The following is from Jason Burkiewicz, Head Girls’ Basketball Coach, Annawan High School (IL):
Rules and thought process to trap our trap defense:
- Constantly have two people on the ball pressuring
- The ball is never allowed to go middle
- Remaining three players off the ball are playing gaps and reading the next pass
- Our goal is to get our opponents to focus on simply getting rid of the ball and hoping for a shot rather than running a comfortable offense that they practice over and over.
Player thought process:
- We do not play “safe.” We rotate and go for steals in the passing lane all game long
- We will trade a lay-up for 3-5 steals any day so our players are quickly taught to not get discouraged when we allow an easy lay-up
- I choose zone traps because most coaches choose the same or similar ways to attack them. By midseason our girls have a great recognition of what opponents will try to do and it can often times be like playing the same game over and over again.
- The two trappers are relentless
- Our two trappers on ball are taught to force the ball handler toward each other leaving 2-3 ft. gap between them while the player is dribbling
- If we leave that gap the ball handler is tempted to split, where our ball side defender will sweep the ball as it cannot be protected dribbling between two people. It will be exposed to one. (We have become very good at this over the years)
- We want them to pick up the ball as much as possible to promote as many passes as we can in order to try and take one out of the air for a lay-up
- I put my quickest defender on the left side of the court always to protect against the guards who always want to dribble right. Their rule is to keep their right shoulder outside of the ball being dribble in the right hand of the ball handler. In addition they should never fall for jukes, stop and go’s, etc. I know that ball handler wants to stay right.
- When they overplay the right hand and get the ball handler to pick it up, that’s when we immediately go on the attack. Their partner who was 2-3 ft away closes quickly
- Our goal from here is to get that person to throw it quickly to the first person they see or turn their back on us.
- Lastly, if they keep the ball and turn their back on us we show our players and drill that the offensive player only can pivot, whereas us on defense can continue to move our feet. Therefore we will continue to slide our feet and keep our bodies in between our opponent and forward progress. They will not be able to pivot out or complete the only pass we leave open. The long ball!
- Many coaches want to throw the ball long on us as we do often times leave a girl open. However we only rotate and leave her open after we feel we have the trap that takes it away.
- If these things take place we feel we will have a lot of success
- The ball handler never splits our traps. In fact we bait you to go there and we’re ready when they do.
- Opponents that have failed with the pass begin to try and dribble through our pressure defense
- When this happens we teach the ball side defender only to sweep at the ball
- If they get a piece of it their job is to head to our basket and the next level’s job is to pick it up and throw it ahead for a lay-up
- Put a ball handler on the end line starting at mid-lane with a goal of trying to dribble to halfcourt
- Have your two trappers start at the elbows
- Teach them to come down the lane line to start. It is important to teach angles to your players in order to get you opponent to pick up the ball. If your player runs straight at them they are going to allow their opponent to blow around them.
- I teach when the ball handler is aggressively coming forward we need to move backward with them while staying in front to slow them down. We call it, “catching” them first.
- After the ball side defender gets the ball handler to slow down, stop, or even retreat. That is our cue to begin the attack.