The Beucler 2-2-1 Press Defense is What Keeps Opposing Coaches Up At Night

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As a coach, there is usually one thing that keeps you up at night....

  • No matter how many times you've seen it before..
  • No matter how good your guards are..
  • No matter how much you have prepared..

....the thought of WILL WE GET PRESSED???

There are several reasons the thought of pressure worries coaches.

  • What if my team simply doesn't execute against the press?
  • What if you prepared for the WRONG type of press?
  • If you turn the ball over once or twice, will my team get rattled?

A Must In Every Coaches Toolbox

Whether you implement a press like Nolan Richardson's 40 MInutes of Hell or Shaka Smart's Havoc Pressure or Jay Wright's Villanova 3/4 Court Press, the bottom line is this: coaches and teams will not be pleased that they have to prepare for this.

As a coach, whether you decide to use pressure the entire game, or for a change of pace, or at the end of the game- every coach needs to have some sort of press in their toolbox!


One of the smartest things any coach can do is implement systems that are versatile.

One press with tons of versatility is Rob Beucler's 2-2-1 Press System. Having used it and tweaked it over the years, Coach Beucler has a system that can go from full court, to 3/4 Court, to 1/2 Court. The rules remain the same, which makes it easier for your team to remember, but difficult for you opponent because they must prepare for several different press possibilities.

Being an expert in the "art of pressing", Coach Beucler has implemented a system that can speed you up, or slow you down. If you want to go slow then they run Rover and speed you up. If you want to play fast, Coach Beucler can run 75 and force you to slowly bring the ball down the floor against a team waiting to take the ball away from you

VERSATILITY is a huge plus in any press and should be something you consider when implementing a press with your team.

8 Advantages Of Pressing

  1. Tempo- Pressure allows you to dictate the pace of the game. If a team wants to play slow, you can speed them up, if they want to play fast you can slow them down. A press puts YOUR team in charge of the pace of the game.
  2. Forcing Turnovers- All coaches go into games focusing on limiting their team's turnovers. If they get to walk the ball up the floor and run 1/4 court offense the entire game, they will probably have a low number of turnovers. Pressing them is a way of creating more turnovers by your opponent.
  3. Create Offense- Sometimes you need to press simply to create offense. When your ½ court offense may struggle at times to score efficiently, pressing may give you turnovers that your team turns into lay-ups. This might be all that you need to ignite your offense.
  4. Play More Athletes- Players at any age want to play in the game- whether it is 2nd grade or NBA, they want in the action. Pressing allows you to find more places to play athletes in your rotation.
  5. Teams Play Harder- Most teams LOVE to press. They get to be aggressive, go up and down the floor, and attack the offensive teams. Almost any player you ask, enjoys running pressure defense, and it often gets them to play harder and be more aggressive.
  6. Physical Fatigue- When your team is simply better conditioned, or has a deeper bench, it is an easy way to wear your opponent down. If you decide to press most of the game, it might be something that you see pay off in the 4th Quarter. Your opponent will be physically tired and your team can take advantage of this as the pressure becomes EVEN MORE EFFECTIVE when your opponent is tired.
  7. Mental Fatigue- Mental fatigue is a real thing. When guards can walk the ball up the floor every possession, it is not very stressful on them. When players have to execute for 94 feet, this can wear them down mentally over the course of a game. Even if they lose focus for 1 or 2 possessions, this may lead to turnovers which can turn the tide of the game.
  8. Time Off Shot Clock- Even if you don't get a turnover from your pressure, it may take a team 8-12 seconds before they are able to finally get into their offense. If there is a shot clock, this can put them at a huge disadvantage leaving them with less time to execute on the offensive end and less time your team needs to defend tin the 1/2 court.

You decide to press...

Down 12 points with :44 seconds to play...

So You Are Saying We Have A Chance?!?!

