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The 2-2-1 full court zone press and its multiple stunts.

The 2-2-1 press is more of a passive type of full-court zone press than its complementary press, the 1-2-1-1 full-court, which was explained in the Feb. 2006 issue.


It is more of a cautious and conservative press that attempts to lure the opposing ballhandler to dribble down the sideline before setting the trap.

The trap can be set to either side of the time line, with both locations having their own advantages and disadvantages.

The first digit of the defensive call indicates the full-court defense, while the second digit selects the half-court defense. By designating the 1-2-1-1 full-court zone press the "1 Press," the 2-2-1 zone press the "2 Press," the 2-1-2 full-court press the "3 Press," the full-court Run and Jump as the "4 Press," and the full-court man-to-man press the "5 Press," a team can use multiple full-court pressure defenses with a simple numbering/naming system. "5" is the name for the half-court man-to-man defense, with "1" as the half court 1-2-2 zone, "2" as the half-court 2-3 zone defense, and "3" as the 1-3-1 half-court zone defense. The integration of the specific defensive numbers will complete the defensive numbering system for any team that chooses to have a full-court defense that will ultimately fall back into any other half-court defense.

For example, a coach who wishes to utilize the 2-2-1 full-court press (the # 2) and then fall back into a 1-3-1 half-court zone (the # 3) can do so with a simple and easy call--"23."

If the coaching staff would like to switch to a 2-1-2 full-court press before ending up in a half-court 1-2-2 zone, they can do it by calling out "31."

The basic terminology, the slides and rotations, the needed techniques, the names of all the pressing positions in the three zone press defenses are all very comparable in the same overall press defensive system. For that reason, all three can be utilized by the same team without confusion and doubt by players and coaching staffs alike.



Having comparable characteristics gives the individual defenders extra repetitions for honing and improving the skills needed for one specific zone press while working on another.

The "2 Press" gives the defensive team excellent opportunities to change the amount and location of the pressure placed on the opposition. The placement of certain players in specific locations for their employment of various defensive stunts can confuse the offensive plan of attack and possibly maximize the individual defender's strengths and hide his weaknesses.

Since most teams are right-handed, we call the right side (on which the opposition takes the ball out of bounds) the "tight side" of the court, which makes the other side the "wide side."

Unlike the "1 Press," the "2 Press" does not operate any differently on either side of the court. This reversing of the tight and wide sides of the court does not actually affect the "2 Press," only the "1 Press." See Diag. 1.

The names of the five defensive positions and the general placement of defensive personnel to maximize the effectiveness of the "2 Press" are described below.

Under the assumption that the "1 Press" is also used, players in the "2 Press" are placed in locations either similar to the "1 Press" or whose responsibilities are very close.



This simplifies the skills and techniques of each press so that most of the pressing defenders can become somewhat specialized in their learning of both zone presses.

Whenever the team's offense scores, there is an immediate defensive transition into its "2 Press" by all five defenders. The two designated wings set up immediately near the elbow areas, so that they both can fan the dribbler down their particular sideline.

The "Tight Wing" (TW3) influences anyone with the ball on his side of the court, while the "Wide Wing" (WW2) also allows nothing but ball-handlers down his particular sideline.

The "Tight Trapper" (TT4) positions himself near the 10-second timeline and close to his sideline, as does the "Wide Trapper" (WT5), on the "wide side" of the court.

The "Safety" (S1) should have retreated back to defend his/her basket when the actual shot was taken. When the shot is made, S1 should already be in an ideal defensive location (near the back side of the center jump circle) to back up the "2 Press" as the last line of defense between the ball and his/her team's defensive basket. See Diag. 1.

The normal placement of the two "wings" of the "2 Press" is halfway behind and halfway on the inside of the first offensive player in their respective areas as well as the "ball-you-man (in your area) flat triangle" of the two designated "trappers." There is no particular call made for the positioning of the defenders in the "2 Press" in this situation.


The actual positioning of the two "wings" in the "2 Press" can vary, depending upon how much denial pressure is desired. Diag. 2 illustrates what could be called the "2 Front," which you have when both wings (TW3 and WW2) swing completely around to face-guard and deny the inbounded pass.

They look for an errant lob pass, a five-second call, or some other turnover produced by the defensive alignment that could be called intermittently to surprise and confuse the opposition's offense.

The two trappers (TT4 and WT5) will cheat up slightly to form longer "ball-you-man" (in your area) flat triangles to help discourage the lob pass to the potential receivers.

Once the ball has been successfully inbounded, the general "2 Press" and its rules, responsibilities and assignments are back into effect. See Diag. 2.

Once the ball has been inbounded, two basic defensive stunts can become the main components of the "2 Press." The "Out" stunt dictates that the original ball-defender (either TW3 or WW2) pressures the ballhandler by "fanning" (out) the ball down his specific sideline and looks for a trap with his teammate on the same side of the floor, who is rotating up from the time line.

