The I-Press: A Full Court Trapping Variation

The I-Press is a variation of a full court press. The I-Press looks to change the alignment of the defensive players to crowd the split line on the court. This tactic looks to isolate one side of the floor from the other. This effectively creates less space to defend and reduces the options for the offensive team to choose.


When utilising the I-Press there are a few key points to focus on with your teams:


Vision; because of the need to divide the court in two, the defensive players must see what is happening with the ball as well as where the likely flashes to the strong side of the floor are coming from. Players must learn to develop their ability to establish and maintain good court vision for their section of the floor.


Communication; the I-Press features the first player sliding back along the split line when the trap is initiated. This player will rely heavily on the players behind them when the trap is initiated communicating which side the defenders move to. Verbal cues such as “ball” and “help” when linked to player’s names will be essential in helping everyone work together as a team.


Moving on the flight of the Ball; for junior players this is always a skill that requires constant focus. This aspect of a trap though is always a challenge for players both junior and senior. Being able to move with the flight of the ball so the defence is set as the offensive player receives the pass is especially important in increasing the pressure on the ball handler. This defensive pressure disrupts the ball handler’s ability to be able to see all the options available on the floor.


Like any full court press a commitment to getting back behind the line of the ball is pivotal. If The press is broken the off ball defenders must retreat to ensure an easy basket is not the result. Just because focus of the defence fails to trap the ball, it should not result in an easy offensive scoring situation. If the recovering defensive players can recover through the middle lane of the court all the better. Recovering through the middle lane allows players to move in the shortest distance towards the basket, but as with the theme of the I-Press also crowds the split line and therefore increases the difficulty in passing across the court when rotating the ball for the offensive team.

I-Press Diagram 1
I-Press Diagram 1

Players align themselves along the split line.


Three (3) channels the ball into the desired side of the court and then limits the opportunity for ball reversal by being a ready defensive stance.


Guards (1 & 2) look to trap the ball on the outlet pass.


Four (4) holds the centre of the court look for an intercept opportunity off a skip/slow pass.


Five (5) moves towards the strong side of the court protecting down the sideline as a possible press breaker receiver spot.

I-Press Diagram 2
I-Press Diagram 2

After the guards (1 & 2) have trapped the ball, Three (3) sprints towards the broken circle.


Four (4) continues to look for pass intercept opportunity.


Five (5) moves more aggressively in stopping a pressure release pass down the sideline.

I-Press Diagram 3
I-Press Diagram 3

On the Pressure Release Pass


The guard with vision of the pass moves to re-trap (in this case it would be One).


The alternative guard sprints to split line at the basket and picks up an offensive player.


Four (4) sprints to get below the line of the ball looking still to intercept short passes now.


Three (3) anticipates movement and can fill the passing lane down the sideline or alternative strong side pressure release targets.



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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

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