Basketball Offense - Selecting Your Press Offense(s)

By James Gels, from the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @ http://www.coachesclipboard.net

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Key Components of Transition and Press Offense

All of these basketball press offenses are on the CD, and much more!

Press Offense

Press offense is part of the larger topic "Transition Offense". Also, see "Attacking the Full-Court Press", which discusses important principles common to attacking any press defense.

Your team must have an offense(s) for countering a defensive full-court, 3/4-court, or half-court press. Without a plan, your team will become confused, frustrated, will panic, turn the ball over, and allow the opponent easy transition lay-ups. On the other hand, if your players stay calm and have confidence in your plan of attack, you can burn the press and get easy lay-ups of your own. We actually like it when teams press us, and look at it as an opportunity to get a 2-on-1 situation and a lay-up (or free-throws). But you must have a plan and practice it... be prepared.

Good scouting helps... if you know in advance what type of press your opponent uses, you can prepare for it. During the game, you or your assistant(s) should focus on the press set-up... are they man-to-man (or match-up), or are they is a set zone pattern? Is the press full-court, 3/4 or 1/2 court? Do they deny, allow or trap the first pass? Do they force sideline or to the middle? These are all things that will help you as the coach to make proper offensive adjustments. Remember that after the first pass or first dribble-attack, most press defenses are very much the same, and if you can attack one, you can have success against any press defense.

There are three catgories of presses based on the area of the court being pressured... full-court, 3/4-court and half-court presses. Have a plan to counter each type of press.

Specific Press Offenses
80-60-40 Press-Breakers... this has everything you need. "80" - for full-court presses. "60" - for 3/4-court presses. "40" - for half-court presses. Also see "Teaching Basketball by Progression".
Simple Press-Breaker... this is a simplified version of the "80" press break above.
Flood Press Breaker... used by Coach Bob Hurley vs the 1-2-1-1 press.
Attacking the Full-Court Man-to-Man Press... from Coach Joao Costa... attacking man-to-man and match-up press defenses.
4-Across Press-Breaker... the 4-across press-break is a favorite of many coaches.
3-Up Press-Breaker... another effective press break.
1-2-1-1 Diamond Press-Breaker... another way of attacking the full-court 1-2-1-1 press.
2-2-1 Press-Breaker... another way of attacking the 3/4-court 2-2-1 press.
Specific Half-Court Press-Breakers... several half-court press breakers are discussed, but to keep things simple, all you really need is the "40" press-breaker above.

Secondary Breaks

In addition to having a press offense(s), if you like to run and get easy baskets in transition, then you should have a secondary break for getting the ball up the floor quickly after a made basket or rebound. Below are three that you can choose from. I might suggest that if you like the 80-60-40 press-breakers described above, then the secondary numbered break would probably be your best choice, since your players run the same routes in both the numbered break and the press offenses, and this makes it easy to learn both.

Secondary Breaks
Secondary Numbered Break... five numbered options and works well with the "80" and "60" press-breaks.
Secondary Break... this is a another secondary break that we have used, and it works well with a lot of options.
Coach Sar's Secondary Break... Coach Ken Sartini used this break with his high-school teams in the Chicago area.
3-Up Secondary Break... a secondary break with a Princeton-style look.

In summary, be prepared for pressure, trapping defenses anywhere on the court. Spend some time developing your press offense and secondary break. This will pay dividends in fewer turnovers against pressure and you will get some easy lay-ups.



