Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Press breaks

Using a 1-3-1 alignment, four attackers rotate around one attacker who stays in the middle of the press offence.
1) 5 middle
3) 4 middle

Dave Odom (Press attack) - once in the middle, always in the middle, on the line of the ball and the basket.

See Don Meyer Press O (4 corners), Press breaks - Hoop Tactics, Old Dominion Trap "O".

For a 2-1-2 alignment, see Michael Lynch, 2-1-2.

1) 5 in the middle

5 is at halfcourt, 2 and 3 are on the sidelines.4 inbounds to 1 and trails the ball to provide a third short passing option, 3 goes deep for a long passing option opposite the ball, 2 stays or optionally goes up the sideline, creating space for 1 to attack on the dribble or pass over the top (shown).

Dave Odom - 2 has to break the line of the defence at halfcourt.

Don Kelbick - 1 should have the following options,
- break on the dribble (up the sideline, going away from pressure from the bottom, and seeing pressure from the top)
- long over the top (to 2, eliminate pressure coming from upcourt)
- middle (to 5, who looks opposite to 3 to create numbers)
- long opposite (to 3)
- ball reversal, an enemy of fullcourt pressure.

Michael Lynch - 2 is up the sideline. In the regular alignment, 3 stays in the backcourt so we have a player to swing the ball to.

A pass to 5 in the middle is an attacking pass, his first look is opposite to 3.

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

Lynch - 5 steps forward to meet a pass, in the backcourt.

Heath Millar - get your best player in the middle of the press. One metre either side of half is a "no flash" zone, don't catch the ball on or near the halfcourt line. In the backcourt don't pass the ball across the split line.

Breakthrough Basketball - once you get the ball in the middle, the press will be beaten 99% of the time.

If the ball is reversed to 4, 3 comes back to the ball, 2 goes deep middle.

2 becomes the sideline option on a pass to 3, 1 is the long option.

2 goes sideline to sideline in the 1-3-1 set.

Lynch - 2 stays on the other side of the floor.

If 4 dribbles towards the sideline, 3 moves up the sideline to keep spacing, 2 moves opposite the ball, 1 comes behind the ball as safety, creating a 2-1-2 set (Ian MacKinnon - except if 4 is big enough to throw over defenders).

Dave Odom - 4 takes it on the dribble if he is a good dribbler.

Blaine Taylor - 3 swivels up the sideline, 1 swivels behind 4, 2 goes to the other side.

John Brady (LSU Set) - 4 takes two dribbles upcourt towards the sideline, 1 slides behind the ball (always have someone behind the ball).

Brian Barone - 4 can pass back to 1 who swivels up the right sideline, 4 fills behind.up

2) Denials

1 cuts across the foul line if overplayed, gets a pass if open.

Lynch - 1 face cuts to the opposite side of the floor, or posts up his defender.

Run the press break on the other side of the floor, 3 will change sides on ball reversal.

Options if 1 is not open on the cut.


2 flashes back on the sideline.

On an inbounds pass to 2, 3 replaces 2 and 1 replaces 3, run the system from there.

For a 2-1-2 set, 4 would replace 1.

Ashbury fullcourt - 5 replaces 2, 3 cuts middle.

Arizona - 5 goes long, 1 cuts middle.

Bill Self 1-3-1, Giorgis regular - 5 replaces 2, 1 cuts middle.

Brian Giorgis - 1 slashes middle, this is the action he likes, a point guard with the ball in the middle of the floor.

2 goes long if denied, 5 breaks to the ball.

1 cuts up the middle on a pass to 5, who can make a return pass to 4.


1 cuts, 5 flashes for a pass, 1 slices up the middle.

Variation - 5 breaks to the ball before 1's cut (Hoop Tactics).

If 5 isn't open, 1 cuts up the middle looking for a pass over the top, 2 and 3 flash back on the sidelines (opening up the slice cut by 1).

See Utah (Flyer), Hackenberg 2-up (Go).

On an inbounds pass to 2, 1 replaces 2 on the sideline, 5 stays in the middle, into the 1-3-1 alignment, 1 would change sides on ball reversal.

See Hoop Tactics.up

3) 4 in the middle

Against a press that does not trap on the inbounds pass (e.g., a 2-2-1), 4 can inbounds then sprint to the centre circle and bump 5 deep.

See Ashbury halfcourt, Duke vs 2-2-1, Old Dominion trap "O", Arizona, 5star, Hofstra.

Blaine Taylor - against a 2-2-1, centre the ball, take away help, but attack the sides first. The attacking set is like using a 1-3-1 against a 2-3 halfcourt zone.

Dave Odom - against a 2-2-1, you must take the ball to the level of the defence.

Jay Wright - in a press breaker, 4 and 5 can never be too far away from the ball, get them up the court, it's better to be too spaced then to be too crowded.

Then the pattern is the same.

Swivel action.up

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2007-24 Eric Johannsen