After having the privilege to listen to VCU head coach Shaka Smart speak at the 2014 Coaching U Live in Indianapolis, I wanted to share some of the key components to their HAVOC Defense. The following bullets come from a handout that you can receive by reaching out to their basketball offices and video coordinator.

Goals of the Press

  1. Create Turnovers (Live ball turnovers to score in transition)ShakaSmart
  2. Force Quick / Bad Shots
  3. Create Offensive Opportunities (by Attacking)
  4. Force an Uncomfortable Tempo and Disrupt Offensive Flow
  5. Make Opponent Preparation More Difficult
  6. Take Opposing Players Out of Their Comfort Zone
  7. Create Fatigue
    • Which Team Will Tire 1st? Which Team Will Recover Quickest?
  8. Make Depth a Factor (Which team’s bench is better?)
  9. Exciting Style of Play for Players AND Fans!
  10. Create an Identity / Brand for your Program.

Keys to Emphasize as a Pressing Team

  1. Must Have ENERGY! 5 players flying around the court without fouling. “Fouling Negates Hustle”.
  2. Communication. “Talking Makes You Quicker”.
  3. Get Into the Press Quickly!
  4. Active Hands Causing Deflections
  5. Trapping Fundamentals
    • When to Trap? (Good Trap vs Bad Trap)
      • Ball handler’s level of control: A good trap is one in which the dribble is out of control.
      • Element of Surprise: The ball handler should not see or expect the trap coming.
      • Location on the Court: Never trap in the middle; use the out of bounds and half-court lines as extra defenders!
    • Who to Trap?
      • Trap the guards / best players. Trapping a big can free up a guard / shooter.
    • How to Trap?
      • Trap with “Elasticity”. As the ball handler moves the trap should move, without fouling.
    • Off the Ball
      • “Think Like a Trapper”
  6. Take Away the Most Obvious Next Pass
  7. Ball Pressure (Especially in Man to Man)
  8. Stunting at the Ball with Off the Ball Defenders
  9. Back Pressure. If the ball gets ahead of the defense, sprint to recover and try to get a back tip.
  10. Outnumbered Situations.
    • Create 2 vs 1 Scenarios

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