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PostPosted: 23 May 2013, 09:16 

Posts: 59
We recently faced an athletic team that applied fullcourt m2m pressure and we lost several possessions in the backcourt and gave up several lay-ups. The strategy we worked on in practice was not utilized in the game once the players got hurried by the pressure. We are as good as anybody except if the opponent is capable of applying heavy, physical pressure.
The most recent pressure defense opponent we played would match-up, trap the dribble and rotate. I align our pressbreak in a 1-2-2 with the 5 inbounding and 1 setting a diagonal backscreen for 2 at the elbow to get open. The 5 would clear out to the front court. We count on them to switch and our 1 pinning her player and getting open for the inbound pass. Once the ball was inbounded and trapped the other guard would rotate behind the trap for a pass, if that pass was unavailable the 5 would flash back to the middle of the court as another option. The 3 and 4 would stay in the front court. I emphasized catching, facing up and looking ahead. I would rather take a 5 or 10 second violation than give up lay-ups.

Is there a better way to teach players to handle fullcourt pressure?

Thank you

PostPosted: 23 May 2013, 09:46 
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Posts: 3139
Coach -

Early in my Vasrity coaching career I learned a valuable lesson..... MAKE SURE your players are prepared to beat the press. We got beat up pretty good by a team that pressed us.... I took the blame for that loss... from that day on, we worked on our press offense for at least 10 minutes a day.... till they could do it in their sleep.

You can always add an extra defender to simulate stronger pressure by the D! My philosophy was the same as yours, take the 10 second call, we can play D when they take the ball out of bounds, we cant defend dunks or breakaway lay ups.

Take a look at this...

PostPosted: 23 May 2013, 10:19 
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Maybe I have been lucky the last couple years but I have kept it really simple and don't spend a lot of time on this. When we face that full court pressure with intense denial it can be a little tense at times with a few close calls... but it has worked really well for us.

I just put my point guard up to get the ball. Everyone else is DEEP to spread the floor for my point. I teach my players how to get open in this situation so they can get it inbounds to the point and then just clear out. We also teach our players how to beat double teams. So if they do happen to try and double team our PG it's not a problem. We usually get advantage fast break.

I teach them how to box out and seal the defender and hold out their hand for the ball. Then it's a clear out against m2m pressure and the point brings it up. We do lots of 1vs2 full court dribbling in practice as a skill development tool. So it's not a problem for our guys to bring it up against 2 defenders if they happen to do that. Here's a video that talks a little but about what we have done in the past:

One year a team tried to deny the inbounds with two players and triple team our point guard once the ball was in. He still beat them 1 versus 3 and then we had a lay up fest. I think we were up at least 20 at half time. Granted he was fairly athletic and that was a luxury. In other seasons with less athletic PGs that would not have worked 3 vs 1. I think most people think I'm nuts for putting my PG up there all by himself. But I want him to have plenty of space and also keep things simple. It has always worked for us so far.

Jeff Haefner

PostPosted: 23 May 2013, 11:19 
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We ran a 1-4, if it was m2m. we had the PG screen for the next best ball handler and he rolled back.... everyone else, cleared out..... then we had the inbounder cross his face to clear out.... I think I got that from an X Bull guardd.... that way he could see if a double team was coming and he could react accordingly.

But, I like your ideas too Jeff... there were times I had my best ball handler take the ball out of bounds and as soon as he passed it in... they returned the ball to him and cleared out.... I guess there is a lot of ways to make it work.

Give me a D Rose type player and get out of his way. :-)

PostPosted: 23 May 2013, 17:17 

Posts: 900
Some great points already made. Agree with Jeff on the PG, if you have one that can handle the ball, usually that will do the trick by having everyone else give them space.

Coach Sar is spot on about the practice portion. I don't think it matters which press breaker you choose, it's how confident your players are at executing it. Practice the press break until the players can do it in their sleep. The more confident your players are when facing a press, the less likely they will be to panic. I'd dedicate 10-15 min to it every practice for a while. Preparation is a key factor.

Use keywords to emphasize crucial points that you can bring up during the game and time outs. Middle (for stay out of corners), clear (to get others out and down court), meet (for players to be aggressive and meet the passes), etc... Whatever you choose.

Shell drills also help with 3 vs 4 and 4 vs 5. Make it tougher in practice than it will be in a game. Teach the players receiving the pass to be aggressive and come to the ball.

Don't be afraid to take a time out when you see the other team pressing. It's better than giving up 10 pts in a matter of minutes. Use it to remind your players not to panic and bring up some of those keywords.


PostPosted: 13 Jun 2013, 12:57 

Posts: 41
Just want to echo Coach Rob's about instilling your kids with poise and confidence in the face of pressure. I have found that to be more important than coming up with some magic press break. Typically, when kids first face full court pressure they get very rattled and it causes a flight or freeze response, the first is typified by the ball handler dribbling wildly up the sideline, head down, usually leading to dribbling right into a double-team, dribbling the ball off their own body because they are traveling faster than they are used to, or as soon as they see the trap coming flinging the ball wildly in the direction of the first teammate they see whether that person is open or not. The freeze response comes when a kid gets the ball and just stands there like a deer in headlights holding the ball at their waist where it is promptly stripped. Next possession you find no one cutting to get open even though you practice a particular press break all week. You start yelling to the kids to do this, do that, cut, etc. but it doesn't happen. That's because a number of them, having just turned the ball over, have absolutely no desire to get the ball again.

That can be a very tough scenario and I have been through it. So getting them psychologically prepared is what is most important. Hopefully, you have a couple kids who are not intimidated. Charge them with the primary responsibility of handling the pressure. Preach being confident, aggressive but also calm. Work on catching the ball and pivoting hard into triple threat facing up court and looking before deciding to pass or dribble. Work on pass fakes, splitting the trap, good spacing and general dribbling skills (with an emphasis on a strong guard hand). Tell them that beating the press often leads to a fast break or an easy basket and to keep an attack mentality. Find a press break for M2M and one for zone press and practice those and not try to learn too many versions. Pick 1-2 players you are comfortable as inbounders and give them that responsibility exclusively (I have learned this the hard way. When I didn't designate the inbounder when I first started coaching, either my best ballhandler would grab the ball from the ref or the net and take it (when I really wanted him to be getting the pass in) or my weakest passer would pick the ball up!).

Like everything else in this game, it will take time for your team to learn but they will eventually get it.

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