Easy Basketball Plays
The 1-4 Full Court Press Break


I like easy basketball plays. When you have five players running the court in a frenzy, being pressured end to end, with the crowd screaming in their ears - the last thing you want is for them to have to stop to think. You want them to act and react as quickly and as naturally as they can given the situation. And they will do that a lot easier with easy plays than they will with complex plays.

Which is one of the reasons I like this press offense so much. It isn't complicated, and yet it will work against the majority of presses teams will throw at you. It's quick, it gets the ball up the court with a minimal amount of movement, and it should put you in a position to score.

Which, as I always say, is what you need to focus on when you are going up against any press - it isn't enough to get the ball over half; you must score on them if you want them to stop pressing you.

This particular press offense works very well against the most common full court presses - 1-2-1-1 or diamond presses.


Easy Basketball Plays
The 1-4 Press Break Set Up

  • Against a 1-2-1-1 or diamond press, the 1-4 press break sets up as the diagram illustrates
  • The player inbounding needs to be confident with the ball - an excellent passer and a decent ball handler, and preferably with a little height so he can see over the defense easier
  • The remaining four players set up as shown, with your tallest at the ends and your ball carriers inside
Easy Basketball Plays - 1-4 Press Break1-4 Press Break Set Up

Easy Basketball Plays
The 1-4 Press Break in Motion


  • Against a 1-2-1-1 zone
  • Lining up with four across the foul line extended gives us four guys to their two
  • Ensure that players are spaced well - if any two players are too close, it allows one defender to effectively guard two men
Easy Basketball Plays - 1-4 Press Break1-4 Press Break vs 1-2-1-1 Press
  • The inbounds pass is made to the tallest man on the ball side - usually the #5, the center
  • As the tallest man on the offensive side your #5 should be well suited to receive a high inbounds pass

As soon as that pass is made,

  • #1 fakes in and then flashes downcourt along the sideline
  • #2 fakes in and then flashes to the middle
  • #4 sprints down court
  • #3 steps inbounds

Note that #3 should be able to run the baseline if this inbounds is off a made basket; thus he could pass in to the opposite side if needed


Easy Basketball Plays - 1-4 Press Break1-4 Press Break - Inbounds Pass

  • Once #5 has the ball, he turns and holds it high, looking for the pass - he does not dribble

The options we want are:

  • down court to #1 on the sideline
  • across court to #2 at the center

We take whichever pass is easier to make - i.e., wherever the defense gives us an opening


Easy Basketball Plays - 1-4 Press Break1-4 Press Break - Moving the Ball Upcourt

Easy Basketball Plays
Moving The 1-4 Press Break to the Fast Break


if the pass goes to #2 in the middle

  • #2 drives hard down the middle
  • #1 and #4 fill the lanes on either side and sprint hard to the basket
  • #2 leads the break, pushing hard to score

If passes are quick enough, this should provide a decent opportunity at a 3 on 2 fast break


Easy Basketball Plays - 1-4 Press Break1-4 Press Break - Pass to Middle

if the pass goes to #1 on the sideline

  • #1 could drive down the sideline if the pass across to #2 is unavailable, but we'd like to get the ball into the middle whenever possible so we have both sides of the court to break with
  • #1 preferably passes to #2 in the middle
  • #2 drives hard down the middle
  • #1 and #4 fill the lanes on either side and sprint hard to the basket


Easy Basketball Plays - 1-4 Press Break1-4 Press Break - Pass to Sideline


if passes to #1 and #2 are not possible - #5 passes back to #3

  • #2 cuts to the opposite side
  • #3 skip passes to #2, who drives hard up the middle
  • #1 and #4 fill the lanes on either side and sprint hard to the basket
  • #2 leads the break


Easy Basketball Plays - 1-4 Press Break1-4 Press Break - Pass Back to Safety and Cross Court

In all of these options, #3 and #5 should be filling the secondary break positions and running the floor as quickly as they can to catch up.

The passing needs to be crisp and quick - though, as my father used to tell us, be quick but don't rush. But moving the ball fast should allow you to outrun the defense and get into scoring position in good shape.

An easy basketball play designed to break the most common full court press, this setup should put the numbers in your favor - with the defense spread down the court, setting up all your players close to the inbounds pass should give you an effective press break.

And remember - always focus on scoring. If you want the press to be taken off you, punish the defense and make them too scared to press you. Score on them quickly and decisively.




"What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle and giving 110% all the time."

- Don Zimmer





Make the Fast Break your first offense!
Check out Better Basketball Coaching's step-by-step break down and coaching manual for

Coaching Better Fast Break Basketball

Basketball Books – Fast Break