Coach’s answers #6

George DikeoulakosHere's the sixth edition of the coach's answers to the questions of readers. Want a professional advice? Don't wait and send your questions now!

Predrag, coach from Serbia: How can I get a job. I am a student in Serbia on faculty for sport, but I still can not find a job. I am a basketball coach… I have high school diploma for basketball coach and I am finishing faculty for getting diploma of a profesor for basketball…

George Dikeoulakos: Hi Pedja. The fact that you are a very good student or a very good coach doesn't mean that you'll find a job for sure. I am sorry to tell you but the market in basketball doesn't work like this. If you love that job and you want to work, then you have to spend few years (one or two) by sitting by the side of a good coach, without getting paid but learning from him. What I am trying to tell you and what I suggest to the new coaches who are trying to find a job, is to become a volunteer. Find a good coach, and ask him to let you watching his practices, and slowly to help his assistant coaches with the scouting and with some simple drills. Soon you'll become a member of the coaching stuff. Believe me it's the best way. Of course another opton is to start working with very young kids, and if you are a good basketball teacher (in that case forget coaching) then somehow you 'll move to the next level. So don't give up, never give up. I hope all the best to you and to your career.

M.Manos, coach from Greece: Hi. In a few weeks my team will play against a team that loves to play all kind of zone press. It's almost impossible for our offence to set every time a different press break, cause we don't know exactly what kind of zone press our opponent will use at the next second. What do you suggest?

George Dikeoulakos: Hi Manos. In a few weeks? So I have to answer immediately! I'll describe you how I break the zone press. Against 1-2-1-1 or 3-2 we use the "press offense 1". Against 2-1-2 or 2-2-1 we use the "press offense 2". But the best thing is that we can very easy transformer our press offense from one situation to the other with a very simple move. As you see at the picture 1, after free throws, O3 or O2 will inbound the ball and we 'll take the follow positions: Point guard and the other guard at the free throw line, the big players at the other half court, left and right. Lets assume that ball goes to the point guard, which is something that we want cause that player can read the defense better than anyone else. Then O3 cuts to the middle, and the inbounder goes parallel to the point guard. Now we have create so many triangles and so many good options for passing which is very difficult for any kind of 1-3-1 or 3-1-1 or 3-2 zone press to defend (see picture 2). We call that press break, "press offense 2", cause we use 2 parallel guards. But what if the zone press is 2-1-2 or 2-2-1? Then our point guard makes one or two dribble to the middle (see picture 3 and 4), and that means two things:

1st: The guard from the middle will go to the side, so we have onle one point guard and two guards at the sides, and
2nd: The big men  are ready to come to the middle line (but only one of them). You can say from the begining that this man can be always your power forward, or you don't care if that player will be your PF or your center so depending where point guard gives the ball, the opposite big man goes to the middle line for help. We call that press break, "press offense 1", cause we use only one point guard. No matter if we use press offense 1 or 2, every time ball goes to the middle, guards try to make back door cuts and finish the press break with a lay up.

Sometime we struggle to break the press as fast as we want, and our opponent is organizing a zone defense. In that case maybe you wont have enough time to run your plays against zone, so you must always have a couple fast tricks or plays against zone.

I also think that somehow you must find out the calls or the signals of their zone press, so you can help your team by telling them earlier what kind of press break they will run, and not letting your players to read the defense and make their brain get tired. I hope that this will help!