Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Press breaks


Their philosophy is to use the fewest players possible in breaking a fullcourt press.

The quickest way to keep a team from pressuring you is to get a couple of easy baskets. If you don't have the personnel to attack to score, get the ball safely out of pressure so you can execute halfcourt offence.

You need to know what the defence is trying to achieve - if it's a turnover-based defence, simply not turning it over will frustrate them; if they are trying to increase tempo, then methodically break pressure with the pass.

To give your team confidence in the press break, have the first team go against the second team. Also go 5 on 7 to put priority on crisp ball movement, cuts, and meeting passes.

a) 1-Up

This is great if your point guard can't be denied, clear out and space the other players in the frontcourt so you can quickly attack the basket or flow into halfcourt offence. 4 gets to the middle on a "J" hook-cut to be used as a screener or release pass. They also teach 1 to post up for the inbounds pass.

See Press break - Duke vs 1-2-1-1.

Pressure release - they allow 1 to work for three seconds before going to pressure release, 3 breaks back (a tough cut to defend), 1 is fronted (or the ball would have been inbounded to him), holds until 3 gets the inbounds pass, then sprints to the diagonal, there's no way X1 can catch him.

See Press break - Versoix, Hoop Tactics.

b) 2-Up

1 screens for 2 who reads the defence and cuts to the corner and 1 rolls to the basket (red option), or 2 cuts to the basket and 1 comes back to the ball (green option, shown).

This works well against switching defences, and is used anytime they need to inbound the ball safely to get fouled or run clock.

See Press break - Bill Self 1-3-1.

Pressure release - if 1 and 2 are fronted, 3 breaks hard to the ball, 1 and 2 hold until the catch, then they are off to the races.

See Press breaks - Hofstra, Old Dominion regular, Canada Basketball, Falcon, also Double middle, Atkins regular, Dave Odom.
Canada Basketball Technical Manual - the first look is ballside 1 followed by helpside 2, the last is a player cutting back hard through the middle. Against tremendous pressure it is much better to go to pressure-release 3, this can result in better opportunities when the ball is in the middle of the floor. On a pass to 3, 1 and 2 go hard up the wings and 4 trails, 3's options are middle to 5, sideline to 1 or 2, or take on and dribble middle. For a fast press-break, go vertical by going over top of the pressure, 5 cuts back for a second vertical pass. For a controlled press-break, 1 goes hard then cuts back for a hand-off from 3, who then runs wide.

c) 2-Up Big

Another 2-up look brings 5 back to help break pressure, as a lot of teams are reluctant to bring their big away from the basket.

1 cuts off the screen, 5 comes right back to the ball and is usually wide-open if X5 helps on the cut.

1 can get open every time by running nose-to-nose with 5 and making the proper read.

See Press breaks - Arizona, Hubie Brown.

Pressure release - 5 re-screens for 1, very difficult to guard twice.

d) 3-Up

The oldest trick in the book, it's hard to guard.

2 screens for 1, 3 screens for 2 then steps to the ball.

Pressure release - designate 2 or 3 to break long after they screen, often 3 is wide open.
See Press breaks - Atkins Clemson.

e) 4-Across

Great if there is a defender on the inbounder and they are trapping the first pass.

2 over the top is the first look, they're probably going to hit 1 (make sure he doesn't run to the dead corner).

See Press breaks - 4-across, Atkins Louisville invert.

3 flashes to the ball for a pass, 4 and 1 run wide.

Bill Self - on a pass to the middle, the trailer runs wide opposite, the passer becomes the new trailer.

If needed, 2 can flash to the ball, look to attack with 5 at the rim and 4 and 1 wide.

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-15 Eric Johannsen