Handling the Press in Basketball

Handling The Press

Trying to break a full-court press can be very frustrating. So many games are lost because a team is unable to break a press. I’ve seen a number of teams panic when opponent sets up the press. Here are  things you can do as an individual and a team to gain confidence to break a press.

  • You need to be able to handle the basketball. Working on your individual dribbling skills (during the off season) is crucial in breaking the press. You have to be able to feel comfortable dribbling the basketball with either hand and with your head up, so you can see who to pass it to or where to dribble.
  • The best way to break a press is to pass the ball instead of trying to dribble through your opponent. . It’s very important to always have one teammate behind the dribbler to act as a “safety net”.  The dribbler passes to this person if he/she cannot pass the ball up the court, or if he/she picks up his/her dribble.
  • Don’t commit yourself into the trap. So many times young athletes dribble the ball right into the trap and quit dribbling. At this point, it is very difficult to get the ball to your teammates without traveling or throwing the ball away. Keep your head up and throw the ball to your teammate before you get into the trap. If no one is open up the court, you always have one person behind you (about 20 feet away), who you can throw the ball to.
  • Patience. Don’t panic when you see the trap. Remember the tips stated above and execute them. It’s also so important that your team practice breaking the trap in practice. This way you feel comfortable in knowing where your teammates will be.
  • If you are trying to help your teammate who is dribbling the ball, be sure to cut to the ball quickly, having your hands up, letting them know you are open and can receive the basketball.

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