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Basketball Transition/Press Defense - Trapping with a Trailer Defender

by Coach Joao Costa
From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @ http://www.coachesclipboard.net
This article has been generously shared with the Coach's Clipboard by Coach Joao Costa (JC) who played professional basketball in Europe. He subsequently moved to the United States to expand his knowledge of the game and train to be a basketball coach, and now lives in Seattle, Washington. Coach JC started his coaching career in the United States and coached in the Seattle area before going on the road to develop his coaching techniques.

Coach JC has participated in practices and observed the coaching techniques of some of the best NCAA Coaches in the country: Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Coach Roy Williams, Coach Eddie Sutton, Coach Hubie Brown, Coach Tom Newell, Coach Bob Bender... just to name a few. Coach JC has been coaching in USA for several years, ABA, WBA, ProAm as well as internationally, and has conducted coaches clinics and basketball camps around the World. He has been a featured guest speaker on both the national and international level. Visit Coach JC's web-site.

Coach Joao Costa
Coach Costa with Coach K





Trapping with a Trailer Defender

Call "BT" = means Big Man Trap

This defense is an example of a three-quarter court trap, and can be used as a surprise tactic to create turn-overs. The best way to trap the opposing team with the trailer defender is after a made field goal, a made free throw, or a dead-ball situation.

Transition Defense After Field Goal.


  • Diagram A. Player X3 shoots the ball.
  • Player 05 quickly gets the ball and looks to inbound to 01 the point guard.
  • Players X2, X3 and X4 sprint release down the court to protect the basket and prevent any quick breaks, and then match-up with O2, O3 and O4.
  • X1 quickly locates O1, the opponent's primary ball-handler.
  • X5 locates the inbounder to pressure the inbounds pass.

Trapping press defense  Trapping press defense

Sideline Push.


  • Diagram B shows the continuation from the previous diagram.
  • Player X1 prevents the inbound pass to ball handler 01. If O1 gets the pass, X1 then pushes O1 to the sideline.
  • Player X5 pressures the pass from the inbounder 05.
  • Notice that X2, X3 and X4 match up and deny the pass to their man.

Trapping With the Trailer Defender.


  • Diagram C shows the continuation from the previous diagram.
  • Trailer defender X5 traps 01 with X1.
  • Player X2 assumes a pass denial against 02.
  • Player X3 gets level with the ball to stop a pass to the middle to 04 or 03.
  • Player X4 is the goal-tender, or safety.
  • Note: Players X2 and X3 are cutting off the passing lanes, anticipating, looking to steal the ball, and they are interceptors.
  • Player X4 is guarding the basket to prevent lay-ups and easy baskets, also is the high or low goaltender.
  • Between X4 and X5, either of them can be the trap trailer defender.

Trapping press defense Trapping press defense

Reverse the Ball.


  • Diagram D shows the continuation from the previous diagram.
  • If player 01 reverses the ball to 05, X5 closes-out to 05 and pressures the ball. O5 is usually a big man who is not comfortable handling the ball in the back-court.
  • Player X1 stays with 01, and denies the pass back to O1. We want to make O5 handle the ball instead of O1.
  • Players X2 and X3 assume pass denial against 02 and 03.
  • Player X4 stays with 04.
  • Note: If player 04 flashes to the top of the key to get the pass from 05, X4 will deny him/her the ball.

Half Court Trap With the Trailer Defender.


  • Diagram E. This is an example of half-court trap with the trailer defender X5.
  • Player X1 forces O1 to either sideline.
  • Player X5 traps 01 with X1.
  • Players X2 and X3 assume pass denial against 02 and 03.
  • Player X4 is the deep goal-tender, or safety.
  • Note: If player 01 reverses the ball to 05, only X5 comes out of the trap to defend 05, while everyone else denies the ball.

Trapping press defense





Helpful DVDs:


Coach Donovan teaches the matchup press

Billy Donovan: Mastering the Full-Court Match-Up Press
with Billy Donovan, Head Coach Oklahoma City Thunder, former University of Florida Head Coach.

Price: $39.99
Buy Now


Simplified Run and Jump Press

Simplified Run & Jump Press
with Forrest Larson, Lake Geneva Badger HS varsity coach.

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

Price: $39.99
Buy Now


Coach Williams teaches the press.

Gary Williams: The Complete Guide to Full-Court Pressure Defense
with Gary Williams, former University of Maryland Head Coach.

Price: $39.99
Buy Now



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