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An Ebook Series By

Coach Patrick Anderson
This Ebook Series Contains:
1. Basketball Team Offense
2. Basketball Zone Defense
3. Basketball Full Court Pressure
4. Basketball Inbounds Plays

Coaching basketball is one of the most challenging but rewarding of the team
sports to instruct. With so many different variables and player combinations, you,
as the coach need to be able to react quickly to what is going on, and to prepare
your players for what lies ahead.
Some of the basic basketball fundamentals are taught to players when they are
in grade school. Dribbling, shooting, passing, etc., and now it is your
responsibility to take those skills and hone them into a powerful unit. To do that
you need a few extra weapons to help you along the way.
That’s why I have put together this book. Inside you will find a guide to four
different areas of basketball:

Team offenses
Zone defenses
Full Court Pressure
Inbounds Plays

These are areas that every coach can use to make their team better. Once your
team has mastered each of these different plays or formations, you can adjust
them to better suit your needs, and create variations of your own.
To help you with the instruction of these plays and formations, I have included
basic diagrams to show you where your players will be, and then where they
should go. Following is a brief legend to help you decipher the diagram:

1 – point guard
2 – shooting guard
3 – small forward
4 – power forward
5 – center

Cut or move to this area






Best of luck to you in your coaching endeavors, and I hope this book provides
you with valuable information on coaching basketball.
© 2006 All Rights Reserved

© 2006 All Rights Reserved

• Quick passes • Only dribble if you have to. along with a couple of the variations and the different options you have with each offense. is to score as many points as possible. This is key to creating passing lanes for your players to get the ball to their teammates. The offenses that we are going to take a look at are: • • • • • Motion offense Flex offense Perimeter offense Stack offense Kentucky Pattern offense Each of these offenses can be used as a standalone offense. Coach this with your players. The triple threat position is just that – a threat – because a player can shoot. they could get into trouble.Putting the ball into play The object of basketball. or you can teach them all to your team for different situations during a game. so you should have no problem getting the players on board. Most of these offenses can accommodate adjustments to do just that. In this section. pass. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . Dribbling during the offensive set is a last resort in most offenses. we are going to look at some of the offenses you can run with your basketball team. • Use ball fakes to move the defense around. in order to complete one element of the game – scoring points! I am going to show you a few of the more popular offenses that are run in basketball today. The thing to keep in mind as a coach is that you will be changing and adapting these offenses when you see what a defense is doing during a game. while preventing your opponent from doing the same to you. If a player has lost their dribble. Keys to a good offense: • Make sure the players know their assignments – practicing their movements in slow motion so they understand their responsibilities will usually do the trick. or dribble from that position. None of them are that difficult to learn the basics.

set screens and be quick enough to find the open areas of the court. They also need to be ball-smart so they can read what a defender is doing and react according to the basic concepts of the motion offense. and good screen setting. 2 wingers (on the perimeter) and 2 post players. and tough enough to grind it out on the boards against some of the toughest man-to-man and zone defenses. • The perimeter forward need to be versatile players that can either drive the lane. and then to react to what is being done defensively on the court. The other variations of this offense are: • • • • The 4 out – 1 in The 5 out The 1-3-1 The 1-4 … and in each of those there are variations. • The post players need to be agile enough to set screens and cut to the hoop off of a pick and roll. you usually play to your skills and design your motion offense plays based on those strengths. Instead. It will most often utilize one strong. the Motion Offense is focused on teaching players to use a basic set of rules for their movements. 3 out – 2 in This is a basic motion offense that you could see at any high school or even college level game. It can be run against a zone defense. Here are a few basic rules of thumb for the motion offense: • The point guard always bring the ball up because the offense is set off their direction. or a man-to-man. the motion offense has a variety of looks and several different options available. cuts to the ball or the basket. ball handling point guard.Motion Offense – Basic The motion offense is a generic term for any offense that uses court movement. With the variation in defense. The point guard is always the last line of defense against the fast break and does not rebound (unless he or she drives the lane). The one thing that separates the Motion offense from others is that it is quite flexible – you don’t have to have set plays every time you bring the ball down the court. We’ll take a look at the basic 3 out – 2 in offense. In the motion offense. © 2006 All Rights Reserved .

Once the players know how to read and react to an opposing defense.• This is more of a concept offense than a ‘set play’ offense. it is pass. to open a passing or driving lane. Passes are easily intercepted and screens are ineffective. drive or cut to the hole. then a coach can design set plays based on the defensive alignment of his opposition. screen. • The key to this offense being successful is balance and spacing. The 1 man (point guard) brings the ball up the court and has one of four options: • • • • Drive to the hoop Pass to the 2 or 3 man Pass to the post Wait for a screen and run the offense from the corner of the perimeter © 2006 All Rights Reserved . Too much crowding keeps the shooting lanes and driving lanes closed. or if they are in danger of having a 5 second violation. Dribbling is usually not an option unless a player is in trouble (because of a double team or trap). Basic 3 out – 2 in alignment 4 5 2 3 1 These are the options that the players in the motion offense have. Otherwise.

The motion offense is just that – full of motion. he or she can cut through the key for a return pass. Once the wing gets the ball. If the point guard passes it wide to the 2 or 3 man. they can pass to the post. A good ball control and passing point guard is essential – they set the offense and make the first pass. and look for an opening to make a play. or use the high post as a decoy to hit the back door wing route. when the post gets the ball it can pass to the back door cutting winger. The point guard can drive to the hoop on a screen from the wing. Also. If the guard hits the post with a pass. the players react to where the ball is going. the wing can still cut back door and get a pass from the high post. or back door. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . or use the screen to run the offense from the wing. This is just the first step of the offense – done from the point guard position. either over the top of their defender. With each pass that is made. The great thing about this offense is that it can be adapted to whatever defense is being run against you.So. Each pass should be followed by a triple threat position. looking at the graphic on the previous page you will see that with the basic 3 out – 2 in motion offense you have plenty of options: • • • • The 1 man can pass to the 2 or 3 man on the outside. with each pass around the perimeter you can set the offense from that point. or as they are cutting to the hoop. The 1 man can pass to the high post coming to the top of the key. Your players need to learn to read and recognize where there are openings in a defense – and then exploit them. Once they understand the different options they have this offense can be quite successful. Also. etc. you can mirror the image and run the same offense on the other side. The one post player can set a screen and the other can go back door or over the top (based on the defense) to get a pass from the point guard. Even though the graphic shows only one side. Keys to the Motion offense • • • Don’t dribble unless you have to. It is a passing and moving offense. it is open to many different options at the coaches’ and players’ discretion. Motion offense is the first basic team offense you can look at.

This is a man-to-man offense that has a basic 2 – 3 set up. then you will see rule #3). © 2006 All Rights Reserved . you will then go to set a pick • If you catch a pass.Basic Flex Offense The Flex Offense is probably one of the most popular offensive sets used in basketball today. you will receive a pick set for you. the Flex offense uses a lot of movement by the players and screens to create open holes for lanes to the basket. but be patient enough to wait until the screen is set. this is similar to the motion offense – especially in the movement and the number of picks that are set. Further. these are simply variations of the same basic offensive idea. you will either set a pick or get a pass • Once you pass. strong screens Make crisp passes – and on time for the cuts Be quick to make the move off a pick. Everyone has a responsibility to remember these rules in order for this offense to work: • Once you set a pick. or use one of the standard flex sets to run this offense. The flex offense also has a few different variations: • • • • The Gonzaga Flex The Flex stack The Kentucky Flex The flex-motion But. in order to make this offense successful. What separates it from the Motion offense in many respects is that a coach will design set plays. Similar to the Motion offense. • When you get a pick. with one side slightly unbalanced with the post on that side. you will then either shoot or make a pass (if pass. you must teach your players the following: • • • Set good. The 2 – 3 Flex Offense As mentioned earlier. A few rules to remember will help your players figure out the flex offense.

however. they might receive a pass. So.These are important to making this offense work. you must receive a pass or set a pick for someone else. The 2 – 3 Flex Offense – Basic alignment The following graphic shows the basic flex offense. 5 4 3 1 2 The basics of the flex offense tell you that when you make a pass then you go to set a screen. From the 2 man’s position. and the 5 man sets a screen for that player. a series of screens takes place. Also. there are several options as the offense goes through its evolution: © 2006 All Rights Reserved . one of the rules says that once someone sets a screen for you. and then another screen. With each screen comes the potential for a pass. As the 1 man cuts across the key. So the 1 man makes a pass to the 2 man. after the first pass (which sets the offense in motion). That is how the offense works. there are several variations of it that a coach can employ. or then the set a screen for the 3 man. and then goes to set a screen for the 5 man.

