December 28, 2001, Newsletter Issue #38: BREAK ANY PRESS

Tip of the Week

Emphasize press break rules over a press break offense. Get the ball in quickly! Drill your kids to pull the ball out of the net and fire it inbounds before the defense can set up. Don`t run any other drills that result in scores where they are not required to inbound the ball. On your 3-on-2, 2-on-1 drills, have them inbound the ball after made baskets. On every shell drill, have the defense inbound the ball after every score. The dividends are huge.
Stretch the defense. It doesn`t matter whether you start out of a stack, run four across, send guys to the midcourt corners -- just get that floor spread.
Discourage the dribble -- particularly the speed dribble -- against a zone press. Do as much as you can off the pass. Any dribbling should be controlled dribbling, head up, reading the floor.
Make sure your receivers come to the ball! They should attack each reception with the same intensity that the defense does. This cannot be overemphasized. Have them jump to the ball and pivot in the air, so that they are facing the front court when they land. This gives them much more latitude to attack the defense.
Use V-cuts to get open and ball fakes to avoid telegraphing the pass (Don Meyer’s idea of “fake a pass to make a pass”). Have your cutters move in straight lines, either toward the ball or toward your basket. Wide arcs and side-to-side cuts favor the defense.
Instruct your players to post up in the open floor, then cut to the ball to get open. Most kids have a tendency to avoid the defenders, thinking that this is the solution to getting open. However, bodying up to the defender and then cutting toward the ball will obviously preclude the defender from beating the receiver to the pass.
Keep the ball in the middle of the floor as much as possible -- and away from the trapping zones.
If you use your dribble, don`t lose your dribble! Once your players start to dribble, make sure they keep it alive if at all possible.
Don`t panic. 10 seconds is a long time to get the ball across half court.
Once you cross half-court, don`t make careless mistakes. The press is broken. If you`ve got an advantage, make the defense pay by scoring a lay-up. If not, slow things down. We run a pressing defense, and we get most of our turnovers *after* our press has been beaten. It just amazes me...
When facing a man-to-man press, you should clear the backcourt and let your point guard bring the ball up one on one. That`s obviously sound advice. But we sometimes like to invite the trap by having our 2 or 3 man linger in the backcourt with the point, staying 10 or 15 feet ahead of him. As soon as the forward defender jumps to trap, the point kicks the ball to his teammate, who pushes it up the floor 4 on 3 against the remaining defenders.
Incorporate these principles into your pressbreak and pretty soon teams will stop pressing you because of your success against it.
From our article:
--Ernie Wallgreen

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