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The Basketball Press Break

More Options to Beat the Full Court Press

A good basketball press break will have several options to draw on, to take advantage of whatever situation the defense opens up. And since the defense in pretty much every zone press will be double teaming at some point, they will be opening up an opportunity somewhere - your players just need to watch for it and run the appropriate option in your press breaks.

The press break options here stem from the initial set-up found on the Full Court Press Break page. If you haven't seen that set-up yet, check it out before looking at the options below, as they will make more sense if you know the set-up first.

Remember, one major reason that presses work is because they upset the offense, increase anxiety levels and thus cause the turnovers. You need to run your press breaks in practice at the intensity of game level - have your defense yelling to each other, calling movement, moving to position like they would in the game so your offense has to work to move the ball up, to keep their heads and look for the opportunities that will open up.

Full Court Basketball Press Break:
Scoring Option #2

basketball press break - option 2

  • The second pass option begins with a pass up the sideline to #2 (this assumes #4 is too closely guarded to receive a pass)

  • As soon as this pass is made, #1 sprints to the middle lane, #4 sprints to the far lane, and #3 hangs back, still as a safety

  • The ball is either:
    • passed back to #1 and he leads the break; or

    • Passed down the sideline to #5, who immediately looks for #1 cutting hard down the middle.

  • Either pass results in #1 taking the ball down for a fast break, looking to pass on the weak side to #4 as he cuts to the basket, or to #5 as he runs in

Full Court Basketball Press Break:
Scoring Option #3

basketball press break - option 3

  • If none of the previous options appear, the safety pass is to the small forward (#3)

  • Once this pass is made, several things happen at once:

    • #2 sprints in from the half to the top of the key, looking for the pass
    • #4 sprints to the sideline, filling that lane
    • #1 begins running upcourt, filling the final lane
    • #5 sprints to the half court circle, taking care not to cross the half court line and definitely not to straddle it

  • If the pass goes to #2 at the top of the key, #2 looks to the center court line to pass to #5. If this pass isn't available, #2 may dribble the ball himself up court

  • #1 and #4 fill the lanes on the fast break

Full Court Basketball Press Break:
Scoring Option #4

basketball press break - option 4

  • If #3 passes to #4 on the sideline, #5 immediately sprints to the same sideline, looking for the pass downcourt from #4

  • If #4 passes to #5 down the sideline, #5 immediately looks to #2 racing down the middle

  • #4 may also pass to #2 in the middle, in which case #2 leads the fast break down court

  • Either set of passes means the ball is in the middle, with #2 leading a fast break and #5 and #1 filling the lanes

The press break can seem a little complex but once your players have practiced it a few times, they'll pick it up. Players have a fairly rigid set of movements to follow, which will help some players. Others may feel constrained or confused, but it is important to remember and to remind the players that to succeed, the press break needs to be calm and controlled, not wild and frantic.

And remember to always focus on scoring - you must score if you want the defense to let up - you must punish them for putting this press on you, and force them to take it off. If you don't score on them, they will press you all night, which will be exhausting for you. Use this basketball press break to make them pay for making you work.

Other resources to help develop your basketball press break:

Better Basketball Coaching Pages & Resources
External Resources

Good luck developing a killer basketball press break, and happy coaching!

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