TW3 uses a technique described as "fanning" the dribbler trying to speed up the ballhandler into dribbling down the sideline in an out-of-control manner. The ball-side "trapper" (TT4) uses a technique called "bluff and retreat" and eventually comes up to trap the ballhandler (with WW3).

The phrase "bluff and retreat" means that the potential trapper (TT4 in this case) "bluffs" (fakes his potential trap by rushing up) and then "retreating"--dropping back to stay on the pass receiver in his sideline area. See Diag. 3. The techniques of the two actual trappers are as follows:

* "No (side)lines (for the "trapper") and no splits (for the "wing").

* If the ball escapes out of the trap via a dribble or a pass, both defenders (TW3 and TT4 in this particular situation) sprint out of the trap and try to get to the new "ball-level" as quickly as possible. They should try to beat the ball to its intended location.

* If the dribbler kills his dribble, both trappers (TW3 and TT4 in this instance) should "trace the ball" with arms outstretched in a "cross-face" position (to force high and soft lob passes).

* They should maintain pressure without letting the passer off the hook with cheap and simple fouls.

As the ball is advancing down the sideline, the off-the-ball "wing" (WW2 in this case) drops quickly to ball level into the middle of the press offense to deny any penetrating passes to that area, as the ball-defender speeds up and influences the dribbler down the sideline. (See Diag. 3.)

The "2 Press's" "Safety" (S1) rotates over to "shoot the gap" between the dribbler and the potential pass receiver (left open by the "Tight Trapper's (TT4) rotation up to trap the dribbler with TW3 near the time line and sideline). S1's diagonal rotation is started just as the vertical rotation (by TT4) to trap the ballhandler takes place.


On the backside of the "2 Press," the "Wide Trapper" (WT5) rotates diagonally back to become the new basket protector (and take the "Safety's original assignment).

If and when the opposition has successfully beaten the trap and the ball has advanced into the frontcourt, all five defenders must instantly retreat as one into the designated half court defense.

The second defensive stunt in the "2 Press's" repertoire is the orchestrated five-man movement called "In." This stunt (shown in Diag. 4) is an excellent complement to the "Out" stunt of the "2 Press" and when used in conjunction with the first stunt, can confuse and devastate the opposition's offense.

The major difference in the "In" stunt is that the original ball defender (whether it is TW3 or WW2) still pressures the dribbler and initially forces the ball down the sideline before sprinting ahead of the dribbler at the sideline and turning the dribbler toward the middle of the court.

The ballside backline defender (TT4 in this situation) still utilizes his "bluff and retreat" action, but must stay (and only retreat) to deny the vertical pass down the sideline. This causes S5 to remain as the basket goalie and protect his team's basket.

The weakside mid-court defender (WT5 in this scenario) rotates diagonally deeper to protect the heart of the "2 Press" as well as look to "shoot the gap" for the horizontal escape pass across the court.

The off-the-ball wing (WW2) is the new designated trapper of the dribbler and he traps the dribbler near the sideline with TW3 (Diag. 4.) Both trappers still utilize the same trapping techniques mentioned above:

* "No (side)lines (for the "TW3") and no splits (for the "WW2").

* If the ball escapes out of the trap via a dribble or a pass, both defenders (TW3 and WW2) sprint out of the trap and try to get to the new "ball-level," regardless of how deep the dribbler takes the ball.

* If the dribbler kills his dribble, both trappers (TW3 and WW2) should "trace the ball" with their arms outstretched in a cross-face position to encourage lob passes that are easier to intercept or to react to where they land.

* The trappers should surround the ball with maximum pressure without committing fouls.

The third defensive stunt that can be incorporated within the "2 Press" scheme is a stunt similar to the one within the "1 Press" package called "Match." (See Diag. 5).

Some offenses utilize alignments that do not allow them to be forced into speed dribbling down the sideline by constantly passing the ball back to a "safety valve" receiver, who remains far behind the level of the ball and in the center of the court.

The "2 Press Match" stunt can be a very effective counter-measure. After a pre-designated number of "reversal passes" are made away from the opposing basket, all the defenders must immediately rotate to find the nearest opponent to match up with and then guard in a man-to-man defensive scheme until the half-court defense is needed.

Every safe ball reversal made farther away from its offensive basket incurs the 10-second time limit that forces the offense to advance the ball into the frontcourt. When the "Match" stunt is finally executed, it will not only surprise the opposition but also make it very difficult to pass the ball down the court. See Diag. 5.

The "2 Press" can be an effective way to create havoc to the opposition's offense as well as control the overall tempo of the game.

With the utilization of these three simple stunts, the "2 Press" can remain a simple form of defensive attack that appears to be very complicated and unpredictable to the opposition.

If the "2 Press" is utilized in conjunction with the "1 Press," the defense will become a multi-headed attack monster that can control the tempo of the game, create easy baskets, and prevent the opponent from flowing into its half court offense.

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:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Previous Article:The 4-Out One-In Continuity.
Next Article:From the weight room to the classroom.

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