The winger on the post sets a screen for the winger on the right perimeter as they cut across the key. the 5 man gets a screen from the 1 man. 1 3 4 5 2 So. the formation is very similar to the initial one – except that the winger is now the post on the right side of the key. the 3 man will be utilizing a screen from the 5 man. now on the perimeter. then come to the perimeter to reset the offense to the other side. The 2 man can also then decide to make a pass to the right-winger.). After the first few screens illustrated in the first diagram. and then cuts to the top of the key. you should end up with a configuration similar to the first one. then the flex offense simply starts again. If there is no pass made after one of the screens and no basket attempted. The next step is the same as in the first part of the offense. The right guard (yellow) makes the pass to the post player. If they don’t receive a pass. Simultaneously. waiting for the right opportunity to make a pass as the screens work out. a return pass can be made to the 1 man. what you will notice is that after the first few screens. but a screen will usually be set for the 5 man. Then the left guard sets a pick for the winger down on the post. after the screen from the left-winger coming across (after the screen from the post.• • • • After the first pass from the 1 man to the 2 man. After the first stage. The right guard should not have dribbled to this point. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . or goes back door to receive a pass. The 2 man can make this pass immediately if open.

After this second diagram. This offense can be used as the primary offense for a team. and they may need to dribble out of the trouble. • If you are running a perimeter offense because you are playing a strong zone defense. it is an offense based around the perimeter of the offensive court – primarily run around the 3-point area. This is because one of the reasons you are running the perimeter offense against a zone defense is to make quick passes to open up shooting lanes or driving lanes. unless a coach designs new plays for a basic offense. And when the opportunity arises to make a pass that results in a clean shot! Perimeter “Horseshoe” Offense – Basic The perimeter offense is a very basic. but doesn’t have very many options available to it. generally you should have your best shooters / passers on the floor. The key to this offense is setting good screens. • If you are running the perimeter offense because you need a late game three-pointer. As the name states. It ends up the same after each run through – if there is no pass or shot opportunity. but often used offense. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . However. • Trying to run the clock out at the end of the game requires your best passers and dribblers. the players need to be quick to make passes and quick to hit the holes for shooting or driving. and making good cuts. There is a good chance your players will get fouled or they will be facing pressure defence. I would suggest your quickest players on the floor. • If you are running the perimeter offense as a good change of pace to keep the opposing team guessing when you are going to run a man-to-man offense. then you obviously need your best shooters on the floor. and a zone defense. it is a very valuable offense for specific situations in a game: • • • • Against a good zone defense If you need a late game perimeter three pointer If you are trying to kill the clock at the end of a game As a change of pace If you are running the perimeter offense. So. you should understand the basics of the flex offense. Depending on the game situation you are playing for. you will need a combination of players.

If you throw a post player in to the mix. this offense is run around the perimeter of the offensive shooting area.The perimeter offense would most often be considered a valuable ‘tool’ in a coaches’ toolbox. including swinging the ball from one side to another. The diagram below shows the basic alignment: 5 3 4 2 1 The main idea of the perimeter offense is to create holes in the zone defense. or buckets in the paint. The Basic 4 – 1 perimeter offense Just as the name states. This is done by: • Stretching the zone and creating a hole through quick passes. you all of a sudden have a formidable threat to score the deep field goals. most zones are designed to collapse and create a mini-trap inside the key to prevent a drive. This almost © 2006 All Rights Reserved . When good quick passes and changes in direction are made. • When a player drives into the key. an undisciplined zone is stretched. It is a versatile offense that you will find has a few options that can give it an added dimension.

instantly opens up a shooting lane for another player in the area of the two players collapsing the zone around the driving player. In the diagram on the previous page. The final option would be to stretch the offense with quick passes. you will notice that the passing arrows are going both ways. The 5 man will be active because they may be able to exploit a softness in the zone and get a quick pass in the paint for a score. One of the dangers of trying a cross-court pass against a zone is that you can bypass one player in the zone with the pass. One the drive begins and the zone defenders collapse on a mini-trap. to give the post player a soft area to receive a pass and make a quick post move in that spot. Quick passes need to be made between players – and that player needs to be ready for a return pass as the ball is changed direction to keep the defense on its toes. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . But it is important to remember this one key to the perimeter offense: • The passing needs to go around the perimeter from player to player in consecutive order. This is effective after you have taken a few perimeter shots in a row. The next option in the perimeter offense is the drive. This is the primary objective of the perimeter offense. a group of players who are on the ball can make the perimeter offense a potent one. Often times this offense can be run very quickly and some players aren’t so quick to catch on to the fact that a pass may be coming back to them as quickly as they sent one away. But. The first option for all of the players is to shoot if they have an open shooting lane. This signifies the fact that passes can go around the perimeter in any direction at any time. the driver can swing the ball back out to the open man on the perimeter for a shot in the open shooting lane. but there is usually a second person in the zone able to steal the pass. The way you will create the holes in the zone is by passing the ball. This offense can be difficult to run with players who don’t understand the purpose or the options that are available. The driver has three options when they hit the lane: • • • They can take it to the hoop (if they have a good clear path) They can dish it to the post as the inside zone players will collapse on the player driving to the hoop.

• This offense can be set up to exploit mismatches against the opposition. The Stack Offense The stack offense is one of the oldest offenses that is still occasionally used in today’s game. then it would be impossible to not get a good shot. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . This is a quick-hit offense that usually takes one or two passes. If you change where a player plays their position. • They say that if the players are able to execute this offense well. you can simply rotate the players in a clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation so their position changes (while the post stays the same). It is primarily played against a man-to-man defense. then this can provide problems for the defense. and maybe a bit of dribbling on the part of your ball handler in order to open up some of the plays. it would be an opportune time to try out the perimeter defense from earlier in this book! • Good offense for rebounding. This is the first offense we have talked about that you should select players suited for the positions. This offense utilizes a strong ball control guard who quarterbacks the entire offensive set. Further. You have four players in the key area. if you move your big post player to an outside position. If a team switches to zone on you during the game. you can take one of the opposition’s big players out of the rebounding area.A coach can take the basic perimeter formation and add a few extra options to keep the zone defense in flux. with your big players usually there to get the second and third chances at the ball. the post player can be utilized in several different ways if a coach chooses to design plays specifically for that position. For example. Although it takes a back seat to the flex offense nowadays. If you want to add motion to the offense. The stack shouldn’t be run unless a team has a guard who has exceptional ball handling skills. the stack does have some great advantages: • It is tough to play man-to-man against this offense.

Boxing out on the offensive and defensive boards is essential if this offense is going to be successful. the low post player that receives the first pass from the guard has a few options: © 2006 All Rights Reserved . • After this first step. After the 1 man makes a pass. The basic play structure for the stack offense provides for these players to get the ball in the 12 to 14 foot range. He or she needs to be able to dribble. and also be strong defensive players. and the 5 man moves at a 45-degree angle out to get a pass. 4 and 5 man – These positions should be good outside jump shooters. 2 and 3 man – These players will be your best rebounders and inside shooters. pass. shoot the deep ball. The Basic stack offense 4 5 2 3 1 Here’s how this offense works: • The 1 man drives to the right. make quick plays. At the same time the 3 man seals the defender to the inside and prepares to potentially receive a pass. he or she goes down to the 4 man to set a screen. and also get back to play defense – quickly. They should be able to execute a variety of post manoeuvres.1 man – This player needs to be your best all-purpose player.

a good drop step or baby hook can almost guarantee two points. he or she will head back down to their position to wait for the offense to reset. just on the opposite side of the court. Players need to be acutely aware of when their team loses the rebound battle to hustle back on defense. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . The entire time it takes to run this offense should be minimal – maybe 10 to 12 seconds. Also. they are quite susceptible to the fast break. then the offense should be run the same way. All three of the other players down low crash the basket for a rebound. This is a great offense to use as a change of pace. He or she can pass to the 4 man. Then the player makes a post move for a shot. They will be rebounding short to medium range jumpers more often than drives and short hoops. • Since four players are down low on offense. The main success of this offense comes in its ability to surprise the opposition. if the 4 man doesn’t receive the pass. He or she can take a shot from the outside. If you can get the ball to the top post players. the 5 man will hold the ball and return the pass to the guard sitting outside the perimeter area. Here are a few more keys to the stack offense: • The 4 and 5 man must be prepared to rebound. This player can then square up to take a shot from the top of the key. It can be used as an offensive variation for the flex offense or the motion offense if the plays are adapted to work with those philosophies. who has rotated to the top of the key. the 1 man will rotate back to the perimeter (outside the three point line) and wait to possibly reset the offense. If the ball does get back to the guard at the top of the half court. or to rebound the shot. • Good post moves are essential to this offense. After setting the screen. If there are no passing opportunities.- • He or she can pass to the 3 man that has sealed off his defender. or drive to the hoop.

