding Traps

In developing our full-court press break concepts we need to understand these trapping hot-spots.  Once we understand them we'll want to teach our team to avoid these areas when possible.

There's several ways we can avoid getting trapped in the hot-spots.  One way is by passing the basketball before the defense can come to set the trap.  These can be forward passes or backwards passes depending on what the defense gives us.  Notice in the diagram to the left how being trapped just over the half-court line has taken away our option to make a backwards pass.  If 1 passes the basketball back over the half-court line it would be a backcourt violation.
 
This brings us to another option to avoid trapping hot-spots which is teaching our team to not dribble into a trap.  In the above diagram if player 1 would have either passed the basketball back or not dribbled over the half-court line he/she would still have all the options available to pass or dribble away from the trap.

 

Basketball in Middle of Court

We've now briefly discussed the trapping hot-spots and the point I'd like you to understand is how these spots use the courts boundary lines to make the traps more effective.

The one area of a basketball court without boundary lines is the middle of the court.  This area is essential to any press break offense.  When we get the basketball to the middle of the court we can often dribble through the press because this takes the boundary lines out of play for the defense.  Without the inbounds lines or the half-court line it makes setting effective traps very difficult.  
 
I'll continue this series of articles soon but for now I hope this introduction will help you start developing your full-court press game plan.  You can use the concepts here not only to learn about breaking a full-court press but to also use the trapping hot-spots for your own press defense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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