Our freshman team played our first tournament over the weekend, and we actually did quite well considering we were playing teams one grade above us. The lone game we lost, our players did not trap well. Their guards were able to dribble right through our traps and had numbers all the way. I picked this play from the VCU/Maryland game I watched earlier today mainly to illustrate the same point. If you are a pressure team like VCU or a Seton Hall, you must make sure your players set good traps and are sliding properly to cut off penetration. Though VCU would win the game, in this particular play, Maryland goes right through the press and creates a numbers advantage. Watch the video and read my thoughts below,

Bad Traps are the Best Press Offense:

Not to be-labor the point, but allowing dribble drive right through the middle is a killer for the press. By doing so, you've just given the offense the best press offense possible to score off of.

While in some cases, it could be a result of bad technique, in this case, it's just laziness or failure to act quickly. X1 starts in a good position, guiding the dribbler to where the trapper is coming. Except, X1 does not actually move quickly enough to cut off the penetration, force the dribbler to pick up the dribble and double-team.

The second defender, X2, does not commit early enough to cut off O1 either. This allows O1 to cut right between the defenders and start the fast break. Though Maryland doesn't score, they clearly should of with the numbers advantage.

I realize also that this play happened late in the game, and that fatigue could've been a factor. Which brings up a good point. When you play pressure defense and get up and down the floor all game, you should be prepared to have enough depth on the bench to accomodate. In other words, you'll need to use more players and expand your rotation to 10 or more.

If you want to learn more about trapping defenses, take a look at Jeff Lebo's DVD on half-court trapping techniques and doubling down. Coach Lebo is head coach at Auburn and provides a ton of great info on trapping and doubling. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.