The 1-2-1-1 Diamond Press has become popularized by VCU and Head Coach Shaka Smart. In this video, we breakdown how you can easily use the defense’s principles to beat it.

Why do teams press?

  • Speed up pace of play 

  • They want opponents to play out of control and force turnovers 

  • Eliminate half-court offense • Some teams are not disciplined enough to play half-court offense 

  • Expose poor ball handling/decisions 

  • Excessive dribbling and poor passing leads to easy baskets 

  • Overcome a deficit 

  • Teams use presses to try to dig out of a hole when the score and time are not in their favor


  • Stay out of the coffin corners, if you have to go in them, run through them

  • Try to always have a diagonal behind safety relief

  • Remember that you always have a numerical advantage when being trapped, know where your open teammate is

  • Teams cannot setup press defenses if you force missed shots and get the ball up the floor quickly