The Diamond press (also called the 3-1-1 or the 1-2-1-1 press) is suited for all levels of play. The press is designed to force turnovers by speeding up the decision making process of the offense. Your team must have quick players with good instincts for this press defense to be effective. Do not run this press if you are not willing to occasionally give up easy baskets.
Quickly transitioning from offense to defense is crucial to prevent miscommunications that result in those easy baskets. Communication in games and practices is vital to make this press effective. Be sure to constantly remind your players that the offense's goal is to get the ball in the middle of the diamond. Getting the ball in the middle of the diamond breaks the press.
Note: Breakthrough Basketball strongly believes all youth level teams should only play man-to-man defense.
X4 is for the post player closest to the basket. X2 and X3 are for the two guards closest to the basket. X1 is for the guard furthest from the basket. X5 is for the post player furthest away from the basket.
The Diamond press can also be run directly out of a made free throw. The free-throw shooter is up top. X2 and X3 are positioned on the wings. X1 and X5 are at their usual positions.
The offense will likely set up in this press break. Line X1 directly behind 5 and parallel to 3 and 4 to intercept any long passes. X4 denies any inbounds pass to the middle. X2 and X3 look to force the inbounds pass to go into the corners. X5 is the safety in case of a long pass.
As soon as the ball is inbounded to the corner, X2 and X4 must trap immediately. X2 must not give up the sideline.
If the pass is made to 5 or 1, reset to the initial formation.
If the pass is made to 4, X1 looks to cut off the sideline. X3 and X4 sprint back. X2 looks to prevent any passes to the middle by forcing 4 to dribble up the sideline. X1 and X4 trap once the ball crosses half-court.
If the pass is made to 3, the press is broken. Your team must fall back to your base half-court defense. You can still force a turnover if X4 can tip the ball from behind.
1-2-1-1 Diamond Press Tips
Here are five concepts to emphasize when working on this press in practice. A breakdown in any of these areas will lead to the press being broken.
1. Sprint to the nearest spot after a made basket. Get your players to think about pressing as soon as they transition from offense to defense. The press is almost always broken when one or two players fail to remember that their team is running a full-court press.
2. Only trap on the sides. Trapping in the middle is counterproductive because the offense has four directions to escape the trap via the dribble or the pass.
3. Do not allow the ball to go in the middle of the diamond. This will put the defense in an unfavorable position because there is only one player to cover three spots.
4. Keep the ball behind the first line of defense for as long as possible. Move your defense back depending on where the offense is initially set up. Always remind your players that the offense has ten seconds to get the ball across half-court.
5. Have their hands up when trapping the ball. Do not give your opponent an easy target to break the press. Remember that short passes to the middle are the best way to break the Diamond press.
6. Get hands up when closing out to guard a player or trap. By simply getting your hands up, you′ll get numerous deflections and turnovers.
Drills for the 1-2-1-1 Diamond Press
To reinforce these five concepts, here are two simple drills to work on in practice.
Related Pages and Helpful ResourcesZone Defense Concepts & Tips
Man to Man Defense
Does Your Defense Match Your Purpose? A Look at Defensive Alignments
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