The Basketball Press Break
Full Court Press Offense
Every coach needs a basketball press break in their playbook.
Defensive presses - especially full court presses - can be intimidating
and cause an unprepared team to give up the basketball simply out of
confusion, but what you always have to keep in mind is that a press is
really a scoring opportunity that your press breaks will reveal.
How many press breaks do you need to know? One good one should work,
as long as you can run it effectively. The basketball press break below
is used against a full court zone press - you can find a Half Court Press Break here.
A few things about breaking a full court press effectively:
- Transition / the inbounds pass must be quick - no casually stepping out of
bounds and tossing the ball in - the faster the better, so the defense
doesn't have the time to set up their press
- Passes move faster than dribbling - if you want to move the
ball upcourt fast, passing does the trick. Dribbling often gets you into
trouble, dribbling into traps or dribbling with your head down and not
seeing the open man. Passing is almost always better. But they need to
be good passes.
- You need to score - if your focus is just getting over half,
your opponent will continue to press you. If you score on them, they
will take the press off and make life easier on you.
This press break will help you effectively handle a full court press, and provide you with several opportunities to score.
Transition is the first key to breaking a press - the team that transitions the quickest takes the advantage
The Basketball Press Break
How to Break a Full Court Press
- Players set up as indicated in the diagram, roughly in position
where they would likely be if they were coming off defense - point
guard (#1) on the ball side, guard (#2) moving quickly to a space about
three quarters the distance to the half court line, small forward (#3)
passing the ball in, power forward (#4) at the top of the key, and
center (#5) sprinting all the way down court.
- The forward inbounding the ball (#3) needs to be a good
passer, preferably tall enough to see over the defense, but also needs
to be able to dribble if needed, as he will be the safety option in this
|Setting Up the Press Break
- #3 quickly passes the ball in to #1
- #3 then immediately steps into play and takes up a position
on the opposite side of the court, about 10 - 15 feet from #1, so that
he can act as a safety pass if needed
- #1 pivots to look for open men to pass to
#1 does not immediately dribble the ball - as is the point
guard's tendency. The first thing he does is see if there is a pass
- #2, #4, and #5 all move to the side of the court where the ball is inbounded to
- With the ball inbounded and the team in position to run their full court offense, it is time to smash the press
|Inbounding and Initial Movement
Once the team is set up - and this should take only a second or two -
there are several options that can be played out to get the ball up
court and to attack the net. A couple of points to keep in mind at this
stage of the basketball press break:
- You are attacking. The objective is not to just get the ball over half, but to score.
- You will have options, and you need to be prepared to take the option that the defense gives you.
- The defense will always give you an option - they need to, as they
will be double-teaming someone, meaning someone else is open. Keep your
head clear and your eyes open and find the option given.
There are several options, but only the first option is given here.
To keep this page a manageable length, the other options will be linked
to on another page below.
Basketball Press Break
Scoring Options #1
Initial Scoring Options on the Full Court Press Break
- The first scoring opportunity begins with a pass from #1 to #4.
- Immediately, #2 sprints to the middle, looking for the pass from #4
- If the pass to #2 from #4 happens, then #2 dribbles upcourt, looking for #5 coming up to the center. #2 passes to #5
- At the same time, #1 and #3 are filling the lanes as in a
fast break, and when #5 receives the pass from #2 he immediately looks
to pass to #1 or #3 as they sprint to the basket to score
You will find several other scoring options on the Press Break Options page.
Be sure to incorporate all options into your full court press break,
to give yourself the best chance to score against the press.
Although a good press will not be easy to break, any zone press
requires a double team somewhere - which means someone should be open
and therefore there is an opportunity to capitalize on that weakness. Be
quick - if you beat the double team and attack the basket aggressively,
the numbers should be in your favor and you should get a decent
scoring opportunity out of it.
And remember that scoring is at least as important as just
getting the ball over half - 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 mentally and physically. Use
this basketball press break to make them pay for making you work.