The 1-2-1-1 fullcourt press should
- deny the inbounds pass
- trap if the inbounds pass is made
- defend on a pass back to the inbounder
- trap on a reverse to the other side
- trap again on a pass up the sideline
- trap again on a pass to the defensive corner
- sprint back when the press is beaten (a pass to the middle over the front-line defenders)
As shown below, options out of the 54 fullcourt press are:
- deny or direct the inbounds pass
- trap on the pass (blitz) or on a dribble (fist)
- pressure the in bounder or double team a receiver (Shortstop)
Point defender X1 pressures/directs the inbounds pass, forces the dribble sideline, traps with wing defenders X2 or X3 in the frontcourt, and protects the middle as a "floater".
Centre X4 prevents a pass over the front line, and sideline traps in the midcourt area with a wing defender.
Safety X5 is a sideline interceptor in the backcourt, and traps with a wing in the defensive corners.
Wing defenders trap with the point defender, the centre, and the safety. The weak side wing protects the middle, and becomes the safety as needed.
To deny the inbounds pass, defenders must match up with attackers. If the attacking team brings five players back, the safety moves into the frontcourt and guards the player on the side opposite the ball. If the inbounds pass can't be denied, it should be influenced to either corner - prevent a pass to the middle. Once the ball is inbounded, the safety looks to retreat to her position in the backcourt.
Full inbounds denial disguises the zone press, works best if your team is athletic, and may be needed to catch up quickly late in a game.
If the inbounds pass is not denied, it should be made in front of a wing defender, who stands back far enough to prevent a pass behind her.
Once the ball is passed into the corner, the wing defender approaches the ball handler quickly but under control, using good defensive fundamentals, and protecting the sideline against the dribble.
She must pressure and contain the ball handler until the second defender arrives. The defenders have time on their side.
Here point defender X1 directs the inbounds pass to the defensive left, and immediately (but under control) traps the ball with the wing defender. Weak side wing X2 protects the middle as a "floater", reading the passer to anticipate a pass. Centre X4 moves to stay on the same vertical line as the ball. Defenders who are not trapping get into the gaps between the ball handler and her teammates to deny and intercept passes.
The point defender could instead deny the pass back to the in bounder, then trap with the wing defender only after the ball handler puts the ball on the floor to start her dribble (when a double team is more effective). Trapping after the ball handler starts her dribble is called "fist"; trapping on the pass to her is "fingers" (or blitz trapping).
If the attackers make the pass back to the in bounder, the point defender forces the ball handler towards the other sideline and into a trap with the wing defender on that side. Wing defenders always prevent the ball handler from dribbling up the sideline.
If more than two defenders trap the ball, too many attackers are left open.
If the attackers reverse the ball to the other side, X1 and X2 set a trap, X3 protects the middle, and X4 vertically parallels the movement of the ball.
To defend a team that has one strong guard, point defender X1 and wing defender X3 can double-team deny an inbounds pass to that player ("Shortstop"), rather than pressuring the in bounder.
Once the inbounds pass is made to a different attacker, the point defender moves to initiate a trap with other wing defender X2, while X3 denies a pass back to the strong guard.
The 1-2-1-1 zone will trap on a dribble or a perimeter pass (a back, lateral, or sideline pass). Here a second sideline trap is made, by the wing and centre defenders (centre defender X4 prevents the sideline dribble). X1 moves to a floater position in the frontcourt, X5 rotates to become a sideline interceptor on a pass to the attacker in the defensive corner, and weak side wing X2 rotates to become the safety.
Any time the ball gets past the centre on the sideline, she should sprint recover to the ball side post area.
A coaching option is a "one and done" trap - sprint back into the half court defense if the attackers pass out of the trap, or if the defenders are unable to get in position to set the trap.
Here the wing and centre defenders trap in their backcourt. X1 moves into the backcourt as an interceptor, since the attackers cannot pass back over centre.
X5 and wing defender X3 set a trap on a pass to the defensive corner. Centre X4 sprints down to the post area, point defender X1 is at the ball side elbow, and weak side wing X2 is the safety in the lane.
The defense can fall back into a man to man or zone defense after the 1-2-1-1 full court zone press, e.g., the 51 or 51 Tough 2-3 zone.
Submitted by: Eric Johannsen
Category: Defense press