Coaching Tips: How To Break The Press

Coaching Tips: How To Break The Press

Facing a full-court or half-court press usually is disconcerting for players. Often they are caught off guard by the press and feel vulnerable when the defense tries to force turnovers.

One of the keys to breaking a press is to teach players to beat traps, reverse the scenario and attack the defense where it is weak. Players may feel like the defense is everywhere, but it’s not the case. A coach’s job is to prepare the players and help them get comfortable against the press.

That just takes practice, practice, practice and playing, playing. Confidence is the biggest thing.

Basketball requires getting the ball past the midcourt line within 10 seconds.

Tip: Think Pass 

A team doesn’t necessarily need a dominant dribbler because it’s best to break a press by passing the ball. Still, it’s important that players know how to dribble with either hand and their head up, which decreases the chance of them moving into a trap.

When offensive players spread the floor, it gives the person with the ball better passing options. Reinforce with 3-on-2 offensive philosophies.

Philosophy is to attack where they are weak, if they’re coming at you with a full-court press, then start people deep. A lot of people’s philosophy is you bring everybody to the ball. But when you bring everybody to the ball, you’re also bringing everybody to the opponent’s basket. Spacing is the next thing that you must work on. If they’re playing full-court, then make sure you send somebody long. Put two people long, so the passer has options.

Get Players In Good Spots

After the opposing teams scores a basket, the player inbounding the ball will increase his/her passing options by moving along the baseline, which is a tactic not taught enough to players. Any player receiving the ball wants to meet the pass – reducing the chance of a defender getting a hand on it – and simultaneously turn and square up in the Triple Threat position – which gives the player the option of a pass or a dribble.

If you can dribble with your head up, you can read where they’re coming at you, to go the opposite direction, to split them if they’re trying to trap. There’s nothing wrong to breaking it right there (with a dribble). But, again, the philosophy is even if you split the defense you get the ball away from them to the other end of the floor as quickly as possible.

A sideline helps the defense trap offensive players, so it’s best to get the ball to the middle of the floor. Against a full-court pass, the offense can put a taller player at midcourt. If the offense is facing a half-court trap, it wants to put a player at the foul line or the top of the 3-point arc.

A half-court trap, you don’t pass midcourt until you have somebody ready. In other words, you don’t dribble up the sideline right into the trap. Bring the ball up the middle up the floor. When you bring the ball up the middle of the floor, you have options – you can go right, you can go left.”

Make Breaking The Press A Key Part Of Your Drills

Many youth basketball coaches have their teams practice press breaks by adding an extra defender – going five versus six – which will make facing five defenders in a game seem easier. Teams can use a 2-on-8 basketball drill, in which two offensive players face a pair of defenders four different times up the court, first in the backcourt from the baseline to the foul line and then from the foul line to halfcourt, and then in the frontcourt at the same locations.

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