12 Tips for Handling Full Court Pressure


An opponent’s full court press can open many easy scoring opportunities, if the offense is prepared and has patience.  Pressing defenses should not be looked at as “pressure”; but rather, as an “opportunity” to score quickly and easily.  Follow these 12 tips and you can more easily handle full court pressure.  

12 Tips for Handling Full Court Pressure

Note:  I passed this list out to my teams and then reviewed the concepts quite often.

  1. Take the ball out deep behind the baseline to avoid stepping over the end-line.  Avoid the space occupied by the backboard.  Use the lane lines as your floor guide.

2. When taking the ball out-of-bounds, immediately look deep for a potential long pass over the defense, especially after an opponent’s score.

3. Inlet men, avoid the corners and potential traps by posting yourself at the low block or by starting wide and up court. Give yourself room to get open in the middle of the court.

4. Slow down and stay calm.  Five seconds to pass in and 10 seconds to cross mid-court is a long time for the defense to cover everyone.

5. Eat it (hold onto the ball) rather than panic and throw a poor pass.  The worse that will happen is that the defense gets the ball out-of-bounds.

6. When you catch a pass, face your basket and do not dribble immediately.  Look to pass ahead in this order:  Sideline, middle, cross-court, back-pass (reverse).

7. When the ball is passed up-court on the sideline, the receiver should take it down the side immediately.  You now have “numbers.”  Look to attack.

8. If the ball is passed to you in the middle of the court, treat it like a rebound and go get it aggressively.

9. When the ball is caught in the middle, pivot and face your basket, then look to pass it up court, especially to the opposite sideline.  (Cross-court)

10. Middle man should cut to the low post as soon as a pass is thrown up either sideline.  This can turn into an easy scoring opportunity.

11. If you have “numbers” in the forecourt, attack the rim and try to score.  Being satisfied with just getting the ball safely up-court is not a wise move because the press will never be at a disadvantage and can pressure all night with low risk.

12. Don’t let a turnover get you down.  Stay calm and execute better the next time you are pressed.

For more on handling Full Court Pressure, see Chapter 13, “Run Over the Full Court Press” in Coach Battenberg’s book, YOU CAN RUN WITH ANYONE.  To order a copy:





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