There are three key requirements in successfully utilizing full court pressure in a basketball game.
Conditioning - A basketball team will fall apart if they attempt to apply full court pressure without being in top physical shape. Being aggressive and playing in controlled chaos is part of full court pressure. The moment one defensive player gets tired is the same moment full court pressure will fall apart. Basketball coaches must also have faith in his bench players to be prepared to come into the game and maintain the same pressure.
Understanding Rotations - When a basketball team is playing full court defense with traps, all five players must be prepared to make fast rotations, and be thinking multiple passes ahead. An offensive player being trapped will always have one teammate who is not being defended. A defense must be prepared to rotate to the open man, and the person who will most likely be receiving the next pass. If the wrong rotation is made, the press will breakdown and the defense will be forced to hustle back and attempt to make a half court defensive stop.
Ending a Press - Knowing when a team's press has broken down is just as important as both conditioning and understanding rotations. As soon as a team recognizes that their full court pressure is breaking down, or the offensive team has an advantage, the team must get back into half court defense as quickly and efficiently as possible. The defensive team will almost surely be at a disadvantage if a press breaks down. A defensive team that is in exceptional shape, and understands proper defensive rotations may be able to recover from the broken press, and attempt to make a half court defensive stop.
Players looking to utlilize the full court trap should be aware what trapping is and why it is often successful.
Trapping refers to double teaming a player to force them into making a quick and often sloppy decision. It is effective when the defense traps players in certain spots, such as at the half court line or on the baseline. Trapping is effective when players are blocked in the one direction they can legally move with the ball. The only move a player will have in an effective trap is a sloppy pass that could cause a turnover.
Applying pressure defense successfully is very difficult. In fact, full court pressure defense is rarely played in the NBA. But at the college level and below, if a coach is able to implement full court pressure defense during the course of a game, the team applying pressure has a great advantage.
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