the better they will do. The first stages of this offense don’t go too far into the paint. this offense does not seem like it penetrates well into the low post area. If the preliminary options are not learned correctly. You need a player who can make quick passes and keep the offense running. The 1 – 4 Kentucky Pattern offense Upon first glance. then the following options are not as effective. with a good ball handling guard to quarterback this offense. as you will note in the diagram on the next page. but copies of the play calling system should be provided for the players. as the player needs to understand the options they have when the plays are run. but it just forces the player to think a little more and to understand what is happening during a game. but still basic enough to be run by any youth or high school program. It does take a little bit more coaching of the specific tasks of each player. Here are a few keys to the Kentucky pattern offense: • Timing of screens and passes is crucial. Coaches should take time to not only diagram the plays for the team. • Players need to know the exact spot they need to move in order to execute the offense effectively.Basic Kentucky Pattern Offense This offense is slightly more intricate than some of the others that we have talked about in this book. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . • You need to have 5 smart. with only slight adjustments made between the two. and then walk through them. Coaching is extremely important to this offense. and the more informed they are. but they simply set up the offense for the latter stages that work the ball down low. It should be clear to the players that this offense does have several set plays that can be run from it. • Coaches need to instruct this offensive set one step at a time. The Kentucky pattern can be run against both a zone and man-to-man. well-rounded players.

The 5 man screens the 1 man’s defender to open the hole. with the 2 man passing to the 5 man at the top of the three-point line. From here the 2 man can do one of three things: - Take the three point shot Pass to the cutting 1 man (give and go) Drive to the hoop If nothing is open for the 2 man. The offense is reset. Each stage is a takeoff of the previous stage. The other four players will line up on the foul line extended – as you will see in the following diagram. then the 5 man assumes the guard position at the top of the three-point line. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . 2 5 4 3 1 Here are the first options to open this offense: • • • Once the 1 man passes the ball to the outside 2 man. which sets up the offense. and now the 1 man takes up a position down at the low post. he cuts to the hoop.It is key for coaches to also understand that this offense works in stages. The top guard will carry the ball up the floor and make the initial pass.

Can kick the ball out to the 1 man on the perimeter. who is working off the screen. or reset the offense. and then take that players spot on the perimeter. • The 2 man can turn and shoot or make a post play. • The next option if the back door pass doesn’t work. is for the 5 man (at the top of the three point line) to pass to the 4 man who just set the screen.The next step is for the 4 man to screen for the 3 man. At this point. and then the offense will be reset. the 5 man can take the three point shot. and cutting to the baseline. who has occupied the 1 man’s original spot can make the quick back door pass to the 3 man. 1 3 2 4 5 • Alternately. The 5 man. or the 3 man and set a double screen for the 1 man to get back to the top of the key. Then the 5 man cuts to the hoop in anticipation of the return pass. he can hit the 2 man who will be working off a screen from the 1 man. if the ball is passed to the 2 man the final options are realized. Or. where if yellow gets the pass he or she can shoot. © 2006 All Rights Reserved .

© 2006 All Rights Reserved .

• Do not play the man unless they are in your respective zone. If your players have their hands to their sides the passing and cutting lanes seem much wider and available to the other team. This can unnecessarily stretch the zone and create passing and driving lanes for the opposition. Too often inexperienced players don’t understand they are protecting an area rather than the man. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . Finally. The difference between the two (and it should be emphasized to players) is one guards a man. the greater success you will have. with any zone defense there are keys to being successful. They are effective when executed properly. we are going to go over several different zones defenses and some of the trapping plays that go along with them. • The purpose of a zone defense (in most cases) is to keep the offense on the outside to take longer and lower percentage shots. In this section. and can cause your opponents a great deal of trouble on the offensive side of the ball. We’ll take a look at: • • • • • The 1-3-1 Zone with a corner trap The 1-2-2 Basic zone defense The 2-3 Zone defense with corner trap The 2-2-1 Zone defense with post trap The 2-1-2 Zone (box with man in middle Each of these defenses is still in use today. The tougher it is to penetrate the interior of your defense. • Constant communication is important so your players do not get caught sleeping. Here are some of the things you need to emphasize to your players when playing a zone defense: • Keep your hands up and moving at all times. Stay disciplined. By simply having a hand or an arm in one of these lanes you can force the pass elsewhere.Defending your side of the ball Aside from a standard man-to-man defense. They need to call out screens and players cutting through the zone so everyone on the offense can be accounted for. but many in their pure form. the other guards an area of the court. and get burned by the opposing offense. most with minor modifications. many teams run zone defenses.

and go to a collapsing. Part of the beauty behind this defense is that you should be able to spring the trap on your opponent by surprise. help-style of zone defense. 3 and 5 men. Another benefit of using this defense is that you can switch back on forth between a trapping and non-trapping style. This defense has been around since the beginning of time. 2 and 3 man These defenders will help to force the ball carrier (after the ball has been passed) into the corner where the trap will be sprung. You can simply back off the trap. the other side comes to the top of the key – until the trap is set – then the 3 man will play the long pass across the court. the opposition guard should have passed the ball. They need to be quick and agile to get to the corner without getting beaten.1 – 3 – 1 Zone Defense (Corner Trap) This zone defense is a slight variation from the standard 1 – 3 – 1 defense. It utilizes a quick middle section (3) with a big person down near the basket. their positioning resembles that of a sliding teetertotter (as you will see in the following diagrams). 5 man © 2006 All Rights Reserved . when it suits your needs. Once the ball has been passed. and the role of the 1 man is changed from pursuit to lane coverage (as you will see in the diagrams on the following page). Between the 2. The idea behind this defense is to clog up the middle. the other players will go into action. By this time. The 1 Man (Top) The job of this player (usually your point guard or shooting guard) is to put pressure on the opposing player who is bringing the ball up the court. As one side slides down to the corner. and keep the offense on the perimeter. They should also follow the ball around the perimeter. The pressure should force the ball carrier to pass to the side. to the foul line extended. This is the first thing you want the 1 man to do. in that I have included a trap in the corner. but big enough to defend if the ball goes quickly down to the low post.

This player starts at the top of the key. and shadows where the 1 man is going while pressuring the opposing ball carrier. 5 man (center) and the 3 man (right). they need to be able to literally ‘spring’ the trap on the opposition. 4 man As you will see in the diagrams below. the players are set in a 1. Across the foul line extended will be the 2 man (left). then 3. This player is your last line of defense. and they should be a good shot blocker and shut down defender if the opposition finds any room in the paint. Further. as they have a lot of ground to cover if the ball gets swung around and they are needed to set the trap on the other side. coming from a relatively benign position on the court. The set up Suffice to say. See the following diagram: 1 5 2 3 4 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . Once the ball is passed down to the corner this is the player that sets the baseline side of the trap. The top player will be the 1 man. The 5 man needs to be one of the quickest players on the court. then 1 format. to then cover the baseline. the 4 man patrols the baseline and the paint right near the basket. The 4 man is down low just in front of the hoop.

the zone defense simply shifts with the flow of the ball. then the defense is a mirror image of the one you see here.Above is the basic alignment for any 1 – 3 – 1 zone defense. But. the defense shifts into the trap. the defense simply shifts to where the ball goes – as do most zone defenses. Once the trap is set. then the 5 man immediately takes the baseline to set the trap. 4 and 1 men. 3 1 5 2 4 When the ball is at the top of the key. when the ball is passed down to the side. but for the purpose of this exercise. The 4 man comes outside the key to the side of the pass. • • • • If the ball is passed down to the bottom left. the idea of this defense is to force a bad pass to one of the lanes covered by your 3. the above diagram is the base. There may be slight alterations a coach may make during a game. This is the most crucial aspect of this defense. From here. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . If the ball goes to the other side of the court. The 3 man drops to the far side of the key to cover any pass that comes across. The 1 man drops back to cover the pass back to the top of the key. or in the scouting process. and why the 5 man must be quick on the ball.

