The following is a list I pull out each season of press offense guidelines that I wrote down through the years of working with Coach Gunter. What I like about them is that I think they are universal for all pressure offense.
#1 Remember that the biggest of all keys is to always maintain good spacing. With good spacing, it leaves more room for the defense to cover, and longer distances for them to run before making a trap or steal attempt.
#2 Make all your cuts hard and sharp. If you are not cutting as quickly as possible, you are helping the defense to defend you. Cut to create help. The same holds true if you don’t cut properly, rounding off your cuts instead of cutting in straight lines.
#3 We must always keep someone behind the basketball. We don’t want that player “on top of the basketball.” Stay behind the basketball as a release valve, but maintain proper spacing.
#4 Always come back to meet a pass made to you. This one is critical. If you wait for the pass, someone near you can beat you to the pass and get an interception. Come back for the ball and catch it with both feet in the air to land with a jump stop for pivoting.
#5 If at all possible, we don’t want to receive the entry pass to close to the inbound baseline. Again, this is poor spacing. Try to catch the ball as deeply as possible to give you more room to operate.
#6 Utilize pass fakes at every opportunity. Almost all full-court pressure is based on active, gambling-aggressiveness and therefore will go for pass fakes. A good pass fake will get the defense in the air and allow you a chance to put the ball on the floor or give you an opportunity to make an easier, more effective pass — “fake a pass to make a pass.”
#7 Don’t waste your dribble. Catch the ball, pivot, and look ahead for a possible pass as well as to read the defense. If you pick up your dribble without looking ahead or reading the defense, you become an easy target to be trapped with very few options.
#8 Avoid the half-court area as a momentary position for the ball. Don’t pass the ball to a teammate just over the half-court line when there is a possibility she can be trapped. And certainly don’t dribble the ball just across the half-court line and hesitate where you can be trapped
#9 Always remember, once you beat the pressure, the good press defense teams like to come from behind and try to knock the ball away. You must always stay alert and watch out for back taps.
#10 At the end of the press offense, always look for a good shot. If we execute properly, we can get lay ups, short jumpers, and wide open three-pointers. We want to make a team pay a heavy price for pressing us. Always remember that a forced or bad shot is the same as a turnover for a pressing team.
#11 If we don’t get a shot from our press offense, get directly into our man-to-man or zone offense. Often teams that press, especially zone presses or run and jump presses, have a difficult time recovering to their proper defensive assignments in their half-court defense. Stay on the attack — let our offense be the aggressor and not their press.