Help! Beating the Press Topic

Sorry that I have been a Forum whore recently. I'm tired of getting smacked around in my conference and I gotta figure this game out.

So, most of the dirty, lowlife scumbags...err.. gentlemen in my conference run the Press. My team is both young and sucky, and I routinely turn it over 20+ times a game. I'm not even a speedbump to most of these guys when they run me over. So, three questions:

1. When I recruit, I guess I should put a premium on BH - at all positions? I run (poorly) the Motion.
2. How do I make these bastards... err... gentlemen pay for pressing me?
3. Is a well-run press inherently the best defense in HD? Should I bite the bullet, suck for 4-5 more seasons, and become a pressing bastard too? Better to suck and have light at the end of the tunnel than to suck and only see more suckitude in my future.

Thanks in advance!


11/13/2012 11:37 AM (edited)
some think man defense is the prohibitive leader among defenses. i think that is true in d1 championship play but nowhere else. zone and press are both very effective if you play them right, although i do feel like zone has a small disadvantage in championship play at ALL levels (which i dont consider inherently to be a problem - i think zone may be the best defense in the most cases of any defense).

the reality is that so many coaches switched to press during the "press is magic" days, that its still what most people play. but i really dont think it is any better. you can't do anything to compensate for dominant scorers on the other side, like you can in man or zone with double teams or assigning a lock down defender to a guy. you can't switch up the 2-3/3-2 like you can in zone, while im more and more inclined to ONLY playing non negative defenses with the press. press teams get decimated by fouls at least a couple games a season, where its almost impossible to overcome if you have a decent opponent, and press  games are littered with foul trouble on a regular basis.

i would put a premium on bh and pass at the 1/2/3 if you want to tailor your teams to the press, but don't go overboard. ath/spd are helpful in beating the press, too. the reality is usually that if you are getting beaten by pressing teams, they are better teams or they are being coached better, its not so much that you need to adjust your style for the press. i play in a conference of almost all press teams, and while i press myself, i really consider press defense, from an offensive standpoint, not to be a concern. i just stick with the game plan and usually ill win the games i should win, and lose the games i should lose, just like anything else (you can, of course, push your distro to your better scorers, because the press cant react, and you can push your scoring to your better ball handlers and passers, to give up fewer turnovers, but its easy to go overboard on either, so i advise caution).
11/13/2012 12:16 PM (edited)
The biggest weakness against the press is that the coaches cannot gameplan against you.  So go ahead and really load up on your best scoring options and there's nothing they can do about it.  But, as gillispie mentions, be mindful of ballhandling and passing. 
11/13/2012 12:35 PM
I think press is the most dominant defense  at DIII, where you are playing.  It can be very difficult, and frustrating, to overcome the amount of turnovers.  At DIII it can be very difficult to find that "perfect" player.  A lot of teams will give up a ball handling or passing to get a perimeter guy or a speedy guy.  These are the teams that will do well against non-press teams but get destroyed against the press.  Like Gillispie said, make sure you have bh and pa at the 1,2,and 3.  There are a lot of small forwards out there with a 15 passing, very difficult to use this guy against a good press. 

The good news is if you recruit with the idea of beating good press teams in mind, you will, by default, often have a much better team in general. 

I know where you are coming from, I have started and contributed to the "I hate the press" threads before.   Good luck

11/13/2012 2:21 PM
Hey, thanks, guys.  All that is very helpful.  I hadn't thought about the press being unable to match man to man, but it makes sense.  I also like the idea of trying to get guys into foul trouble (esp. their stud offensive players).  Hadn't thought of that.  I'm playing the motion, so I need to be doing a better job at recruiting BH and P anyways.
11/13/2012 3:47 PM
I'm not sure if this is a forum fact or not, but I've heard it's a good idea to try to score inside more as well.  I've actually noticed the opposite w/ my press teams...unless I have incredibly athletic, fast guards with high defense, they'll live in foul trouble early and often. 

11/13/2012 4:06 PM
i dont really agree that its a good idea to score inside, like you, ive noticed the opposite. good basketball sense says, if you have a team who is going to foul a lot, it just makes sense you'd want to push it inside and get their bigs more fouls. but in HD, there are 2 key instances where HD diverges from reality, that make this a bad move. the first is that in HD, guard offense is SO dominant. almost every championship team you can find relies more heavily on guards than bigs, and its for good reason - bigs don't put up the higher fg% numbers OR draw the fouls, over guards, like they do in real life - but they ARE held back by lack of 3 pointers, which hit higher in HD than in real life as well. the second reason is fouling isn't proportional to real life either, although i wish i could see the numbers on that one to know how far they are off by (i think its significant, though).

anyway, between those two, you simply don't get a much greater chance of causing foul trouble inside than you would shooting on the perimeter, like you would in real life. and if you DO succeed - you are fouling out bigs, who have a disproportionately small role in offensive production and thus in the game as a whole. so it just doesn't add up.