4 and 5 man © 2006 All Rights Reserved . This is one of the truest of the zones defenses. as many of the passes that try to break up this zone coverage will go through the middle. so crashing the boards should not be foreign to them. 2 and 3 man These players cover the largest area. still used by many high school and college basketball teams. but also big enough to defend down low when called upon. But. with a player ‘owning’ a certain section of the defensive court. being forced to play outside the three-point line. The basic idea behind this defense is to meet the ball carrier at the perimeter. The 2 and 3 man need to be very agile. They will be called upon to rebound on many occasions. all of the way back to the basket. and then clog the passing lanes and cover the defenders that can immediately threaten on offense. These players are essential to the proper protection of the zone defense. They are the only defenders available to cover the boards. but then fall back to the basket to prevent any passes down the center lane. The key to this defense is making sure the players understand the zone they are supposed to cover. If the discipline of the team to cover their zone fails. as they help defender the perimeter. This player need to be quick and alert. this position does not want to pressure the ball carrier too far past the three-point line. 4 and 3 need to be prepared to rebound hard in the paint. This can extend the zone too far and create an opening in the middle.Keys to success • • • All players should have their arms extended to cover the lanes The defense must react quickly in order for the trap to be set Players 1. It is considered one of the hardest defenses to attack when it is executed properly. then the zone itself will fail. 1 man The one man is going to be the key to forcing the pass one way or another. The Basic 1 – 2 – 2 Zone Defense This is a very common defense.

like the 2 and 3 man. The Set up The 1 – 2 – 2 is a very simple defensive set up. They do cover a great area. See the diagram below: 1 2 3 5 4 At first glance. the middle will be covered quite well.These two men patrol the lower area of the defensive court. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . you would think this zone defense is soft in the middle. because they are also required to cover from the perimeter to the basket. with a top man and two layers of two men each. This is a similar responsibility to the 2 and 3 man. It is good to have two players who can rebound well. but still have the quickness to cover the perimeter. The coverage schemes between the two different levels of the zone are different. The major difference between the two positions is that the 4 and 5 man move mainly backward and forward. and is relatively impenetrable. and also laterally. If the zone is run properly. This isn’t the case. they will help each other patrol the middle so no one can make it through. As you will see in further diagrams. Here are a few things you need to remember when running this zone defense: • The 4 and 5 man overlap their coverage across to each other’s side of the key. however. while the 2 and 3 men must move back and forth.

1 2 3 5 4 After the first pass (or dribble). Show your defenders that they leave gaping passing lanes in the defense when their hands are down. and follows the pass or dribble to the end of their zone down to where number 5 picks up the man or the pass. calling out cutters and shots is important so the defense can react to what is going on around them.• The hands must be kept up at all times. To demonstrate the importance of this. have your players keep their hands at their sides. the following will take place: • • • The 1 man will follow the dribbler (or the pass) to the outside of his or her own zone. I will show in the next diagram where each person needs to cover when a pass or dribble goes in a certain direction. • The players have to understand that their zone is their priority. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . The 2 man drops underneath the hoop to intercept any cross passes and to cover rebounds on the long distance shot. • In any zone. The 3 man picks up where the 1 man’s zone ends. the offense will see the lanes fill up with hands and bodies. they will drop back to cover the center of the key to prevent any cross passes. providing an illusion of impassability. Then. With the hands up and moving.

the3 man is going to retreat back up to the corner of the foul line to cover the lane back to the top of the key. 3 and 4 man © 2006 All Rights Reserved . The 5 man picks up the man or the pass where the 3 man has come to the end of his or her zone. That is one strength of this defense – covering the lower post area. 1 and 2 man The 1 and 2 men must be aggressive. as they would be in most zone defenses. especially when you are getting beaten by a team shooting from the perimeter. The 1 and 2 men will be the ones who set the trap when the ball is pressured down low. that can easily be picked off by one of the off-side defenders. These players don’t need to be the biggest players on the court. Basic 2 – 3 Zone Defense This is another trapping zone defense. forcing the top man to pass the ball down to the sides. They will essentially watch every move made by the players that are at the top of the key. Once the ball gets down to the post. but it almost has a man-to-man element to it. and react quickly. The key to this defense is to force a lob pass across the court. The pressure they put on the opposition point guard will dictate which side the offense passes or dribbles the ball – and ultimately where the trap gets set. This is a basic zone defense that every team should learn. The players in this zone defense have to be able to anticipate where the pass is going to go. Passing lanes should be cluttered with waving and outstretched arms. but they do need to be quick.• • • The 4 man comes across to cover where the 5 man has left to cover the perimeter. One important thing this zone defense needs to remember is anyone under the basket must be covered. aggressive and be able to play a man-to-man style of defense. It is a great switch from a man-to-man defense. Very similar to a man-to-man defense. This is important because an offense might try to put a man down low to counteract the 5 man leaving the key area.

If the ball is high along the perimeter. the 5 man goes covers the high key area. The 3 and 4 men are also the main interceptors of the long pass. They float all around the key with the flow of the play. as they have to be in the first ones to get to the player down on the low post. Anyone who threatens to go down low should have the 5 man pasted to them. because they might often be the only ones collapsing down to crash the boards. The set up 2 4 1 5 3 This defense is all about shifting with the passing or dribbling of the ball. The 5 man has to be a good rebounder. They also need to be big enough to cover the low post area. 5 man The 5 man handles business inside the paint. the 5 man covers any passing lane involving players cutting through the key. They need to be quick and smart. Once the ball gets to the low post the trap is set and the other players fill the passing lanes. They need to anticipate the pass going back to the top of the three-point line. underneath the hoop. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . or back door across the key.These two baseline defenders set the other half of the trap down low. Once the ball goes low.

your players will do the following: • • • Get in between the ball and their man Move as a unit Flow toward the ball. not leaving any passing lanes 2 1 4 3 5 Here is how the 2-3 zone defense works: • • You will see at the top that the 1 man provides the initial pressure on the ball carrier. The 2 man helps to provide pressure and continue to force the pass or dribble down to the baseline.The 1 and 2 men try to dictate where the ball is passed or dribbled. and to get the ball down to the person at the low post. Once the ball is down to the baseline. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . As you will see in the following diagram. They can put pressure on the opposing point guard to get them to pass the ball to where they want in order to set up the trap. they provide the top side of the trap. The intent is to force the pass to one side or the other.

but it can be weak against long distance shooting. it can be an excellent defense from which to run the fast break. It is best at preventing baskets scored down at the low post. They need to anticipate the pass either going down low. The idea of this defense is to try and either prevent the pass to the post. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . and up towards the key. You can get burned by being beat in the key. the 2 – 2 – 1 zone is also a trapping defense. The 3 man is the interceptor if the ball goes to this side of the court.• • • In this diagram. Keys to the 2 – 3 defense • • • Keep your hands up and moving around Anticipate the passes Make sure you are quick to set the trap and that the lanes are covered. They are going to be the set up men to put the trap in place. They will be the first to cover passing lanes in the middle. or to allow it and then trap and fill the passing lanes. The 5 man will cover the area underneath the hoop up to the middle of the key. and they are going to determine the side the ball is taken. As in other zone defenses. The top players must work together to force the ball in the direction they want. and where the offense runs its plays. The Basic 2 – 2 –1 Zone Defense Another in a long line of zone defenses. Switching between the two might be an advantage to your team. the greatest strength is putting pressure on the men down low who try to post up on you. or back to the top of the key. One other note: because this defense has two men at the top of the key. it is important that the passing lanes are filled. but it is a little more specialized in that it works for teams that are small but quick. If the ball goes to the other side. The 4 man sets the baseline side of the screen – simple enough. But. 1 and 2 man The 1 and 2 man are going to be your point and shooting guard. you can mirror the diagram from above. the 3 man covers the lob pass.

and they are the ones who play the middle passing lanes. If they can quickly identify their players breaking down the court. It is a great trait for this person to be able to read and react to the game when they grab a rebound. These players are likely your forwards on offense – they do need to be a little bigger than the players who are up top. but they need to be aware of where the other players are on the court. Once the ball is rebounded the two players can work a great breakout if they opportunity arises. 3 and 4 man The 3 and 4 men patrol the middle of the key area. The set up 2 1 4 3 5 The 1 and 2 men need to be responsible for the following: © 2006 All Rights Reserved . mainly because they are helping to set the traps.The one thing these players need to be aware of is the potential for the fast break. They don’t have to move much. 5 man This defense is perfect for a big man who is just there to prevent baskets and crash the boards. and they help to set the trap. they might be able to spring a great fast break opportunity. so they can set the trap down low.