Helpful DVDs:


Bruce Weber: Drills for Breaking Full-and Half-Court Presses

Bruce Weber: Drills for Breaking Full-and Half-Court Presses
By Bruce Weber, University of Illinois Head Coach; 2005 NCAA Runner-Up. In this DVD, Coach Weber assembles the pieces that make up a successful press attack; it must be simple, provide continuity and be consistent. Features of this presentation include Press Attack by Fast Break, which requires a quick inbounds pass to the point guard up the floor. Nine drills are shown... (more info)

Price: $39.99
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Secrets of the North Carolina Secondary Break

Secrets of the North Carolina Secondary Break
By Roy Williams, University of North Carolina Head Coach, 2005 National Champions, 4X Time National "Coach of the Year," Winningest Active Coach in College Basketball. After 17 years as a head coach, Roy Williams unveils the secrets to the North Carolina Secondary Break! It all started with legendary coach Dean Smith at North Carolina and was "passed down" to Coach Williams... (more info)

Price: $39.99
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Roy Williams: Tar Heel Offense & Transition Drills

Roy Williams: Tar Heel Offense & Transition Drills
with Roy Williams, University of North Carolina Head Coach; 2009 and 2005 NCAA Champions.
  • Explore the secrets of the Tar Heel offense with four-time National Coach of the Year, Roy Williams
  • Get easy baskets using this tournament-tested transition offense.
  • Discover drills to improve your primary and secondary breaks.
  • This offensive system guided North Carolina to 90.2 points per game in 2009.
Many of Roy Williams' current beliefs were developed in his early days of coaching high school basketball in North Carolina. This basketball DVD will illustrate the "Tar Heel Running Game" with the use of players in an impressive on-court demonstration. This style relies on running the floor and sharing the ball with teammates. Advantages of this style are that the running game negates the defense's ability to get set, which leads to many easy baskets. Coach Williams covers his three offensive rules against a set defense... (more info)

Price: $39.99
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Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball - Breaking the Press

Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball - Breaking the Press
with Mike Krzyzewski "Coach K", Duke University Head Men's Basketball Coach; NABC "Coach of the Decade," 12X NABC "Coach of the Year," Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2001), 3X NCAA National Championships ('91, '92,'01).

  • Learn how to break any press on your basketball team from the National Association of Basketball Coaches Coach of the Decade, Mike Krzyzewski
  • Basketball drills for beating any press
  • Numerous tips and insights to all your team to enter the offense quicker and create scoring opportunities without generating turnovers
More and more teams are using half-court, three-quarter court and full-court zone presses to disrupt their opponents' continuity and produce turnovers. With this in mind, Coach K takes the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium to share his effective press break drills and his revered coaching philosophy. (Examples: … "players need to acquire the basic skill of catching the ball by meeting the pass" … "most teams need to cut down on the dribbling … use passing to advance the ball quicker!"). Coach Krzyzewski guides you through a series of effective drills used to break the 2-1-2 half-court press, 1-3-1 half-court press, 2-2-1 three-quarter court press and the 1-2-1-1 full-court press... (more info)

Price: $44.99
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Tom Izzo: The Numbered Fastbreak

Tom Izzo: The Numbered Fastbreak
with Tom Izzo, Michigan State University Head Coach; 2000 NCAA Champs, 3X National "Coach of the Year".
  • Learn the numbered fast break from three-time National Coach of the Year, Tom Izzo
  • Tactics for having a successful fast break
  • Two- and three-man drills are first step in building a productive fast break
Coach Tom Izzo believes in scoring quickly by pushing the ball up the floor. The numbered break puts each player in a position to score. Izzo stresses that this fastbreak limits turnover and confusion by players. Two- and three-man drills are the first step in building a productive fast break. These drills can serve as a warm-up and are good for conditioning. Other drills... (more info)

Price: $39.99
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Billy Donovan: The Unstoppable Transition Game

Billy Donovan: The Unstoppable Transition Game
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.
Coach Donovan shares concepts for winning transition basketball that are usable at any level of basketball! The basis for his offensive philosophy is imbedded in fundamental skill and player mentality. Donovan demonstrates the drills that helped turn his inexperienced team into a "teamwork machine." Practice drills are the Two-Man Sideline drill, Three-Man Sideline drill and Five Cycles drill. A popular peer pressure drill is the "Laker Fastbreak" drill, where the ball is not allowed to touch the floor. The Gator transition game is based on concepts instead of patterns, which offers many obstacles for the defense.... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD -  Video Store!