Retreat Dribble

One of the most effective tools that an offensive player can use to beat any pressure is to use a retreat dribble (i.e. go backwards).

This can give the dribbler space to see an open teammate. It also gives the player the opportunity to see the pass.

(English) Retreating also creates the situation where the defender must now “close out” – moving forward to get to the player. This is a difficult skill, and often creates the opportunity for the dribbler to get past them.

Particular if the dribbler goes backwards at an angle, rather than straight back, it means the defender is now on their side, which can also be an advantage to the dribbler.


Beating “Man-to-Man” Defence

Full court defence often starts when the offence are passing the ball in from out of court, either after a basket or foul / violation by their opponent.

When denied in this situation, it can be effective to move towards the sideline or baseline (forcing the denying defender to move backwards) and to then quickly change direction (either sideways or backwards).

(English) If the full court defence is “man to man”, it can be effective to have other offensive players move down court, so that the player with the ball now plays 1x1, without the prospect of any double teaming. If additional help is required, it is often the centre or forward who will cut back to receive a pass – as their defender may be less able to place pressure on the dribbler.

Beating a Trapping Zone Defence

Coaches may wish to implement a particular structure for playing against a full court “trap” (or “zone press”). Below is a basic framework that can be utilized that focuses on ensuring that:

  • •The player with the ball has three passing options;
  • •Purposeful movement by players to ensure that players do not simply “stand around”.


Retreat when the 2nd Defender Commits

A retreat dribble can be very effective to releasing pressure. Keeping the dribble alive, the dribbler wants to attract a trapping defender, once that defender starts to commit, a retreat dribble can create space to pass to an open teammate. To make this most effective, the ball should be caught no closer to the baseline than the free throw line, in order to ensure that there is room to retreat.


Point Guard Inbound

Having the point guard inbound the ball, can disrupt the defence, particularly when the defence is designed to immediately trap the player receiving the pass (usually the point guard).

The point guard may step into court to receive a pass or may cut past the receiver to receive a hand off.


Pass Over Half Way

Many trapping defences are designed to double team the ball at, or near, the half way line. Accordingly, having players look to pass the ball across the half way line rather than dribble it across can avoid this double team being effective.