• • • • Pressuring the point of attack. Fill potential passing lanes after trap The 3 and 4 men are responsible for the following: • • • Put pressure on the perimeter man that goes down low Applies the top park of the screen The one opposite the trap side fills a passing lane The 5 man is responsible for the following: • • • • Setting the trap Rebounding Starting the fast break Watching the backside pass 1 2 4 3 5 The defense works the following way: (pass indicated by a dotted line) © 2006 All Rights Reserved . Forcing the ball down to the post Sagging and then reacting if the ball gets kicked out to the perimeter again.

until the trap is set. Both players are there to either wait for the fast break.• • • • • The 1 man pressures the ball handler and forces them to dribble or pass down to the defense’s right. This defense is a little vulnerable against baseline jumpers. The 3 man picks up where the 1 man leaves off. or to intercept passes back out to the perimeter. These strengths include: • • • Strong in the rebounding triangle Excellent underneath in preventing low post moves The strong rebounding presence allows for one player to immediately break down the court for the fast break. Once you show them you are going to trap. The reason this defense (or variations of it) is used is because it has several strengths. and then follows the pass or dribble down to the corner. and then covers underneath the hoop when the 5 man goes to set the trap. He or she follows the ball down halfway and then retreats to the right side of the foul line The 2 man shadows what the 1 man does. the 3 man follows the pass. If the ball is swung out to the corner again. he or she takes the baseline away and waits for the 3 man to set the top side of the trap. The 5 man protects the hoop. and when the ball gets down to the low post. Should be ready to box out and rebound the ball. this zone defense can cause your opponents a great deal of headaches. 1 and 2 man © 2006 All Rights Reserved . This can be a very effective defense against a team that works the ball a lot to the low post. and if the ball is shifted down low. it might force them into longer-range shots. Then they retreat back to the middle of the foul line circle. Once the pass is made to the low post. this opens up the top of the key. the 3 man sets one half of the trap. The 4 man watches the cross-court pass to start. Appropriately executed. The Basic 2 – 1 – 2 Zone Defense (box with a man in the middle) This is the final zone defense that we will go over in this guide. It is one of the most commonly used zone defenses – especially when a team has smallish forwards and one very large person – who covers the middle.

5 man This is a position that requires the tallest player with the widest wingspan on the team. Working together. this might be the defense for you. The best way to describe the action of the 5 man is a circular motion that follows the direction of the pass. Strong players at these positions are crucial to the success of this defense. They are your primary defender and rebounder when the ball goes down low. They too have a lot of area to cover. they can make the defense vulnerable to the center lane pass. You need very strong rebounders at this position. If they are caught out too far without help from the 5 man. These players need to be quick in order to cover the large area around half of the perimeter. The set up 2 1 5 3 4 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . and they also have to be able to move well around the floor.If you have two tenacious defensive guards. They also need to be able to make the burst long distance for the fast break. these two players are responsible for protecting the perimeter from long distance shots. and they need to provide assistance to the 5 man when he or she is outnumbered. 3 and 4 man The 3 and 4 men in this defense differ from many of the other zone defenses.

2 1 5 3 4 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . If something gets by them. your players should be collapsing in the driving lanes to create a mini trap for any player trying to drive the ball to the hoop. One of the first lessons that you can teach your players with this defense is that you need to help one another in order to be successful. They are the first line of defense in this zone. The 5 man needs to make sure nothing goes through the middle without being checked. Tough. and once they are beaten it leave the triangle of remaining players one their own. aggressive defense up top is crucial. with the 5 man in the middle. The 3 and 4 man have to be ready to crash the boards hard. There are going to be a lot of medium to long-range shots resulting from this defense and the rebounds will be plenty. This player needs to have his or her head on a swivel to keep on top of the action. Here are a few of the responsibilities of each player: • • • The 1 and 2 man need to protect the perimeter. then it is usually an easy two points.This defense look like the number five on dice. Aside from calling out screens and players cutting through the key.

The need to be ready to pounce on rebounds and make outlet passes for the fast break. The final thing this defense needs to be careful of is the cross-court pass. The 2 man covers the pass back to the top of the court. shadowing the one man. Once it goes down to the low perimeter. as I mentioned earlier. The 4 man meets the 1 man halfway up the key. The 5 man. your defense could be stretched. or waits to intercept a pass back around the perimeter. the 1 man either retreats back close to the foul line. If a team goes from one side of the baseline to another. looks like they float around in a circle. They will follow the ball and be the back up man should anyone try to cut across the middle. but then they follow the first pass. After that. Unless they can recover quickly. they drop back to the middle of the circle at the foul line. it could pose a problem. They then shift down to the baseline to cover the shot or the drive.Here’s how this defense works: • • • • • The 1 man pressures the ball carrier and follows them anywhere around the perimeter (on their half of the court). They need to be very aware of cross-court passes that can leave the defense vulnerable. Once the ball has been passed they follow the pass until it goes down to the lower perimeter area. or on the perimeter alone. but not too far to leave a low post person wide open underneath the hoop. with help from the 5 man. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . The 3 man (in this set up) simply protects the backside of the defense.

© 2006 All Rights Reserved .

While this isn’t a standard defense per se. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . You could go the foul route. it is what most of us in the basketball world refer to as a ‘press’. Most successful basketball teams have a pressure defense in their arsenal of attacks.A Full and Half Court Press It’s late in the game and you need to put pressure on the opposition – creating a turnover is the only way you are going to be able to put another couple baskets up on the scoreboard. In this guide we will go over the following: • • • • • The 1-3-1 Full court press The 1-3-1 half court press The 1-2-1-1 press Man-to-man press How to break a press At the end you should be able to prepare your team to not only create an effective pressure defense. your players need to know the purpose of your press. The instruction in this guide is going to help you provide proper direction for your players so your press works the way is should be. but your opposition is shooting the lights out from the foul line. Reasons for a press The press is commonly used for the following situations: • • • • To create a turnover To disrupt an offense that is rolling along To disrupt the timing of an offense To try to create a 10-second violation In order to succeed in making your press work. We are putting pressure on the opposing offensive players. and how to execute it properly. but also the basics on how to break one.

I have seen hundreds of presses broken because the 2 and 4 men could not get into position. Only the team doing the press should know when it is going to be sprung. This person is the front man for the press and they will influence the dribbler in the direction they want them to go to set up the trap. 2 and 4 man These players set the bottom side of the trap (as you will see in the diagrams). three-quarter court and at half court – and can be successful at each place. Like a defensive zone trap. This is not going to work in your favor. because the element of surprise is extremely important. It is imperative that these players are quick enough to get into position to set the trap. because the easiest way to break a press is to give and go down the court. Players need to be aware of where the ball is on the court. They mustn’t let any ball or player pass them uncontested. the opposite side man acts as an interceptor of the return pass to the player who in-bounded the ball. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . The success of the press lies in the success of the 1 man doing his or her job. This press can be used full court. This player guards the center of the court with their life. 1 man This is the most important player on the press. It is important to pick this player up immediately. the success lies with the players that execute the press. Tip: Try to force the dribbler to use their weaker dribbling hand to get away from the press – for most players this is the left hand side. and while they need to pressure. but most do. because then it leaves the 5 man to possible defend against a 3-on-1. When the trap goes to one side. not with the set press itself. 3 man This is the centerfielder of the bunch. But. the best way to do it is by surprise. Not all presses employ a trap. they cannot be over-aggressive or the press can easily be broken.Basic 1 – 3 – 1 Press (Full court) We’ll start off with one of the most common presses that you have – the 1-3-1 trap press.

In most cases the 5 man will be looking at 2 defenders down low. If the interception is missed. If the 5 man is certain he or she can intercept a pass.5 man This is the last line of defense. It will be very tempting for this player to want to try and intercept a long ball. they should go for it. otherwise. they should be instructed to stay at home and defend the basket. but you should instruct them to defend first and intercept second. The set up 1 4 2 3 5 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . it is a sure 2-points for the opposition.

then they need to scurry back to recover on defense. but it is one of the most effective.Here’s how this press works: • The 1 man will not pressure the inbounds player. and they will be the benefactor of many interceptions. so each of the players knows their responsibilities. The intent is not to disrupt the pass. so he or she can get back on defense. This is not a difficult press to teach your players. They can move any direction. and then run it against a full speed backcourt to do any fine tuning. If this player gets beat on the trap and a pass is made up the middle. the trapper is the 2 man. but they play a sagging defense on the player receiving the inbounds pass. They need to make defense their number one priority. • The 3 man. In the diagram on the previous page. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . • The 2 and 4 men have one of two responsibilities: - Set the trap Intercept passes Which side the trap is set determines the player who will trap and who will steal. essentially plays the field and waits for an errant pass. the opposing player being trapped will have no idea the 3 man is waiting to pounce on a poor pass in the middle. as you can see by the diagram. and the 4 man should be lurking in the opposition’s backcourt waiting for a steal. Practice it in slow motion at first. but rather to create the opportunity to trap and then intercept the pass. The one man will attempt to influence the ball handler in one direction or the other (usually his weak hand). In many cases. It is important that the 3 man also be able to recognize if the trap is being broken. usually favoring the side that the trap is being executed. the 2 or 4 man should be there to set the trap. and once he or she drives this player to the sidelines. • The 5 man just sits back and waits as the press develops.

