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Potpourri - Sports Tips

Basketball: What makes the 1:2:2 press successful?

I went to the Yale Harvard basketball game Friday night. Yale was the heavy underdog and had about a dozen fans interspersed in a hostile crowd, but with 1:09 left they were only down three. The coach correctly went to a 1:2:2 press but it failed 4 out of 5 times and Harvard won a squeaker, 67-64.

How did this press fail so much? Harvard wasn't prepared for it and each time there was a double in the corner and six or seven seconds would run off the clock. The time it worked Harvard had to use a timeout. Why did it fail the other four times? Because Yale was too aggressive and fouled each time. They were in the double penalty and kept giving Harvard foul shots.

So what do you tell your team more specifically than "don't foul"? Remember, your players' adrenaline is way up because it is usually near the end of the game, they are probably losing and they will tend to be more aggressive. First, the 1:2:2 or 1:2:1:1 press immediately puts the onus on the offense to get across the midcourt line in under 10 seconds. You just have to prevent that from happening. Simply by going into this press the offense will have a hard time doing that. Secondly, since the offense will have difficulty advancing the ball because of the double teams, the defensive players don't have to try to steal the ball nor do they need to be up against the ball handler. They need to be very close to the ballhandler with their arms extended  but just far enough away to prevent obvious body contact. If you eliminate these two mistakes you now allow the press to put pressure on the other team.

Initially, this press should work 2 or 3 times till the players realize or the opposing coach tells them in a timeout that they can't dribble through it. Had Yale stopped fouling and let the press work its magic they probably would have won Friday night.


Unless you are a patient of Dr. Landin's and have seen him very recently, this should not be construed as dental advice but only as information. Please consult your own dentist in regard to your personal situation or condition.

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