Basketball Press Formation

Chapter 12.3

What is a press? When should a team use it? Get ready to learn about pressing in basketball.


A basketball formation describes how players move and position themselves on the court in relation to players on the opposing team. There are three (3) main formations that all others branch out from:

  1. Man-To-Man
  2. Zone
  3. Press

In this tutorial, we will learn about a basics of pressing and the various types of press formations.


Pressing in basketball sounds like a confusing term, but it is very easy to understand. To press in basketball is to add pressure to the opposing team to force a turnover.

Goals Of The Press

The goals of pressing are as follows:

Advantages Of Pressing

The following are advantages of a pressing:

  • it is hard for the offense to react
  • if done correctly it results in a higher number of turnovers like steals

Disadvantages Of Pressing

The following are disadvantages of a pressing:

  • it is tiring and requires a lot of energy for the players to execute
  • it leaves the court open for uneven match ups and fast breaks.

Press Formations

There are many ways to press and as a fan you may hear about the following press formations:

All of these formations are extensions of the basic principle of pressing -- to add pressure and force a turnover.

Half-Court Press

A half-court press is a press formation that is done in half of the court.

Full-Court Press

A full-court press is a press formation that is done over the full length of the court. On a full-court press, the defense will try and force a turnover before the offense passes the midcourt line.

Man Press

A man press is a press formation that utilizes the strengths of a man-to-man formation. Every player is assigned another player on the opposing team in combination of pressing.

Diamond Press

A diamond press is a press formation that has defensive players positioned in a diamond shape on the court.


We've already learned about trapping in a previous chapter. Trapping is the idea of forcing a player to move to a specific location on the court and then making it difficult for him/her to escape.

Rookie Road Basketball Trap Image

Pressing utilizes trapping, since traps are great for forcing turnovers through an aggressive play-style. There are many ways to incorporate traps in a press formation. It is only limited by your imagination.

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