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Full court man-to-man press and multiple stunts part IV, The "50".

The "50" in "50 Press" does not signify a half-court defense, but that it is a full-court press with everyone playing man-to-man defense.

The defensive package can be considered somewhat unique, with as many as four different alignments and three stunts that could be utilized in any of them.


Diags. 1-2: The first defensive alignment is called "Smother" since it has every defender playing his man in somewhat of a pressure stance. The defender on the opposing Trigger (X4) plays him aggressively with his hands up to discourage quick long throws, while still harassing all in-bounds passes.



The defenders (X1 and X2) guarding the front-line players in Diag. 1, and defenders X1, X3 and X2 in Diag. 2 defend in denial 3/4 fronting stances. The other backline defenders (X3 and X5) assume normal half-court positioning and stances by lining up in pistols stances in the traditional ball-you-man flat triangles.

The farther their man is from the Trigger, the farther they are from "their man," but still very aware of the long throw to their man.

Diags. 3 and 4 illustrate the second "50" alignment called "Float." It requires all defenders on the front line to be one pass away from the opposition's Trigger (X2 and X1 in Diag. 3 and X1, X2, X3, and X4 in Diag. 4) to be in a complete face-guard and fronting positioning.



The defender normally guarding the Trigger (X5 in both diagrams) serves as a helpside defender in discouraging lob passes to any of the front line offensive pass receivers.

All defenders on the second line (X4 in Diag. 3) play in the so-called normal "50 Smother" stances and locations.

Diags. 5 and 6 delineate another defensive alignment that is an even more aggressive and denial initial phase of the "50 Press."



Called the "Safety" alignment, it has all four off-the-ball defenders -X1, X2, X3, and X5 in Diag. 5 and X1, X2, X5, and X3 in Diag. 6--playing in full denial stances and positions when assigned to the Trigger. X4 plays as the lone helpside defender to help discourage lob passes and run-outs by any of the four potential pass receivers, and to protect the basket behind him.

Diags. 7-8. In particular situations, especially late in any time period; this specific defensive alignment/stunt initiates a form of prevent defense. All defenders must always provide a two to three-foot safety "cushion" between their man and the basket.



Each defender must remain far enough away from their man as to be able to apply a good deal of pressure on a potential shooter or on a passer (who has killed his dribble) but is far enough away not to be beaten on dribble penetration or to pick up an unnecessary foul.

Diags. 9-10. This second defensive stunt can evolve from any of the previous defensive alignments only after the initial inbounded pass.



The defender pressuring the opposition's Trigger (X4 in Diag. 9 and X5 in Diag. 10) should instantly double-team that first inbounded pass receiver and look for a quick turnover of any kind.

If the opposition escapes the trap, the defender must immediately sprint out of it and search for his initial offensive responsibility (the Trigger). After this pass, all five defenders should basically play in the same manner, using the same basic full-court press man-to-man principles that are applied with all of the various "50 Press" alignments and stunts.

Diag. 11 illustrates some of the techniques that can be used with any of the defensive alignments except the "50 Soft." They are defensive techniques used whenever the offense looks to screen for a player before coming back to the ball (if the defensive team switches on the screen).


The simplest defensive technique is for the defender on the screener (X2) to deny him from screening his/her teammate (X1) and thereby make every defender stay on their original opponent, while negating the actual screen.

Diag. 12 shows another offensive method for attacking full-court denial press alignments--offensive stacks.


The defenders guarding the stack (X1, X2, and X3) initially align themselves to take whomever breaks in their direction. X1 will take 2, X3 will stay with 3, and 2 will pick up 1. The second line defender (X4) will play in the safety or float position to defend either lob passes or run-outs.

All of these alignments and stunts within the framework of the entire defensive package can turn the "50 Press" into a multiple pronged aggressive attack that can make the defense more unpredictable and more difficult to prepare against.

The effort and energy required to counter the defensive team's whole "50 Press" attack will greatly outweigh the defensive team's time and effort in utilizing it.

It is usually assumed that any team that presses full-court man-to-man will remain in the man defense at the half-court level. It must be noted that a defensive team does not have to remain in the man-to-man, but can also have a smooth and quick transition into various other defenses such as a 2-3 zone or other zone.

The "50 Press" should be integrated with various full-court zone presses such as the 1-2-1-1 zone press, the 2-2-1 full court zone press, or the 2-1-2 zone press.

When the "50 Press" package is just a portion of the defensive team's overall defensive scheme, it becomes an even more unpredictable and difficult obstacle for the opposition.

The "50 Press" has its own strengths, weaknesses, character, and identity and can very well complement other full court defenses.

By John Kimble, Former Coach, Crestview (FL) High School
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Title Annotation:BASKETBALL
Author:Kimble, John
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:May 1, 2006
Previous Article:Leading from home.
Next Article:Defense in the "coming out" zone.

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