A large portion of the success of our system depends upon our full-court man-to-man pressure. The way we play our defense is reliant on these following principles. Some of these may not apply to the way you implement your press, but these are areas in which I feel are of great importance to ours.
1. Transition quickly - We cannot allow opponents to get in their comfort zone by taking a "break" after a made basket or an opponent's defensive rebound. Must be able to switch gears in an instant!
2. Force the 1st pass low - Whether it is an inbound pass after a made basket or an outlet pass, the first pass must not be an attacking pass toward the opponent's basket. The lower they catch, the more work they have to do to score.
3. Tremendous on ball pressure - Vision must be taken away. If they see the floor, they'll pick you apart. Must make the ball handler so uncomfortable that they turn away eliminating court vision.
4. Force it to a side - This allows us to utilize our help defense. Use the sideline as an added defender.
5. Deny 1st pass up the side - This is an attacking pass plus it is the "easiest" to see for a ball handler. We can get deflections and steals from this.
6. Deny the 1st attacking pass middle - Up middle is extremely dangerous and leads to a numbers advantage for the offense. It is the soft spot of most presses, we want to make it the hardest spot!
7. Sprint to rotations - If the reversal pass is made (I consider this a non-attacking pass away from the opponent's basket), players must sprint!
8. Sprint ahead of the ball - On ball defenders that get beat off the dribble cannot be content to run hip-to-hip with the ball handler.
9. Excellent communication - In previous posts, I talked about how to teach communication. This week I put a tremendous amount of responsibility on the deepest player to communicate; especially in rotations.
10. REBOUND - If the offense happens to break our press and take a quick contested shot, nothing breaks down morale more than an offensive rebound.
These are only a small list of things that are critical to our success on the defensive side of the ball. The idea is that advancing passes are attacking passes and therefore it stands to reason that we want to discourage them from occurring. Retreating passes will force the offense to cover more ground and burn more time off the shot clock giving them less time to run their half-court offense.