Unlike the full court press. It is not as easily broken as the full court press. but it does have a few additional features. leaves a 4 on 3 Players must be quick and disciplined to make it work. If the 1 man is doing his or her job. The 1 man is the key to getting this press to work. because if they decides to go up the middle. But. One of the best features is the ability to disguise this press as a 1-3-1 zone defense. This is especially important in the half court press. They must use their quickness and agility. 2 and 4 man These players need to be on their toes in order to make this press work. it does have weaknesses. this press is widely used by basketball teams at all levels. but also provides pressure to the opposing ball handler. or it will get beaten all of the time.Basic 1 – 3 – 1 Press (Half court) Of course. You can integrate this press into your normal defensive set up. and simply alternate when you decide to use the trap. and their deceptiveness to try to coax the opposition ball handler in the direction the want them to go. 1 man Once again. this player draws the responsibility of influencing the dribbler to go one way or another. as well: • • • No backcourt pressure If beaten. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . where it takes time to develop. preventing a drive or a pass. this is similar to the 1-3-1 full court press. integrated into a 1-3-1 zone defense. Here are some of the other reasons you should think of running the half court press as opposed to the full court: • • • This press has less of a tendency to give up big baskets. then there may be a gaping hole left there because players are missing – trying to set up the trap. this press must be put on immediately once the ball has reached the front court. then the 2 man should have no problem sealing off the sideline. Still. because it is more compact.

The set up 5 3 2 4 1 © 2006 All Rights Reserved .These players have to be quick and they have to be able to read the play. but they do need to be in the right place at the right time to double team the ball handler. not initially. They don’t want to give away the press by setting themselves up too quickly. 3 man This is the center fielder once again in this press. in order to cover the pass that may go down low. the 3 man simply stays at home waiting for a pass that might try and go to one of the corners. they may want to cheat to the side of the press. You will see the role of the 5 man in the diagrams following. they will be called upon to trap down low on the perimeter. When the press is at the top of the front court. 5 man The 5 man has a unique responsibility. When the first press is being attempted. the 3 man’s job is fairly straightforward – intercept passes. In the half court press. but once the half court press reaches it second stage.

The first part of the trap is self-explanatory: • • • • • The 1 man influences the ball carrier to go to one side or the other (preferably the weak hand side) and then sets the court side of the trap. The 3 man will be waiting in the center to intercept a pass that might be made through the center of the court. waiting for a pass down low. This will often be the pass that the double-teamed ball handler will make The 5 man cheats to the side of the trap. 5 3 2 4 1 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . The 4 man moves up to cover the pass back to the other guard. They should also watch the offside back corner to make sure no one gets through. the press will shift into the second trap shown in the diagram below. If a pass is made to the low man on the perimeter. or small forward. It should be quick and decisive so it either forces an error in dribbling. or it forces a bad pass. The 2 man waits until the dribbler is in the corner (depicted by the dotted line) in order to spring the trap.

you sit back and wait for any of these opportunities: • To trap or double team your opposition in their back court. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . • Forcing a bad pass that one of your players can intercept and take in for an easy basket. In most cases. Most players are right-hand dominant. and his or her job is to force the opponent to either dribble or pass to one side or another. so the 2 man will have to be athletic enough to set the press every time. possibly creating a 10-second violation. This press stresses ball pressure right from the inbounding of the ball. or. It can be done at any time: after a score. out of bounds plays. They are also available for quick passes back up court if one of the opposition passes are intercepted at mid court. The Basic 1 – 2 – 1 – 1 Zone Press The purpose of any pressure defense is to disrupt the offense of your opposition. so that is the side they will go to. When you play a zone press. and 1 covers the pass back to the perimeter. 3 covers the center pass. 1 man This player should be your fastest player with the quickest hands. 4 covers the basket. and after a time out. If the press is broken. This will be a smaller player. the 2 man will be the more active player. this person is going to be far out of position on defense and they need to get back to the top of the key. because are going to be the ones that set your trap when the ball is pressured in one direction. They should be larger players on your team. • As a surprise for your opposition The 1-2-1-1 press provides a solid trapping defense that will give your opponent headaches in their backcourt. If done successfully. 2 and 3 man These players are likely going to be your forwards.The transition is simple: 2 and 5 execute the trap. because your opposition will try to take the ball towards their dominant side. it can create fantastic opportunities to score points off turnovers.

4 man The 4 man is the centerfielder. 5 man In the 1-2-1-1 press. This player needs to be the best rebounder and will likely be your biggest person on the court. it could leave a 2 or 3 on 1 for the 5 man to defend.The 3 man needs to be able to anticipate what is going on in the backcourt. This player needs to have great court sense so they can anticipate where the pass may go. or is it going to move up floor? This is the question the 3 man should be asking. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . If they get beaten. this player will be your shooting guard. They sit right at center court and they will cheat one way or another in order to stalk the opposition’s passes. the 5 man’s primary responsibility is to prevent easy baskets and to be the last line of defense. but they do have to be quick in order to cover the vast area in the center of the court. They don’t have to be overly large. Is the pass going to return to the inbounds player. In most cases. You will also want the 5 man to be aware of long passes to the corner.

• The responsibility of the 3 man is to prevent the pass back to the player that inbounds the ball. the 1 man will continue to influence the ball carrier to that side. then the above diagram is going to be mirrored. the 3 man should be there to cover that person. This is why the 2 man needs to be fairly quick and big. the 3 man should play defense in the passing lane instead of covering the man as they would in a man-to-man defense. Wherever this player goes. then the press is broken. If it goes to the 3 man’s side. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . In order to prevent the pass. If the dribbler gets the ball between the 2 man and the sidelines. The1 man sets the screen on the other side.The set up 1 2 3 4 5 Here’s how this full court press works: • Assuming the ball goes to the 2 man’s side. • The 2 man must set the screen near to the sidelines.

The 4 man needs to go where the pass goes. They need to be able to
anticipate where the player being trapped is going to pass, and then they
need to cover that passing lane. This is where you make or break the

The 5 man needs to sit back and follow the flow of the play. If the ball is
going left, then the 5 man goes left. If the ball goes right, then the 5 man
goes right. He or she just needs to remember that they need to cover the
long pass to the corner, and that they are the last line of defense for if the
press is broken. The 5 man cannot take any unnecessary risks to
intercept balls.

Things to remember with the 1-2-1-1

If the first player gets a pass over the head of the 1 man, then the four
man and the 3 man (in this diagram) can set a trap on the player that
receives the pass.
Don’t let anyone beat your players to the sidelines. This is a sure way to
have your trap broken every time.
If the press is broken, your players need to rush back to get into position to
play defense, or your 5 man will face a 2 or 3 on 1.

Man-to-Man Press
If you choose to run a man-to-man press, then you better have a quick and smart
team. Not only do they need to cover their checks closely, but they also need to
be able to anticipate and react to what is going on.
Not every team can run a man-to-man press, just like not every team can run a
man-to-man defense. But, there is a good chance that if you run a man-to-man
defense, you can run a man-to-man press.
In order to run a solid man-to-man press, you need to be able to do the following:

You need to be able to cover the passing lanes of the opposition players
while covering the actual player. It cannot be played like a zone press, but
you do have to protect an area rather than necessarily a player.

Everyone on the court needs to know what is going on. Part of the
success of this press is for the players to help each other in covering all of
the passing areas. You will see in the diagram how this works.
© 2006 All Rights Reserved

Try to force passes to players that are not strong ball handlers.

While you are preventing the pass to players that are covered, you need to
find a way to create pressure on the ball carrier. This is why getting the
ball into the hands of a poor ball handler is better for this press.

