The run and jump press is a full-court man-to-man defensive press that uses a mixture of trapping and switching. It specifically designed to force your opponent into making mistakes by speeding up the pace of the game.
The goal of this type of pressure is to create chaos for the offense as they try to bring the basketball up the court. You don’t necessarily have to steal the ball for the run and jump press to be effective. If it makes the offense struggle to get into their offense and take bad shots then the press has done its job.
Below we’ll cover in detail the strengths and weaknesses of this press, rules, and more. When you’re done reading this article, you should have a better understanding of this press and if it’s right for your team.
Run and Jump Defense Notes
Strengths of the Run and Jump Press
- Increases the pace of the game - This is the perfect defense for teams that want to play a faster game. This aggressive, full-court defense allows your team to control the tempo of the game.
- Your team will have excellent conditioning - By running this fast-paced press, it will easily increase your team’s conditioning to an elite level. They will be able to handle the fast tempo from start to finish without getting fatigued.
- Teams can’t prepare for this type of pressure - The Run and Jump Press is unpredictable which makes it difficult for teams to simulate it during practice. There are too many undetermined traps and jumps that it’s nearly impossible for teams to prepare to go against your team.
- Forces your opponent into turning the ball over - This defense can be very hard to figure out for your opponent since there’s no predetermined traps or switches. Because of this confusion, the offense won’t know where the defense is coming from which will undoubtedly cause turnovers.
Weaknesses of of the Run & Jump Press
- Difficult to learn - there’s no set starting point but rather a few rules to follow which allows players to make their own decisions of when to trap and switch. Because of this, it can be harder for some players to understand what to do on the defensive end. This press becomes easier with experience and practice. If your team is younger or at a beginner level, you may slowly introduce them to this concept but not use it as your main defense until they feel more confident in the concepts.
- Give up easy points - Because this is an aggressive press, it can lead to easy buckets for the offense. Not every time, but often enough, the offense will break your press.
- May cause foul trouble - Some players may get overly aggressive with this type of defense because they’re reaching in while the offense changes direction or they bump a player as they are shooting the gap to go for a steal. There’s a lot of ways to become undisciplined when you’re running and jumping in this press but the key is not fouling and trusting your defense to lead the way for steals and turnovers.
Who Might Use the Run and Jump Press?
The Run and Jump Press is best suited for a quick, defensive minded team that wants to play at at a very high tempo. A team that is big and slow at any position should avoid this type of press because it requires quick movements, fast decisions, and sprinting back on defense to be effective.
Run and Jump Press Rules
- Pick Up Points - These vary depending on the game and opponent, but here are some options you can use to start your Run and Jump Press.
- On the ball and all out denial - You have a player guarding the inbounds pass and all other players are guarding man-to-man trying to not let the ball be inbounded.
- On the ball and side-by-side - You still have a player guarding the inbounder, but the other defenders are playing on the side of their opponent to influence them to go to the corner to catch the inbounds pass.
- Off the ball - You move your defense off the inbounds pass and put them at the top of the key. This allows them to be there to help in case a guard gets away from a defender.
- Cat and mouse - Your defense is again guarding the inbounds pass, but as soon as it looks like the pass is going to be made they turn and help deny the other offensive players.
- Ball Pressure - After the basketball is inbounded, it is crucial to apply strong ball pressure immediately. Your goal should be to push the ball towards the sideline or make the offense change directions.
- Always Trap the Dribble - Whenever you see the offense start to dribble - whether it’s towards the sideline or changing directions - this is when you want to run and trap the ball. It’s the best situation because the dribbler can’t see the trap coming from the other direction. If it’s not a surprise then do not go to trap.
- Never behind the line of the ball - If the offense is going to pass the basketball you want them to pass it backwards so do not get behind the line of the ball. A pass backwards doesn’t hurt your defense. If you’re staying ahead of the ball then you’re keeping yourself in a position to make a play and that’s what you want in this press.
- Sprint Mentality - This press isn’t effective unless everyone is willing to sprint on every possession. There will be times where the offense gets past you or breaks the press and in those cases you have to sprint back to get back into position to defend or make a play. Your team has to be willing to give their best effort and play hard.
- Floor Positioning - There’s a couple of positions that are key to this press. If you’re one pass away from the ball, you’ll be looking to trap. Once you see the offense begin to dribble is when this player should be sprinting to trap the ball. Two passes away, the defender should be watching the ball and be looking to shoot the gap for a possible steal.
- Run and Jump Press Drills
In order for your team to learn the Run and Jump Press you must practice it over and over. Here are some drills to build the Run and Jump Press:
- 1-on-1 Full Court - It’s as simple as it sounds - you play 1-on-1 the full length of the court. This drill allows the defender to work on the main concepts of ball pressure and sprint mentality. The defender’s goal is to make the offense change directions and apply a tremendous amount of ball pressure the entire play. If the offense gets by the defender then the defense needs to turn and sprint to get back in front of the offense.
- 2-on-2 Dummy - Now you’re progressing and adding another player for 2-on-2. The focus of this drill is to work on run and jump and jump switch situations while still having a sprint mentality.
- For run and jump situations, the offense will dribble the ball to the sidelines and the defense will run over for the trap. The offense makes a pass to the teammate in the middle of the court which should cause the defense to sprint back to make a play.
- On jump switch situations, the offense will dribble towards the sidelines but before the trap occurs they will pass behind them to their teammate. In this situation, the first defender will switch with the trapper to defend the pass behind them.
- 3-on-3 Inbounds Situations - One way to break the run and jump press is to get the ball to the middle of the court and that’s where this drill becomes very important. With the 3-on-3 set up you can work on your pick up points, defending the screen, and the diagonal cut.
- The defense can decide which type of pick up point they want to use for their possession.
- Another decision the defense has to make is how to defend the screen when the two guards screen for each other. The two ways to defend are fighting through the screen or switching on the screen.
- Finally, after the ball is inbounded to one of the offensive players, the other will make a hard diagonal cut to the middle of the court looking to advance the ball. The defense has to be turning and sprinting to defend this diagonal cut.
You can continue progressing this press defense by going 4-on-4 and then finally playing it live with 5-on-5. By this point, the defense should have a good foundation of what has to be done for this press to be effective.
Learn More About the Run & Jump Press
There’s so much to know about the Run and Jump Press defense and finding out if it’s right for your team. If you want to learn more about developing an effective press and drills to get that done, check out Forrest Larson’s Simplified Run and Jump Press. It goes into incredible detail with excellent demonstrations to help you instruct your players on the court.