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Basketball Transition/Press Defense - Trapping with a Trailer Defender

by Coach Joao Costa
From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @
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, 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
Buy Now

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

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