1 man
This player needs to be quick and aggressive. They will cover the inbound
person, or the quickest person on the court in order to keep them under control.
The 1 man should be your most aggressive defender and quick with their hands
in order to try and make steals on the ball.
2 and 3 man
The 2 and 3 men will cover the small forward and the shooting guard of the
opposition. They need to be aware of how they are playing their checks, and
they also need to be aware of guarding the passing lanes. While these players
need to play a good prevent defense, they also need to attack the passing lanes
if this press is going to be successful.
4 and 5 man
These players are going to cover the big men on the other side. One of the 4 or
5 men might need to cover the big man from the opposition if they other team
uses them to inbound the ball, or to receive the ball. This would force them to
play in the backcourt for a spell.
These players are likely going to be the biggest players on your team. They will
also need to be quick and they need to anticipate some of the passes that are
going to be made into their defensive zone. Each of these instances will be
described in the following diagram.

© 2006 All Rights Reserved

The set up






Here’s how this press works:

The 1 man will pressure the player who receives the ball on the inbounds
play. They need to be aggressive and they need to pressure the ball
handler into making a bad pass to one of their players.

The 2 man and 3 man will cover their respective checks, but as you can
see from the diagram, instead of covering the man like they would in a
© 2006 All Rights Reserved

they will be looking for the pass that goes over the head of the 2 man and the 3 man. Breaking a press can lead to easy baskets just as the application of the press can. Coaching pressure man-to-man defense when they are trying to force the press. I have a couple of basic ways to break a press so your team doesn’t get caught making the bad passes and giving up easy baskets to the opposition. Keys to running a successful man-to-man press • • • • You need to teach your players to be aware of what is going on around them. The players need to be able to switch between covering passing lanes on the press and playing the man when they are on defense. • The 4 and 5 man will have two responsibilities: first. Knowing how to break a press is as important as being able to apply the press.standard man-to-man defense. This forces the ball handler to toss a pass over the head of the 2 and 3 man. Your point guard most likely. Breaking the press With the knowledge of how to apply the press. Force the pass to players that are not strong ball handlers. Pass to the outsides and then back to the middle to spread the press out. accurate passes will usually beat a press A plan to break the press is effective Be prepared for the press – so it doesn’t come as a surprise to your players Keep the ball in the middle of the court with the dribble – this prevents traps. If you want to increase your chance of breaking the © 2006 All Rights Reserved . Here are some of the basic rules to breaking the press: • • • • Quick. you should be able to figure out how to break the press. But. they need to cover the passing lane of the men at the other end of the court. they will be covering the passing lane. 1 man This player is usually going to be the player who brings the ball up the court. This is a dangerous pass as you will see by what the 4 and 5 man have to do. Next.

The success of the press break relies a great deal on their ability to break the press and move the ball towards the basket. They are also going to be your outlets to move the ball quickly down the make sure this person is your best ball handler. Being able to dribble well out of tough situations is going to make breaking the press a lot easier. Since the object is quick passes. They need to find open spots along the sidelines to receive passes and then move up the court. 2 and 3 man These players are important in breaking the press. They may also be required to set quick screens to break a man-to-man press so the one man can dribble the ball up the court. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . The 2 and 3 man need to be alert and able to make the most of a difficult situations. you need to have your 4 and 5 men ready to break into the open area to receive the ball. The 1 man also needs to be able to make quick passes to get out of the press situation. 4 and 5 man These are going to be your larger players.

© 2006 All Rights Reserved .The set up 1 2 3 4 5 Here is one way this press break works: • The 1 man brings the ball in (inbounded from the 3 man) and dribbles up the middle of the court. • Once the 3 man sends the ball inbounds. he or she will loop around and cut through the center to get the quick pass from the 2 man. It is important to make a quick pass to the 2 man to avoid the trap that could be coming.

and then run their regular offense. If broken. they can slow the offense down and wait for the rest of their teammates to catch up. if time management is important. Other options for breaking the press In the diagram above. you almost automatically have an odd man rush down the court in your favor. Or. it should create a 3 on 2 in the offensive zone. the 2 man (or 3 man) can set a screen for: • • Either the 2 man (or 3 man) to create an opening for a pass Or. and break an effective press. • From here.• If executed quickly and correctly. the 1 man to create an open lane for him or her to dribble The 4 or 5 man can also come up to center court to create a numbers mismatch and an opening at center court. One intangible that you should understand is this: it is a tremendous psychological advantage for your team if you can both run and effective press. along with the 4 and 5 man can execute a quick 3 on 2 play for an easy basket. Once you can do both well. Breaking the press is as important as being able to set up a good press. This should lead to easy baskets. watch the effect it has on the other team. One of these players can also set a screen on the ball or off the ball to create an opening for a pass or a dribble. or 3 and 5 man) set a screen on the sideline for the 1 man. the 3 man. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . Another option for the press break is to dribble up the sideline and have the player (2 and 4 man. as it can quickly turn the tide of the game in your favor.

© 2006 All Rights Reserved .

if executed properly. everyone has to be on the same page. Keys to bringing the ball into play • Everyone needs to know what it going on. you might need to run an out of bounds play. to take advantage of the element of surprise if you are trying to get the ball into a certain players hands. In this guide. Likewise. When your players are being covered tightly. I am going to show you several different plays that you can run from out of bounds. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . or if the opposition is pressing you. along with those that get the ball to a key player on the court. you will simply be able to pass the ball in from the out of bounds area and then begin your offense. they should all help you get the same result – a valuable two points. then it can foil the entire attempt to successfully in bound the ball.A Quick Two Points – out of bounds plays You only have a few seconds left on the clock and you need a basket for the win. in most cases. a couple of quick passes and you have the two points you need. you could design an out of bounds play for every time you in bound the ball. You will see a combination of plays that can get you baskets. Whichever the case. If you are looking for a quick basket with only a couple of seconds left in the half or the game. • Quick and efficient – that’s how out of bounds plays need to be run. Out of bounds plays work especially well in the following situations: • • • • • Against tight man-to-man defense When the opposition is pressing you When you need a quick basket near the end of a half or the game (having a plan is always a good idea) If you want to disrupt the opposition defense To in bound the ball to a specific player to set the offense If you want. A great out of bounds play would work wonders here. you don’t have time to sit around with the ball looking for the picture perfect pass. A nifty screen. When to use out of bounds plays Most of the time. But. It sounds simple… but to execute out of bounds plays effectively. If one person doesn’t understand their assignment or responsibility. they are specialty plays that you will use in certain situations during the game.

you can probably design a few of your own during a time out or at half time once you see what the other team is throwing at you. As a coach. I have included a few of my favorite baseline out of bounds play in this section. so they are going to try to make it as difficult as possible for you to move the ball up the floor. You also may need to in bound the ball into the offensive court to try and score a quick basket of your own. and then we will get to a few of the sideline out of bounds plays later in the guide. After your opponents score a basket.We’ll look at both sideline and baseline plays in this guide! Baseline Out of Bounds Plays Baseline out of bounds plays are a great way to relieve the pressure defenses that you might face when the game gets tight. The following baseline plays are just a handful of the different plays that are out there. Box 4 – backcourt or frontcourt 5 3 4 1 © 2006 All Rights Reserved 2 . each play will start with a diagram then an explanation of how it works. and they are going to try to intercept your passes. they may need to score again right away. To get as many of the plays in as possible.

4 in the bucket – frontcourt or backcourt 1 3 5 4 2 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . This is a simple and quick play that you can run in the frontcourt or the backcourt – either to score an easy basket off an inbound pass. At the same time 4 comes up to screen for the 3 man. or to relieve pressure from a press. If in the frontcourt. or to the 3 man for an easy lay up. • In the frontcourt. the 2 man is going to be the safety to prevent any fast break opportunities. the 5 man can make a quick pass to the 1 man for a jumper.Here’s how the Box 4 works: • With the 5 man in-bounding the ball. If run in the backcourt. • The 3 man then uses the screen set by the 4 man to swoop underneath the hoop for the inbounds pass. the 2 man can be used as a secondary outlet pass once the ball is inbounded to the 3 man. • This play can be run in both the backcourt and the frontcourt. the 3 man located in the lower key area screens up to the 1 man.

Here’s how the 4 in the bucket works: • The 3. • The 2 man once again is the safety. the 4 man goes forward to set a screen for both the 3 and 5 men. • The 4 man then checks back outside the key to the corner. who cross in the key. and 5 men start off across the foul line. Key line 1 3 5 4 1 2 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . but it really is quite simple. 4. return pass to the 1 man and then set the offense This is a good play to run that will set up a good offensive scoring opportunity. It will also work well against a man-to-man press. or the 3-point option. Once the 1 man gives the indication to start the play.On a diagram this play might look a little complicated. • The 1 man will then pass the ball to the 4 man on the inbounds. and then the 4 man has several options: - Drive or take the jumper Pass to the 3 man Pass to the 5 man Bump it out to the 2 man and reset the offense (Defensively) Take the ball up the court or.

