Below is a [tag]basketball tactics[/tag] question from one of my newsletter readers.  Read on to learn some fundamental strategies for breaking a man to man or zone based [tag]full court press[/tag].
From: Matthew *******
To: Coach Pat Anderson
Subject: Re: point guard question

Hi Pat,

I know you are super busy, but I was wondering if you had any ideas to help me.  I am fairly new to the coaching scene and am having trouble with my 8th grade team.  Started off losing some close games and have gotten blow out the last few (mainly due to playing better teams).

I have 3 kids that can play pretty well (a shooting guard, power forward and small forward).  My power forward and shooting guard have been hurt – so I have been trying to get extra shots for my shooting guard running him off picks etc.  However, I don’t have a point guard who can hold on to the ball if pressured, so I can rarely get it to the shooting guard because they turn it over.

I have put the shooting guard at point guard, but they send 2 to 3 guys at him because they know he has no help.  Have not been able to break the press (have been using your ultimate press breaker from the video I purchased).  I know it works when they run it properly, but do you have any other suggestions for even just getting the ball up the court with minimal pressure (not having to use my shooting guard to bring up the ball).  Have big men come up the floor to set a pick for him right away, etc.  Any ideas will help.

THanks for your time.


Coach Pat’s Response

Hi Matt,
If it’s a man to man press, the best thing you can do is clear your other 4 players the heck outta there.

Allow your best ball handler to go one on one against his defender.  This will clear space for him to maneuver and will make it much harder for them to double-team and trap him.

If it’s a zone, the real key is getting the ball into the middle of the floor.  Get your most competent ballhandling forward, and start him at the far end of the court.  When the ball is entered to your guard, have him sprint to the middle of the court and receive the ball.

Don’t let your big players “hide” from the ball.  They are essential to help you break the zone press.

Coach Pat