Blood In The Water

Ok, so maybe your press won't always get you 12 points in :44 seconds. We've all seen or been a part of games where we feel our team is in complete control and then something like this happens. Maybe it is a 6 or 8 or 10 point swing that completely turns the tide of the game.

The fact is, once your team gets one or two turnovers from your opponent, your team becomes more aggressive, and your opponent becomes less confident. It is almost like sharks smelling blood in the water! Your kids are flying around making plays and your opponent... looking to see if they have any timeouts left to stop the bleeding!

It's Ok If You're Not Perfect

As coaches, decisions must be made on what offenses to implement, what defenses to implement, what specials to implement, and so on. We always want to play to the strengths of our team.

The one thing I implore ALL coaches to have available to them when facing opposing teams is a PRESS. It is also OK if your team does not fit the look of a prototypical pressing team.

I can tell you from over 26 years of coaching experience the following are true:

  1. You do NOT have to have a long, athletic team to be be effective pressing
  2. Every team has games in which they need to press
  3. Teams do NOT like to be pressed...even good teams with good guards

I can honestly say that some of the teams that I have coached that have had the most success pressing, have been ones that probably would be considered the least athletic.

Likewise some times that our pressure has been most successful has been against teams with very good guards.

Time Is NOT On Your Side

The press creates the feeling of having to hurry or getting rushed to make a play. Players often have more than one defender coming at them and it causes them to stress and make poor choices. Once a player know that the backcourt count is at 6,7,8 seconds, they:

  • Feel stress
  • Make poor decisions
  • Make mistakes because they hurry

Your 1st Lesson: Trapping 101

Every coach prides themselves on being a good teacher, but you can't teach what you don't know or haven't learned. I'm guilty of this myself.

I tell kids to trap, and in my mind Iknow what a good trap looks like but in all the years of coaching, and all the games I have used pressure in, and all of the breakdown drills I did for pressing... I never showed the kids EXACTLY how there feet and hands should be when trapping.

Coaches who are most effective using pressure leave no stone unturned. Every last detail is taught. Coach Rob Beucler who has run his 2-2-1 Press for decades teaches how to create the most effective trap possible.

Teaching How To Retreat

We usually teach how to go forward when we press. We overlook teaching players exactly how to retreat. For your press to be most effective you also must be teaching players how to properly retreat.

Players need to be taught how to properly retreat inorder to:

  1. Take away the middle of the floor
  2. Enable your players to form a SECOND effective trap
  3. Ensure that no layups are given up

These are the details that allow your team, no matter the size or athleticism, to be effective pressing. Being taught how to press properly and following tried an true rules will enable them to have more success than you thought ever possible off of pressing.

Let's Dance

You are always trying to keep your opponent off balance, especially when pressing. You want to keep the guard guessing as to when and where the trap might take place... if it takes place at all!

  • Maybe they think a trap is coming so they pick up the ball in the backcourt. No trap comes, and they have nowhere to throw the ball.
  • Maybe they get trapped because they didn't read the trap coming quick enough. Now they are in real trouble and start to panic- this leads to points for your offense.

Teaching your players has to keep the defense off balance is an ART. Coach Rob Beucler teaches players to do this with a technique that he calls dancing!

Coach Beucler demonstrates how he teaches players to "dance" by moving forward one step and then quickly back two steps, followed by forward one step and back two steps.

When his midline players do this right, the ball handler is left guessing as to when/if/where the trap is coming... this confusion usually helps lead to more turnovers by the offense.

Be Prepared

Like the Boy Scout motto says "Be Prepared"

Coaches need to be prepared for any situation. Whether they need to speed a team up, slow them down, or create offense for their team off of turnovers. A versatile press can do ALL of these things and more! Coach Beucler's 2-2-1 Press is an example of versatile press that you can use anywhere from full to 1/2 court.

Most importantly your team needs to BE PREPARED for any situation. The chances of you pressing a team at the end of a game and scoring a bunch of quick buckets is not very likely if your team is not prepared to press!

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


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