Drills For Building Your Press by Chris Filios

Drills For Building Your Press

Written by Coach Peterman

I have coached at the NCAA Division 2 (Southwestern Oklahoma State University), NAIA (USAO), and JUCO Levels (Blinn College and Carl Albert State College) as well as high school. I just felt that fellow coaches especially young coaches need to constantly work on their “game”. Just like the basketball players that we coach. We as coaches need to improve ourselves. That is my story and why I do this blog.

May 7, 2020

Why press? 

A good press can:

  • It’s fun and exciting style to play
  • Dictate tempo
  • Create turnovers
  • Create steals that lead to easy baskets 
  • Physically and mentally wear your opponent down 
  • Get into the opponent’s bench
  • Allow you to play more players in your rotation
  • Neutralize an opponent with slower, more traditional “bigs”
  • Great for conditioning
  • Can help a team come from behind or break open a game

Click here to download the drills for the Pressure Defense


Before choosing what style of press you want to run, you must first decide if an uptempo, fast-paced, and a more chaotic style of play is right for your team? If you are going to press, you have to be ALL IN! 

There are a couple of types of full-court presses to choose from:

  1. Man-to-man press
  2. Zone press- Diamond, 2-2-1, 1-2-1-1, 1-2-2, etc. 

But which style do you choose to run?


  • Do you want to play fast or slow? Man to man presses and 1-2-1-1 Diamond press tend to be used at a faster pace forcing the opponent to speed up with the goal of forcing turnovers and quick shots. Whereas the 2-2-1 and 1-2-2 presses are used to slow down their opponent and use up the clock. 
  • What are the strengths/weaknesses of your roster? Do you have depth? Do you have good athletes? Do you have a rim protector? If you don’t have players that can get up and down the floor or have a rim protector, then running a conservative press may be the right way to go. 


The press “MUSTS”- without these you cannot be successful:

  1. Must be dedicated to doing it! You are either in or out. No middle ground. Everyone needs to have a plan to pressure late in the game, but if you want to be a “pressing team,” it needs to be 94’ for 40 minutes. That is your identity. No great pressing team has ever been anything less. 
  2. This is the #1 non-negotiable for players in the press: YOU MUST SPRINT BACK! This is not a skill. This is a choice. It is a choice that must be made every time. The press will be broken. Players must sprint back. Without this, your opponent will have easy opportunity after easy opportunity and you will lose. 
  3. It must be practiced. 

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