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  1. 5 PLAYERS WITH FULL MOTORS – Pressing is a total team effort, often with individuals “working on a string”. It only takes one player to destroy the entire effort and execution of the press. Five people with complete effort is absolutely necessary.

  2. COMMUNICATION – As in all aspects of the game, communication is key in pressing as well. What press are we in? Who is on the ball? Who is in the interceptor spot? Are we talking at the end of the press and getting matched up? Generally quiet teams are soft teams, not gritty enough and tough enough to press.

  3. WEARING DOWN YOUR OPPONENT IS THE PRIMARY GOAL – True pressing teams understand that getting a steal each trip is not the goal. Making your opponent play faster than they want to, take quick shots and create a tempo they are not comfortable with will definitely show as the game progresses in the second half.

  4. MENTAL TOUGHNESS IS VITAL – Pressing teams understand that shots will be made by the opponent, some easier than we would like but unfortunately that is part of the process. Putting your head down and becoming discouraged when these things happen will surely destroy your press.

  5. NEVER LEAVE THE MIDDLE -  In most presses the one area where you never want your opponent to catch the ball is in the middle of the floor. It is near impossible to trap and you do not have the sideline as an additional defender. Never be in such a rush to trap that you leave the man in the middle open. All press breakers will most likely have someone there.

  6. UNDERSTAND THE RULES OF TRAPPING – Leave a trap with urgency, approach a trap with caution. Always sprint out of a trap when the ball is released but when approaching the next trap at times you have to slow down so you and your teammate can close it together. The most common way a trap gets beat is when one player arrives too early which allows the ball handler to take off on the dribble. Sometimes you just have to be patient!

  7. MOVE ON THE PASS – Pressing teams understand that you must move quickly on the pass when the ball is in the air, not on the catch. Make it a goal to beat the ball to it’s destination, not always realistic but a great mindset to develop with your players.

  8. WHEN TO STEAL THE BALL – Never try to steal the ball in the trap, steal the ball away from the trap. As a trapper your job is to set up your teammates for steals, so often trying to steal the ball in a trap results in a foul which just bails the offensive player out of an extremely difficult situation.

  9. GUARD THE HOLE – In many ways the most important man in your press is your back man or player guarding the rim. Never leave the hole on a gamble unless you are absolutely sure, lay ups and dunks totally break a pressing team’s spirit. Your job in the hole: Block the shot, take a charge or force them to shoot a jump shot

  10. DEFEND MISMATCHES – Often times the back end of the press results in different mismatches as you just need to pick up an open man. Be ready to switch back at an opportune time and be prepared to help the guard stuck on a post or the post defending a quick guard. Work on these situations in practice.

  11. REBOUND – The press is not a complete stop until you secure the rebound on a quick shot. Another trait that will devastate your mindset is to be successful forcing a quick shot and then allowing them to rebound the miss. Rebound and get out on the break!

True pressing teams take pride in playing up tempo and enjoy the ride of ups and downs. It must be worked on daily in practice and become a part of your culture and the way you play. Pressing teams generally go a bit deeper into the bench which keeps more players involved. Good Luck!

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