Cheetah Press Break

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Purpose: This is a strategy designed to work against a man-to-man full court press. The best case scenario is for a long pass to a sprinting speedster for an uncontested lay-in.


Position your players as shown, but realize that Player 1 should actually be standing out of bounds. Player 2 should be a real speedster. This is usually something that you would do in a dead-ball situation, in which case Player 1 can not run the baseline.

On the slap of the ball, Player 2 starts behind Player 1(Again, realize that Player 1 is standing out of bounds), who pretends to hand him the ball. Player 2 then sprints all the way past the key and cuts up and between Players 4 and 5, who have moved apart to create a space. Player 3 sprints straight toward the baseline.

After Player 2 runs through the space, Players 4 and 5 close back up, creating a double-wide screen. Defender 2 is caught behind them, and Player 2 is wide open sprinting toward the basket. Player 1 (Standing out of bounds) throws a long pass that Player 2 can run to and corral for an uncontested drive to the hoop.

If your team is alert enough to set this up in a live ball situation (after a made basket), then Player 1 (Standing out of bounds) has an option to run the base line and throw the pass from the same side as the cutter. In this case, Player 2 should run a slight banana pattern in order to follow the flight of the pass.

Points of Emphasis:

  • The pass should be high enough to get over the defense and placed so that Player 2 can run to it without slowing down.
  • Player 2 should explode into his route after he passes behind Player 1.

Teaching Tips:

  • Tell your team that this play will get them an easy two points.
  • Teach your passer to look at and fake to Player 3 before looking for Player 2.

For more information about breaking presses, check out our comprehensive press break guide and online video.

Download 32 of our favorite basketball plays

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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Coach Mick says:
1/18/2015 at 9:31:07 PM

I plan on running this. So is player 2 just cutting in front (along baseline) and looking for a fake pass to player 1 before sprinting through the screen from player 4 & 5?

I've re-read this several times and it sounds like player 2 runs out and then back in.

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
1/19/2015 at 6:30:50 PM

I'm not 100% sure, but I believe you are correct.


Caden says:
11/5/2014 at 11:08:47 PM

This is a very good play if you have the right players.


8/1/2011 at 12:34:27 AM

I actually won a playoff game with my team being down by 1 point!!! Not only did I have NO MORE TIME OUTS LEFT, but there was ONLY 23 seconds left in the game. THIS PLAY REALLY WORKS and NUMBER 2 MUST be your fastest player on the ENTIRE team and NUMBER 1 MUST not only have the best/strongest/accurate arm of the ENTIRE team but he/she must fake pass first to another player just to get his/her defender off balance. Then finally make that game winning pass for an EASY LAY UP!!! Very effective!!!

Thank you!!!!


ROY G. says:
1/27/2011 at 9:30:59 PM



jay says:
12/27/2010 at 7:20:24 AM

whoever states this is illegal play is wrong. read the wording carefully and read your rule book carefully. Also, if you have a case book read that. Play done properly is perfectly legal.
i'm a coach of 29 years and I run plays in various situations very similar in concept to this one. just trying to help.


tchic says:
10/13/2010 at 8:46:32 PM

Play is illegal


griffin 24 says:
10/13/2010 at 2:57:04 PM

this looks like a good play! just !thing is wrong i agree with the perso that said what if the ! cant throw over the others deffese


Coach T says:
8/11/2010 at 10:29:10 AM

The player doesn't run out of bounds. It tells you to remember that player 1 is out of bounds. As the other player breaks towards the ball there is a fake hand off. It didn't say run behind player 1 out of bounds.


Coach Partin says:
8/10/2010 at 8:21:02 AM

You are not allowed to intentionally leave the playing floor then receive the pass. This play will result in a turnover for your team. If you modify it so that 3 sets a pick for 2 then runs to their position on the far side of the court it will work. I ran it last season this way and it worked great. I had a real speedster on my team so it was great!


Coach A says:
2/4/2010 at 1:15:32 AM

I didn't think you were allowed to come from out of bounds and catch the ball without it first touching another player


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