As a coach that promotes pressure defense, it is just as important to prepare for being pressured. Late in games, it is essential that your players are ready for all-out pressure when you are ahead. I know that there are a whole videos and books on breaking presses and traps but I've always felt that it is the skillset within your players that will determine whether they will beat the pressure or succumb to it. I believe that you can scheme and align all you want, but if your players aren't comfortable playing with someone attacking and in their face, no scheme will save them from making bad decisions.

Ball Pressure:

When being doubled or smothered by one defender, common sense says to pivot away, protect the ball, and wait for your teammates to help out. I've always believe the opposite is what you want to do. Be strong with the ball, while holding the ball strong either under your chin or just above your head and pivot into to face-up your defender(s). See your teammates in front of you. Use pass fakes to divert the attention of your defenders then make the pass in between the gaps (under your defenders arm, or with a bounce pass). Obviously you'll need to drill this, but it will help your players be more confident and play against pressure.

The Overplay:

When playing against an aggressive overplay, the natural counter is the backdoor cut, L-cut or V-cut. These are all great techniques and I believe in them. But another way that is quite effective to combat the overplay is a simple post-seal. It's just a walk in the direction of the defender, then a quick pivot and step through to establish position. The pass can then be a bounce pass to a target hand or open space. In some cases, this is a safer pass to a wing player if your wing is physically bigger than his/her check.

The Full Court Press:

I usually only have a few short rules and use very basic formations for the press break.

- I like to have P2 as the inbounder as opposed to a P4 or P5 you see in some systems because P2 is usually a guard and better passer.
- I keep as many players up the floor as possible so as to spread the defense and force them to cover us the entire floor.
- P1 does a simple v-cut to the ball. P1 always pivots and faces the defense first before making a move. This is important, because too many times players start dribbling and don't even see where they are going dribbling right into the trap.
- P2 will always stay behind P1 and act as the safety in case P1 is trapped.
- Against the zone press, be strong with the ball and use pass fakes. Be patient and find the open man (there is always an open man). Once the press is beaten, it is to our team's advantage with numbers.

It goes without saying that your P1 and P2 must be confident ball handlers. That is why I also like having P2 as the safety, because once the reversal happens, P2 should be good enough to attack as well. Now if they take away the safety, then I usually have someone (P5) come up to center and anyone can hit P5 who can pivot, get across half and then find the wings to start the break.

I like P3 and P4 to run along the sideline doing v-cuts to start the fast break once they get the ball.

There are some great press-break videos and some are alignment and scheme based, but I really like Bruce Weber's DVD on press break fundamentals. It teaches your players to be aggressive against the press and to always think attack.

Go over the Coaching Basketball Forum to discuss.