Special Situations: Breaking Man Presses

Breaking presses are all about great spacing, simple reads, and solid decision-making. In this post, we'll look at our full-court Man to Man Press Breaking strategy.

Breaking full-court pressure is one special situation that all coaches need to be prepared for. There is perhaps no quicker way to lose a game than to allow teams to go on extended runs due to your inability to handle full-court pressure. Outside of preparation breaking presses always boils down to having great spacing, creating simple reads, and making solid decisions when we are inevitably trapped. As we put together our plan for breaking presses we want to have a find a way to allow our players to do these things in the most simple manner possible.

My approach to breaking presses has always been to keep things simple and remain as similar to our normal transition offense as possible. In doing this I think we are enabling our kids to play with their instincts and skills rather than relying on complex strategies. Whether teams are trapping, stalling, or simply making us work hard to get the ball over half court we think that keeping the same press break alignment and principles will give us the best chance to make good decisions versus any defense. In this post, we will take a look at our Full Court Man to Man press break strategy, and you will see that a lot of our Zone Press Break strategies carry over.

Other Special Situations Series Posts to Check Out:

Man to Man Pressure Strategy -

As we discussed above we are not going to make alignment changes when teams show full-court pressure against us. For the sake of continuity, we are going to rely on the same transition spacing and roles that we use in transition offense. That being said there are some unique problems that a good full-court man-to-man defense can create. So there are a few adjustments that we need to make, especially when it comes to getting the ball inbounded safely.

Alignment -

Inbound & Outlet:

The 4 Man will remain our inbounder, Just as he did in our Transition Offense.

The PG (1 Man) will be our main target for the outlet pass. Just as he does in transition he will sweep over to the right-hand side of the court and attempt to immediately receive the ball.


One of our wing players (2/3 Men) will sprint to the right-hand sideline and get himself in a position to receive a pitch ahead pass.

The other wing player will get to the left-hand sideline and get himself in a "Wait & See" position. Knowing that the possibility of the PG getting denied the basketball against full-court man-to-man defense is higher he needs to be prepared to come back and help.


The Center will serve the exact same purpose against man-to-man presses that he does against zones. His job is to essentially get to the middle of the floor and be prepared to help. In most cases, his flash to the basketball is not needed, but coming out of dead-ball scenarios he needs to have a heightened sense of responsibility.

Point Guard Entry -

Whether they are trapping or not a good man-to-man press will really put stress on your primary ball handler. For that reason, we want to make it a priority to try and get the basketball in the hands of our Point Guard right away. As you can see in both the diagrams below once the ball is in the hands of our Point Guard we are asking our other players to "Give it Room to Breathe".

Some Teaching Points:

  • Keep an Eye Back to the Ball

  • If they trap Come Meet the Ball

  • Use the Inbounder as your Check Down Man

Point Guard Entry -

Ball Side Entry:

Ideally, we just want our Point Guard to release and catch the basketball on the ball side. In live ball scenarios, this is something that we are able to get routinely.

Face Cut:

In those scenarios where the ball side entry is denied (left diagram) we are asking the Point Guard to "Face Cut" to the opposi