A press in basketball is any strategy or formation that adds pressure to the offense to force a turnover. Pressing can be used by coaches that play man to man defense or zone defense. It is a defense in which the defenders play much tighter than usual and pressure offensive players even in the backcourt. The goal is to get the ball back as quickly as possible without
Pros of Press Defense
- press defenses can confuse the offense if they are unprepared
- press defenses can result in lots of turnovers
- press defenses are great against weaker teams that lack bench depth
Cons of Press Defense
There are a few reasons why you should consider not using a press defense in your playbook.
- press defenses leave the court open for fast breaks if the dribbler breaks through
- press defenses require lots of energy and can fatigue your defense
- have your team make quick passes on the court - passing is the fastest way to move the ball on the floor.
- use the sidelines to your advantage
- try and keep the ball in the middle of the court near the top of the key
- develop techniques to break traps with strong passing skills
Basketball Press Defense Types
Basketball Full-court Press
A full-court press is a type of press that is applied over the full length of the court. On a full-court press, the defense will first apply pressure on the inbound pass at the baseline or sideline in the backcourt. By setting traps, the defense can force a turnover with a steal or backcourt violation.
Basketball Half-court Press
A half-court press is different from a full-court press because the defense only focuses on applying pressure in the front court when the dribbler gets past the half-court line. On a half-court press, the defense can apply pressure by the net, at the top of the key, or right when the dribbler walks over the half-court line.
Basketball 2-2-1 Press
A 2-2-1 press, also known as a 3/4 press, is a press formation that utilizes four defensive players near the midcourt line in the front court. 2-2-1 presses are best used against teams that lack the ability to penetrate to the lane from the top of the key. When making a 2-2-1 press, have your defense force the offense to the boundary lines and set traps to force easy turnovers.
Basketball Man Press
Basketball Diamond Press
A diamond press, also known as a 1-2-1-1 press or a 3-1-1 press, is a press formation that has four of its players in the shape of a diamond. The difference between a 2-1-1-1 diamond press and a 3-1-1 diamond press is based on how much pressure is applied on the inbound pass at the baseline. On a diamond press, the defense sets a trap right after the throw-in with the goal of forcing a turnover. Once the trap is set, one player should try and predict where the trapped player will pass the ball and force a steal.
A trap is a defensive strategy of applying pressure to the ball-handler close to the boundary lines to force a turnover. On a trap, two or more players run up to the ball-handler and trap him in a corner or area of the court.
You can learn more about traps by reading our tutorial on Basketball Traps.