Press defenses are generally employed to force the offense out of their comfort zone: to speed them up, to create chaos, to force turnovers.
As an offense having to go against a press defense, there are some fundamental tips and guidelines you can follow to help your team beat the press.
- Attack the press. This goes to how you choose to beat the press but it also goes to attitude. Players often become timid when pressured. Part of that is on developing skills through practice and training, however, part of that goes to mentality. In much the same way you attack the defense in a halfcourt situation, give the same focus in the fullcourt. However you choose to attack and beat the press, understand that the objective is to gain an easy score.
- Players should be spread out on the court. From an offensive standpoint, this kind of goes without saying. Though the halfcourt offense might be well-spaced, players often tend to ignore how they the play in the halfcourt and get too close together against a press defense. Spacing is very important as it gives more room to pass and makes it more difficult for the defenders to trap.
- Prepare to help. Teammates should be aware and ready to help one another out. This means that when a teammate is in trouble (trapped, picked up dribble, etc), others may need to move aggressively and with purpose to get open. If you’re running some type of set press break, a player might have to move from a spot to give his teammate a passing angle.
- Utilize same alignment vs. all press defenses. This is simply to make things easier for your players to remember. Some of the movements might change depending on the press, but the initial alignment should be kept the same. For example, a team may pressure man-to-man making it difficult to inbound the basketball. Once inbounded, however, the dribbler can be allowed to bring it up while everyone clears out. Against a zone press, clearing out is probably a bad option as they will be leaving a teammate alone to get trapped.
- Keep encouraging. Against a press, turnovers will happen. As will some easy shots be missed. Keep building up your players and encouraging. If a player is doing poorly and needs to come out of the game, use that as a teaching moment and not only build them up, but remind them how to beat the press.
- Keep it organized. Regardless of how you choose to attack the press, make sure it’s organized. Pressing defenses want you to be unorganized … that’s how they succeed. Keep your attack simple and only give your players what they can handle. When things do get unorganized, use a timeout for reminding them what you want to do vs. the press.
The above 6 basketball coaching tips will greatly enhance your team’s ability to beat the press. No matter the type of press break or press attack you install, these guidelines will serve as excellent reminders for your players.
Anything to add to this list? Please share in the comments below.
Be sure to check out our Attacking the Press section here at Hoops U.
You will also find even more Press Attack Offenses & Drills in The Hoops U. Basketball Coaching Academy. There are more X’s and O’s and we get more in-depth in learning and teaching for coaches of all levels inside The Academy.