Basketball Press Offense: How to Break Any Type of Press and Avoid Turnovers -- Press Breaker Drills, Offense, and Strategy

Home > Coaching > Basketball Offense > Basketball Press Offense: How to Break Any Type of Press and Avoid Turnovers -- Press Breaker Drills, Offense, and Strategy
In this report and supplemental video you will learn...
  • How to attack any type of zone press (including the 1-2-1-1, 2-2-1, half court press, and more)
  • How to reduce turnovers and take better care of the ball
  • Drills to improve press breaking skills
  • Press break drills to improve ballhandling under pressure
  • Press break plays
  • Tips for youth and advanced coaches
So you'll find a little something for everyone - all the way from beginner youth coaches to seasoned veterans.

Part 1 - PDF Download

Start with this PDF eBook (right click and select Save As to download)

Once you download the eBook you can print it out or view it on screen.

Part 2 - Supplemental Video

Once we get through the PDF ebook, watch this supplemental video:

Download the movie file (You may need to right-click the link and select "Save Target As")

Video Contents:
  • Introduction
  • 6 Keys to Beating the Press - 01:30
  • How to Get the Ball Inbounds - 05:40
  • Breaking a 1-2-1-1 Full Court Press - 07:50
  • Breaking a Half Court 1-2-2 Press - 12:33
  • Additional Tips - 16:30
  • Final Thoughts - 23:10

Part 3 - Additional Press Break Resources

If you'd like to learn more about breaking pressure and see on-court demonstrations, we have a few DVDs that we recommend.

We found these resources by surveying our own subscriber list and asking them what press break DVDs they thought were the best. We then ordered the DVDs and reviewed them to make sure they were good.

Now in all honesty we have not viewed every press breaker resource available. I'm sure there are other good ones out there. But these are a few that were recommended to us by our subscribers and also get our seal of approval...

Universal System of Attacking Press - By Will Rey - I like this DVD because it gives you a really simple and effective press breaker that works against any press. You'll pick up lots of good advice and I think this is an all around good DVD.

Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball - Breaking the Press - This DVD gives you some additional tips, several good drills, and reinforces important press break concepts. It's also a good all around DVD.

Note for Youth Teams

If you're getting pressed in a youth league, my suggestion is to find a different league. Presses and traps are VERY counterproductive for youth players and slow their skill development. Presses, traps, and zone defenses should be against the rules in youth basketball. If you don't believe me, just listen to pro coach Stan Van Gundy (who also coached his kids' youth team):

You can also listen to former NBA player and youth basketball expert, Bob Bigelow:

Give Us Your Feedback

We really hope this report helps you successfully beat pressure and avoid turnovers.

Please leave your feedback below.


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

11/23/2018 at 11:32:34 AM

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for the excellent concepts video! Players must understand these concepts if they are to consistently stay out of trouble & even score against a pressing zone. Set plays can work on a time-limited basis but the defensive zones will adjust quickly to fixed & repeated plays! Coaches should still have a couple of fixed plays to be used sparingly! If your players understand the concepts & are good ball handlers, they will gladly accept & beat zone presses! One point I would add is that breaking zone presses must be a team effort. If you have an individual who believes he alone can beat the press, your team is in trouble! One player, even an all-star, generally cannot beat the zone press & is, in fact, playing into the other team's plan! Thanks again for your excellent presentation!

  1 person liked this.  

Ali Calloway says:
9/5/2017 at 4:41:12 AM

I've been coaching girls basketball from the high school level to the youth level. I have had a lot of different people try to explain the best way to break a press. You have explained in a simple way that I'm sure most coaches will understand. Keep up the good work!


Sam Ingersoll says:
5/25/2017 at 1:29:33 PM

This is such fantastic information.


John Lubbe says:
1/16/2017 at 12:00:34 AM

Thanks Jeff. We went with a 3 up on the fly and it worked by taking our girl who was double teamed away from the play as a decoy. We were able to play them much better the second time we played.


