4 Drills to Become An Effective Pressing Team

By Kyle Gilreath

If you have not read our article yet discussing Shaka Smart’s key’s to full-court pressing defense, we recommend you hop on over and read that article before diving into the drills below!

Circle Trap

The Circle Trap drill is one of the best drills to not only teach your offensive players how to handle traps under pressure, but it also teaches your defense how to trap without fouling.

Offensively teach your players to be strong with the ball and how to create space. This drill also enforces the term “Fake a Pass Before you Make a Pass”.

Defensively trap with your feet and never allow splits. Keep your hands behind your elbows to prevent fouling. This drill also teaches the intercepter how to read the passer and try to anticipate the next pass.


  • Drill Starts with coach having the ball-Three offensive players around the circle-Three defenders inside the circle splitting the gapsOn the pass the two closest defenders (X1 & X2) trap 3 with active hands & NO FOULING. X3 plays safety and tries to anticipate and take away passes to 1 & 2.
  • 3 must rip the ball high/low & fake a pass to make a pass. Goal is to fake to get X3 going one way and pass to the other guard. Offense MUST stay outside the circle. 

Trap Transition

Trap Transition is a drill that forces your offense to get open under pressure and teaches your defenders who to anticipate the first pass out of a trap.


A Guard starts with the ball in the trap and they have to hold it for 2 seconds, then they can pass it out. From their it is live, the defense must sprint back in transition while trying to intercept the ball.

x1 is interceptor side

x3 is interceptor high

x5 is the goaltender

Triangle FastBreak

Occasionally while pressing the defense gets overaggressive and the trap breaks down and the ball gets ahead creating a 5 on 3 situation. This is the perfect drill to teach your players to never give up on a play and to sprint back trying to get a back tip in transition.


1 starts with the ball

x1 and x2 chase to backtip

1 cannot pass until they gets to half court

Once they throw it ahead it is 4 on 4 live


444 Is a great defensive drill that involves your entire team. It forces the offensive and defensive teams to stay focused as soon as there is a make/miss or turnover/steal to jump right into your defense and try to create HAVOC.


Three Teams of 4. If the offensive team scores they get to keep the ball and must inbound it again. The defense continues to press until half court, looking to get a steal to score. Once the offensive team reaches half-court the defensive team on the other end picks them up. If the defense gets a stop they become the new offensive team and the new defense can try to get a steal before halfcourt.

Score this like a regular game and go for a specified amount of time.

Stay tuned for some half-court drills later in the week!

Check out these and other basketball defensive drills in our Plays & Drills Library. Exclusively on FastModelSports.com!

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VP of Coaching Development @PureSweat| Astronaut High School Varsity Coach - Always learning!

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