Zone Press 2-2-1 Defense Coaching Guide

About 2-2-1 Zone Press

The 2-2-1 Defense, known as 3/4 Court Press or 75, is a great way to slow down your opponent bringing the ball from one side to another. Also, it gives your team great opportunities to trap the ball and not allowing another team to easily run the play.

What it takes to play 3/4 court defense

To play this kind of defense, your players have to be physically and mentally ready. Before playing 2-2-1, make sure that your players have:

  • Athleticism
  • Quickness
  • Work Ethic 

Why 2-2-1 Press

There are several reasons to play 3/4 Court Trap Defense. Coaches who play this defense, by consistent ball pressure and trapping, usually aim to:

  • Change the tempo of the game
  • Force the opponent into mental and physical errors, such as errant passes, 10 seconds violation and other bad decisions 
  • Spend a game time, since 2-2-1 makes offensive teams have to work very hard to bring the ball to another side of the court and set up the play
  • Score quick points by stealing the ball, if there is no more time and you are two or more positions away from the win and need a come back

How to run 2-2-1 Press

Before setting up the players on the court, make sure they know the principles of 3/4 Zone Press. The key principles are:

  • Ball Pressure and High Intensity
  • Force the Ball to the Sideline of the court
  • Close the Middle of the Court
  • Communicate 
  • Trap Without Fouling
  • No Easy Shots 

The first two players in 2-2-1 formation (Position 1/2) are two guards, the fastest players on the court and the best athletes. They are responsible to force the ball to the sideline. Once ball goes to the sideline, it should not be returned back to the middle. The only exception is if the ball goes backwards. 

Behind them should be forwards (Position 3/4),  and they are responsible to close the side-lane/mid-lane pass and potential trapping. These players have to be smart to read the offence and catch the moment for trapping. 

The vary last player is the biggest player on the court (Position 5) and he is in charge of cutting long passes and preventing easy lay-ups. Position 5 should be a good blocker in case that offense attacks the basket with a close shot, he should be able to block or make that shot the hardest possible. 

2-2-1 Zone Press Basketball

Drills for 2-2-1

There are several drills that can help your team to improve in playing 2-2-1 Zone Press. We will demonstrate one of the drills from the video. 

Before you practice two on two drill, it's highly recommended to start with one on one drill. One-on-one on the sideline, by completely closing the middle and forcing the player to the sideline, you can drastically improve team 3/4 Zone Press. 

One on One Basketball Drill

After this individual defensive drill, you can move to the team drills, such as 2 on 2 and 4 on 4, playing with the same principles like in 2-2-1 defense.


Learn More About 2-2-1 Zone Press from John Kresse and Gregg Marshall by renting the DVD.Just click below.

Gregg Marshall 2-2-1 Zone Press          John Kresse 2-2-1 Zone Press

Feb 23, 2018 Coach Chris

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