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HomeBasketball Press DefenseMatch-Up Full-Court Press - Simplified Version

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Basketball Defense - Match-Up Full-Court Press - Simplified Version

By James Gels, from the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @
For a more detailed match-up press system, see "Match-up Press Defenses". This is a similar, but simpler match-up press that might work better for younger teams, or teams that have limited practice time.

This press attempts to force up the sideline and trap near half-court, or intercept the pass.


Diagram A.  The offense has one guard up. X4 puts pressure on the inbounder and denies the center pass, forcing it to the corner. X5 does not let the defense get the ball in the middle, but forces to the side. Once the ball is passed into the corner, X5 will attack and try to keep the ball on the sideline. As the dribbler moves up the sideline, X1 and X5 set the sideline trap. Meanwhile, once X3 sees the ball going up the sideline, he/she should move to that side also, looking for the interception. While this is happening, the opposite guard X2 must sprint back to prevent the lay-up.

Here is a key issue… after the inbounds pass is made, X4 must move quickly above the ball (at all times), and should be able to deny the pass to the middle, while X3 denies the pass up the sideline, and X2 is back to prevent the lay-up.

Match-up press - 1-up and 2-up Match-up press - 1-up and 2-up


Diagram B.  The offense has two guards up. Here we move X2 up to the free-throw line also… and again we deny the pass to the middle and force it to the corner. All the same rules apply as in Diagram A. X4 must get above the ball and deny the center pass. X2 still must prevent the lay-up and will have to sprint a longer distance.


Diagram C.   Use this against the 4-across press breaker. X1, X2 and X5 are up while X3 prevents the lay-up. Play man-to-man. Keep the pass out of the middle. If the pass goes to the corner, X4 could try to trap this immediately.

Match-up press, 4-up and deny option Match-up press, 4-up and deny option


Diagram D.  Here we are going for the quick inbounds steal, or the 5-seconds call. This time X4 plays off the inbounder and picks up the remaining player. All four players (X1, X5, X2 and X4) play in the passing lane, between the ball and their man (see diagram), completely denying the inbounds pass. Don't worry about getting beat on the long pass since we have X3 back to prevent the long pass and lay-up. For this to work, we must set up very quickly (oftentimes best after a time-out or dead-ball situation). Every defender must work hard to deny the pass. If one person slacks off, it fails.

Next, see "Match-up Press Drills" to learn how to teach the match-up press.

Helpful DVDs:

Coach Donovan teaches the matchup press

Billy Donovan: Mastering the Full-Court Match-Up Press
with Billy Donovan, University of Florida Head Coach; 2007 & 2006 NCAA Champions, 2000 NCAA Runner-up; One of only two people ever to serve as head coach, assistant coach, and player in a Final Four
This defense has been the cornerstone of one of the most successful coaches and programs in the country. Coach Donovan walks you through his 2-2-1 full-court man press with stunting, and the 1-2-1-1 pressure defense. Using on-court demonstration and game film Donovan details each player's responsibilities, when and how to trap, and transitional coverage once the press has been broken. Included are basic coverages for all press breaks and breakdown drills... (more info)

Price: $39.99
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Simplified Run and Jump Press

Simplified Run & Jump Press
with Forrest Larson, Lake Geneva Badger HS varsity coach
Coach Forrest Larson teaches the run and jump press with 10 drills that make the defense easy to teach. The basis of the run and jump is traping the ball down the sideline and jump-switching in the middle. Coach Larson emphasizes the teamwork involved in executing this man-to-man press. The defense is taught with drill work for the different methods of defending and attacking the inbounds pass to the techniques, strategies, and rules used to defend the ball all the way down the floor. The defense will force your opponent to play at an uncomfortable tempo... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

Coach Gonzalez teaches the matchup press.

The White/Black Full-Court Match-Up Press Defense
with Bobby Gonzalez, Seton Hall University Head Coach; former Manhattan College Head Coach
Coach Gonzalez teaches how to force turnovers, confuse and fatigue the defense, and how to create and capitalize on scoring opportunities using a relentless full-court man press. Using markerboard presentation and extensive practice and game footage, Gonzalez details the match-up principles, alignments, and trap options for the White press (run out of a 1-2-1-1 set) and the Black press which emphasizes all out ball denial. Gonzalez discusses how to use the White and Black presses to speed up the offense, get them off-balance, and force non-ball-handlers to bring the ball up the court. He also covers... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

Coach Williams teaches the press.

Gary Williams: The Complete Guide to Full-Court Pressure Defense
with Gary Williams, University of Maryland Head Coach, 2002 NCAA Champions, Seven "Sweet Sixteen" appearances

"Full court pressure is the ultimate weapon in basketball." - Gary Williams

A game-tested, baseline-to-baseline method for trapping and applying pressure defensively! Coach Williams gives you an insider's look into one of the most potent and aggressive full-court defensive systems. A large part of Williams' success has come from his aggressive and intense style of play, which includes the full court pressure defense... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

Coach Calhoun teaches the 2-2-1 press

Jim Calhoun: The 2-2-1 Press
with Jim Calhoun, 2004 and 1999 NCAA Championship Coach
Coach Jim Calhoun outlines the pressure defense which has led the Huskies to national prominence and an NCAA Championship! Unlike most pressure defenses, Calhoun's 2-2-1 focuses on pressuring the ball down the sideline in the back court, reserving traps until the ball has passed half court. Demonstrations include... (more info)

Price: $39.99
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Teaching the 2-2-1 press at the high school level

2-2-1 Press for High School Basketball
with Kevin Sutton, Montverde Academy Men's Basketball Head Coach, NIKE Skill Academy Instructor
Coach Sutton's concept of defense is to force turnovers and create offense on the other end. The "55" is a 2-1-2 full court zone press and is a defensive cornerstone in this program. While doing this the opponent will become fatigued, leading to more success. Defensive principles are important and include: Ball pressure, containing the dribble, force the ball into trap areas and up the sidelines. Sutton's scramble/recovery mode is based on closet man/closest ball. The first press illustrated by Sutton is the 2-2-1 zone press. The first line of defense... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

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