basketball clinic

Vance Walberg Full Court Pressure Defensive System by Aaron Blatch

Vance Walberg Full Court Pressure Defensive System

Vance Walberg has gained national attention for creating the Dribble Drive Attack Offense. However, the current Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach takes more pride in his full court system of pressure defense. The following are notes from Walberg’s “Full Court Pressure Defensive System” DVD.

– “Pressure, pressure, pressure” – always have pressure on the ball
– Vance Walberg presses out of a 2-2-1 alignment, but the concepts can be applied to any press.
– He divides the court into four quarters. From the volleyball lines to the sidelines are the outside quarters. From the middle of the lane to the volleyball lines are the inside quarters.

– Rule: If the ball is in an outside quarter, all five defenders should be on that half of the court. Do not leave gaps for the offense.
– Rule: If the ball is in an inside quarter, all five defenders should be in an inside quarter.

– The defense begins when the offense makes an attack dribble.  Vance Walberg wants the handler to have to dribble hard, rather than take one dribble and pass.
– Each player in the press has a name and role: controller, gapper, taker, reader, teaser

– Controller Responsibilities:
o The controller is the player guarding the ball. He is the only defender who only guards one player.
o Primary responsibility is not letting the ball handler see the floor. This avoids straight line passes.
o The controller’s next job is making the ball handler dribble.  Vance Walberg is not as concerned which direction the ball is dribbled.
o Controller wants to force the handler to turn at least once in the back court. Two turns is a great job.

– Gapper Responsibilities:
o The gapper is the player one pass away from the ball. His primary job is not to get “gapped.” He cannot let the ball handler split he and the controller.
o The gapper will always become a trapper. On a middle drive, the gapper traps the dribble. Vance Walberg usually jump switches the pass out of a middle drive.
o On a sideline drive, the gapper chases behind the ball to trap.

– Middle Dribble:

– In the above diagram, X1 is the controller and X2 is the gapper. On the middle drive, the gapper sprints to trap the ball. On a pass to 2, X1 would jump switch to the ball.

– Sideline Dribble:
– In the above diagram, 1 dribbles up the sideline. X1 wants to make him turn, and X2 sprints behind to trap.

– Taker Responsibilities:
o The taker is the defender in the middle who is on the same side as the controller.
o His primary job is to take the sideline pass away. Play on the high side of the receiver.
o Don’t come up to trap. The taker coming to trap with the controller and the gapper creates a “Terrible 3” situation. Vance Walberg never wants three on the ball.

– Reader Responsibilities:
o The reader is the middle defender on the opposite side of the ball.
o He “reads” the floor and should be active looking for steals/deflections.
o The reader must understand when he cannot rotate to get a pass.
o If the reader sees that the controller gets beaten badly, he can come up to stop the ball and the gapper sprints back.

– In the above diagram, X4 is the reader. He realizes that X1 has been beaten badly, so he stops the ball. The gapper (X2) must sprint back.

– Teaser Responsibilities:
o The teaser is the deep player in the 2-2-1. This is usually your post player.
o His main job is to tease the inbounder into throwing a full court pass. Vance Walberg wants him to cheat up. An athletic player can cheat nearly to half court.
o The teaser should not have his shoulders square to the ball. He must see the deepest offensive player and be ready to sprint.
o The teaser always takes the long opposite pass.

– Don’t be a “hugger” or “sniffer”:

o “Hugger” – too close to your man off the ball
o “Sniffer” – gets beaten and stays behind rather than sprinting to get a punch out

– “Good players will move on the pass. Great players will move on the pivot and sprint on the pass.” On every pivot, all help defenders should move.
– Zones of the floor: Pressure Zone, Cushion Zone, Umbrella Zone

– Terrible 3 Situations:

o Three defenders on the ball
o Three defenders behind the ball
o Vance Walberg never wants either

– Vertical traps:
o If the ball is caught in the Cushion Zone, the on-ball defender plays the “cat and mouse game.” The trailing defender on the same side sets a vertical trap.

– “Phasing”:
o When your man cuts out of your area, don’t go with him. This would create a gap.

– Vs. 1-Guard Front:
o If offense tries to break press with one guard, deny his catch.

– Vs. 2-Guard Front:
o The goal vs. a 2-guard front is to force a corner catch. The weak side defender will take the in bounder on a pass to the strong side corner.

– Vs. 3-Guard Front:
o The goal vs. a 3-guard front is to keep the ball out of the middle.
o Allow the pass furthest away from the in bounder.

– Vs. 4-Guard Front:
o Vs. a 4-guard front, the taker and reader will come up. The teaser will come up further as well.

– On dead ball situations, they will match the offensive set man-to-man.
– Read the inbounder’s eyes.
– “If you can get to your quarters, you solve 99% of your problems.”
– “Find a way to win when you don’t shoot well.”

Coach Aaron Blatch is entering his 9th season as assistant coach at his alma mater, Southern Local High School in Salineville, OH. Coach Blatch has coached junior high and junior varsity teams, and runs the school’s K-6 program. During his tenure, the Indians have achieved the three best seasons in school history, and his youth program has allowed players to develop their skills throughout the year beginning in kindergarten.

vance walberg

Follow Coach Aaron Blatch on Twitter!!!

Click on the pdf link to download the basketball coaching article:

Vance Walberg Full Court Pressure Defensive System by Aaron Blatch

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top