John Lubbe says:
1/9/2017 at 4:51:29 PM

Hi Jeff, what do you do if you are running a 2 up press breaker and the other team doubles your point guard on the inbounds pass. This is 7th grade girls basketball.

  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
1/9/2017 at 5:27:45 PM

First, make sure the PG doesn't catch the ball in the corner or too close to the baseline. Then once PG has the ball, the pass to the ball reversal player should always be there (the player that inbounded the ball and steps in as the ball reversal option). Get that pass made and you should have an advantage to advance the ball via dribble or pass to wing or sideline players ahead.

  1 reply  

John Lubbe says:
1/9/2017 at 5:31:45 PM

Thanks, my issue is getting the ball inbounds to the PG against the 2 defenders. I am thinking I may want to take my PG and the 2 defenders out of the play or if you have other ideas??

  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
1/10/2017 at 7:39:17 PM

With my youth teams I started using a 1 up press breaker the last couple years. Fundamental concepts stay the same but you can see the set up here:

We work on teaching our PG how to walk the defender down, bounce, then bounce again or banana cut. We practice so they are really good at getting open (most of my youth players are undersized). When facing 2 defenders, it's much harder.

So far it has not been an issue but if a team decides to do this the whole game, I would do one of the following...

A) Bring 2 players "up". Then as soon as we figure out who they double team, that player cuts to wing position at mid-court so we have 1v1 for my PG to get open. I have not actually tried this. It's just a theory.

B) Another option is to run 4 across to get the ball inbounds:

I really don't like spending a lot of time on these unique situations. I prefer spending time on fundamentals so I usually just accept that we might lose and a coach tactically beat us but I know I am spending time in practice on the right things (developing this players for the long term). Just a few thoughts to consider.


Chris says:
10/10/2016 at 10:34:49 PM

Thanks for the helpful video! Do you find, though, that it's hard to get the 3 in place after passing the ball inbounds? It seems like it would take a while for him/her to get there and so the 1 or 2 would have one less option until the 3 was in place.

  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
10/16/2016 at 8:09:51 AM

Chris - I'm not sure which diagram or part of video you're referring to. It looks like I used different numbering systems throughout. I think the concepts are the more important aspects. The specific numbers and positions can be adjusted as long as the fundamental concepts maintain.

I often have the inbounder step in as the ball reversal option because it is closest spot to fill. Sometimes it depends on my personnel, the age of my players, etc.

I used to be very concerned about putting players (ex: inbounder, finisher, etc) in the right places. In recent years I have become less concerned with that and allow players to be in different positions and give them a lot of freedom. Believe it or not, but the last 2 years, I did not ever tell my players who should inbound the ball. I let them decide and figure out it on their own. Everything just worked out.

So I encourage you to make adjustments to adapt to your situation and preferences. Keep spacing, teach concepts, develop great ballhandlers, and things will work out.


enock says:
4/5/2016 at 8:23:17 AM

I rely love the way thing are been thought here,just what i needed for a start


enock says:
4/5/2016 at 8:21:19 AM

I rely like how thing is been thought here wow just what i needed for a start


Moses says:
7/15/2015 at 8:00:34 AM

Very useful, thanks for your hardwork.


coach503 says:
4/2/2015 at 8:33:14 AM

what is your review on the "Universal System of Attacking Presses"? I've seen it mentioned a couple times in the PDF. Just wondering if it would be good to install for my 9U team. We are joining a summer league that allows pressing and I have some really quick guards who are good ball handlers.

  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
4/3/2015 at 4:17:42 PM

To be honest, it's been so long since I've watched that DVD I forget what's on it. I remember it being good but I don't remember the details.

For a U9 team I'd keep it very simple and implement a simple 2-1-2 against zone (as suggested in the PDF above).

With my 9 year old team, we do not have a press breaker. We just work on spacing and ballhanding all the time. And they just beat the pressure. Personally I would not spend much time a "press breaker offense" and just focus on ballhandling skills and decision making fundamentals and basic spacing concepts.


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