Misdirection 1 2 3 4 5 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . but it is difficult to work the ball down the court when you have all of your players so tight together. or to take the deep 3-point shot.This is a commonly used inbounds play against a tight zone defense. • The 3 man should pass to the 1 man (who will be open 9 times out of 10 against a zone defense). and is primarily used to get a quick shot in the offensive zone. but here’s how the Key line 1 out of bounds play works: • The 4 and 5 man screen inside the key to allow the 1 man to go in behind them to receive the pass. • The 1 man can also find either the 4 or 5 man on a roll after the screen for a close in shot. A variation of this play can also be used from the sideline. The diagram is selfexplanatory. This screen can be used in the backcourt. and the 1 man can then take a short jumper. • The 1 man could pass the ball to the 2 man to either reset the offense.

The 3 man comes straight down. just outside the key. or immediately after the 4 man receives the pass. In this particular diagram. The 2 man can also roll to the hoop for a pass on the inbounds. or to go to the 5 man at the 3-point line. This is the primary pass to make for the 1 man. 3 man pass back 3 1 4 5 2 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . This play has several options for the 1 man. the 2 man starts the play by turning to set a pick for the 3 man. • The 5 man goes out to the perimeter. Here’s how it works: • With all of the players lined up along the foul line. because it should just be a quick post move for an easy hoop. either to receive a pass. ready for a pass. or to act as the safety. the play is designed to open up the 4 man in the middle.There are a lot of different options that can be run out of this baseline play. • Once the 2 man sets the pick for the 3 man. • The 4 man cuts directly through the key. and then off to the right. the 3 man for a quick jumper. he or she should go to the top of they key in the middle of the foul line.

This is a great play to get your offense on track and to reset it at the top of the 3point arc. Here’s how it works: • The 1 man will cut out towards the 3-point line to receive a pass from the 3 man outside the court. It is easy to run. on the foul line extended.This play can either be used to break a full court press. Double screen 3 4 5 1 2 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . You can use this one either in the frontcourt or the backcourt. • The 3 man will cut back through the key to outside of the 3 point line. and only involves two passes. • The 4 and 5 man set a double screen to make sure the 3 man can make it through the key. The 1 man returns the pass to the 3 man to reset the offense. or it can be used to get an opportunity to set the offense in the front court. or to take a shot from 3-point range. • The 2 man rotates over to the corner opposite the 1 man.

• The 2 man will usually be open for the deep shot. Then the 4 man can roll from the pick to either rebound the shot from the 1 man or the 5 man. or to set up for an easy jump shot or play under the hoop. • The 1 man uses the screen and gets open for the pass from the 3 man. who is out of bounds. and then to hit the 5 man underneath the basket. Key line 2 1 2 3 4 5 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . Here is how the double screen inbounds play works: • The 5 man starts the play by providing a screen for the 1 man. Use this player as an outlet if the other players are in trouble or covered.This is a great play to use to either break the full court press. or he or she can wait until the 5 man gets to the hoop. or to catch a quick pass. who uses it to cut to the hoop. or to reset the offense. • Another alternative is for the 1 man to get the pass. • The 4 man comes up and sets a pick for the 5 man. • The 3 man can either pass immediately to the 1 man off the screen from the 5 man.

Aside from that. here’s how the Key line 2 works: • The 4 man starts this play by cutting to the opposite side of the key and to the hoop. or passing out to the 5 man on the perimeter if nothing is working. the 2 man has the option of: taking the shot from the perimeter. the 3 man will cut up the floor and get the pass from the 2 man. Instead of making a pass underneath the hoop (as you would in the front court). © 2006 All Rights Reserved . so the opportunity to swing the ball to the top for a quick hit pass to the 4 man underneath the hoop. passing quickly to the 3 man underneath the hoop. This baseline inbounds play is another of the variations of the key line that works in both the frontcourt and the backcourt. The 2 man moves out at the same time as the 3 man moves in. or to completely reset the offense. • The 1 man should loop around and get to the top of the 3-point line. • From here.This play works in any situation. although the variations will be different for the situation. • The 1 man passes to the 2 man on the outside.

Use fakes to get the defense to move one way or another before you pass the ball. Sideline plays are a little different that baseline plays in that they are primarily used to create scoring opportunities. Still. why not take advantage of the opportunity to run a new play that can help score a basket for your team. So. Set good screens and cut hard to the hoop. Here are a few keys to sideline play success: • • • Quick passes and move with a purpose.Sideline out of bounds plays Sideline plays happen after every time the ball goes out of bounds. That’s not exactly the way you want to finish the out of bounds play. your players all need to be working off the same playbook for any of these following plays to work. Double Screen Cut 4 3 5 1 2 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . Don’t make bad passes – it will likely end up in an odd man rush on defense. Now. rather than to help break a press or move the ball up the court. here are a few great sideline out of bounds plays that you can teach to your team.

and most effective plays to start with. the 3 man cuts to the hoop. • The 1 man can decide immediately to pass to the 2 man cutting through the middle of the key. • From here. Illinois out of bounds play 1 5 3 © 2006 All Rights Reserved 2 4 . The 5 man sets a screen for the 3 man coming across. The pass is made to the 1 man. or to wait for the 3 man to cut in off the screen from the 5 man. who drives toward the player inbounding the ball. This is one of the easiest. as does the 2 man.Here’s how this play works: • The 2 man sets a screen for the 1 man. • The 1 man can also shoot the ball if he or she has a good shot • The 1 man can drive the lane because the defensive players will be collapsing around the cutting players. The 4 man stays home and waits for the dish from either the 2 or 3 man.

ready to reset the offense on the perimeter. Zipper sideline play 2 3 4 5 1 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . while the 4 man (inbounder) will cut straight to the hoop off a screen from the 3 man. Here’s how it works: • The 5 man screens for the 1 man.Drive to the hoop .Stop and take a quick jump shot . he or she has a couple of options: . • The 1 man will try to hit the 4 man with a pass.This play is a little more intricate. • If the ball goes to the 4 man.Dish the ball to the 2 man breaking in on the hoop If all else fails. so he or she can move towards the ball. The 3 man runs down to the corner as a decoy looking for the pass. The 2 man swings around all of the players looking for the rare deep back door pass. the ball is in the hands of the 1 man. • The ball should be passed to the 1 man. but it can generate a great deal of points if your opponent doesn’t catch on. or he or she can pass it to the 2 man who should be cutting right toward the basket.

The pass from the 1 man (out of bounds) will go to the 2 man. the 2 man can pass to either the 3. but it is effective. • The 2 man will automatically look for either the 4 or 5 man posting up or rolling in off of the screen towards the hoop. Basic sideline out of bounds play 1 2 3 4 5 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . • Last resort is to pass the ball to the 1 man and run your regular offense. the 1 man will be swooping in from the other side of the court to create a triangle that favors one side of the court. especially if you are running against a man-to-man offense. Here’s how the zipper works: • The 4 man and the 5 man screen down for 2 and 3. • Meanwhile.This is another fairly basic play to run from the out of bounds. At this point. • The 3 man will come up to the perimeter to balance out the top and bottom areas. 4 or 5 man to complete the play.

The 4 man is a decoy to the hoop until later. then they can stop to take the shot. the 3 man loops around. or he or she can pass the ball back to the 1 man on the give and go. except breaking in different directions. The Carolina Out of Bounds play 1 3 2 4 5 © 2006 All Rights Reserved . It doesn’t really entail anything difficult. • The 1 man has three options for passes (in this order) 5 man. • Last resort is passing back to the 2 man. • If the 5 man or 3 man gets the ball. and then the offense can be reset. this is one of the basic out of bounds plays that you can teach your team. Here’s how it works: • The 2 man breaks straight to his or her left (don’t go across the half court line). the 5 man breaks at a 45 degree angle to the passer.As the name states. drive to the hoop. and the 4 man cuts straight to the hoop. or they can dump the ball to the 4 man underneath the hoop for the easy basket. and 2 man. 3 man.

The 3 man comes up to the top of the key to await the pass. • If all of those options are exhausted the 2 man can go down and screen for the 4 man. • The final option is for the 1 man to cut straight back towards the 5 man inbounding the ball. we get a little bit more intricate than the last one – mainly because there is a progression of reads on this play.For our final sideline inbounds play. who should come back up towards the ball. This is option number two for the 5 man. © 2006 All Rights Reserved . the 2 man loops back door and uses a screen set by the one man underneath the hoop. Here’s how it works: • The 2 man and 4 man double screen the defender on the 3 man. This is option number one for the 5 man (out of bounds) • Next.