It is often most effective when it puts doubt into the minds of the offensive players and has them hesitate before acting.

Full court defence has the added advantage that the offensive team has only 5 seconds in which to inbound the ball and only 8 seconds to progress the ball into their front court.

Some general principles that will assist an offensive team facing full court defence:

  • Passing the ball is often more effective than dribbling as it covers greater distance in quicker time. It is better to throw short passes to players moving toward the ball rather than long passes (particularly with junior players that may not have sufficient strength to throw long passes).;
  • Getting the ball back into play quickly when the opponent scores often means they do not have time to set their full court defence. Players should practice, grabbing the ball from the net, keeping it at shoulder height, stepping out of bounds in two steps (while looking where they may pass) and then passing as quickly as possible;
  • Using a “retreat” dribble to get space from a defender will help to identify potential passes.

A full court “man to man” defence is most effective when help defenders are close to the ball.

Both x2 and x3 are in positions that could trap the dribbler. x4 is in position to help if 1 turns into the middle of the court or attempts to throw a cross court pass.

If 2, 3 and 4 all move quickly into their front court, it leaves 1 and x1 in a one on one situation. There is no defender available to trap or help.

In addition to clearing the court, teams may have a different player (e.g. 3 or 4) dribble the ball down. Whilst they may not be as proficient as 1 is at dribbling, their defenders are also likely to be less effective at pressuring the dribble than x1.

Finally, after clearing the court so that the dribbler has a 1v1 situation, a post player may move up the floor to set an on ball screen.

Although this brings another defender near the ball, it will probably be a big defender that is less proficient at defending on the ball.