one more thing - it was mentioned you could go to your star players more. this is true, but i want to reiterate on what i said earlier. its easy to go overboard. if you are making major shifts, like taking a player from 15% offense to 25%, to beat the press - and thats working - the odds are, you simply shouldnt be at 15% in the first place. a lot of people underplay their best players, its one of the most common mistakes, you can find it on over half the human teams in HD. so naturally, when you up that (to a more correct level in the general sense), its going to help you - but the fact that you did it against the press, may not be the reason. now, im not saying, dont shift a 12 distro guy to 13, maybe 14. but i do think the reason this "push your stars against the press" thing gets so much support, is that a lot of people arent given enough shots to their best player in the first place. that doesnt mean you shouldnt make extreme changes at times, because if it works, you know you need to reconsider your starting position. but it does mean that if you are doing it all the time, you've probably waited too long to reconsider your starting position :)

i think the above effect is exactly why there are some coaches out there who criticize my insistence on statements like, offenses are different and you should treat them as such, or, you should game plan and there is significant value in it. the reality is, its easier to overdo it, than to get it right. these are small adjustments you are supposed to be making - but they are not insignificant. just don't push it too far. if you are giving guys twice the distro in 1 offense compared to another, you are taking it WAY too far - and i think a lot of people do. but it doesn't mean you shouldnt still pay attention to your offense/defense and game plan for opponents, you just have to moderate it, and be willing to pay the price up front as you experience the initial learning curve. its like battles in recruiting - new coaches are afraid to take the hit (of losing), but we can all agree that the guys who took their lumps and figured it out, certainly are better off today because of it.
11/13/2012 4:58 PM (edited)
This isn't a magic bullet, and there's always exceptions, but my advice is this (mostly for DII-DIII as DI is an entirely different animal):

(1) You need a rebounding bh/pass guy at the 3 spot.  Most of my teams run extremely heavy rebounding at 4-5 and a 50 rebound guy at the 3 who can bh/pass. This cuts down on your turnovers, and builds on your advantage. That advantage being most press teams have to really sell out the ath/spd/d to make it work, and are usually poorer rebounding teams because of it. Superior rebounding to take advantage of those teams is key.

(2) This will sound like a no brainer and stupid but... you have to get your speed/ath/def into a competitive range. Especially ath/D. Speed you can back off a little on since you aren't relying on it as much. But  being a worse defense team with weaker athletes is a sure fire way to lose. HD isn't different than the real world in the fact you play to win your conference, not beat one team in the non-conference.

I've found that once you do these things, you are well suited to beat just about anyone really. I've designed all my teams to beat the press, and just use the fact I have a competitively rated ath/d team with great rebounding to compete against the rest.
11/15/2012 2:06 PM
That's interesting, your thoughts on the loading up on your star players more against the press coach.  I do think what you say is true, but don't you also feel it's an advantage vs. press more than other defenses in that the press coach can't defend against it? 
11/15/2012 2:41 PM
Posted by udm_mike on 11/15/2012 2:41:00 PM (view original):
That's interesting, your thoughts on the loading up on your star players more against the press coach.  I do think what you say is true, but don't you also feel it's an advantage vs. press more than other defenses in that the press coach can't defend against it? 
yeah, i definitely think thats true. thats why i mention it as a possible strategy to use to try to beat the press. however, i think people in general don't use their star players enough, and end up making too drastic a change against the press, and the 2 wrongs effectively create a right. so i think people who make big changes (more than taking an 11 distro guy to 12, maybe 13) and see positive results, are coaches who generally aren't pushing their star offensive players enough in the first place. for example, if you take your 13 distro guy and go to an 18 or 20 for the press, and that seems to be working very well, then your 13 distro guy should probably be at least 16 normally. 
11/15/2012 4:19 PM
What do coaches think about slowing down against the press?  At times I've been firmly convinced it's a winning strategy, and other times firmly convinced of the opposite.

What has changed for me recently is that I'm more likely to be using nine or ten players than the eleven-man rotation I used in the past.  It has seemed to me for many seasons now at D3 that the effects of fatigue are very small, but at times against a good pressing team it still seems to matter.  I got knocked out in the F4 and E8 the last two seasons by good pressing teams after deciding not to go slow, and then (naturally) wondered if I should have done so.
11/15/2012 8:42 PM (edited)
I think the pressing team generally fouls more (or at least fouls are inconsistent in the press and there is the potential that they will foul more) ... therefore, more processions are better if the pressing team's bench is not almost as good as their starters.

The Press team also uses more energy (players more quickly go to lower fatigue levels), so the more processions you have, the more your starters can be playing against their backups.  What I mean by this is look at minutes played on the press teams, backups and starters are generally more equal than Man2Man.

In both of these instances (fouls and fatigue) you are letting the pressing team off the hook if you play slowdown.
11/15/2012 8:12 PM
My press team fouls less than my opponents
11/15/2012 8:36 PM
Soon it's going to be elevated from a disorder to a syndrome...

11/15/2012 8:56 PM
Posted by Trentonjoe on 11/15/2012 8:36:00 PM (view original):
My press team fouls less than my opponents
A press team with very good DEF ratings, Good Press IQ and very good ATH/SPD, when playing a team that is much lower in any/all those areas can certainly foul less than the other team.

But my experience is that with the same ratings and IQs, a press team fouls more than the same Man or Zone team.  That may not be everyone's experience.

EDIT:  And from Hoops 101, for whatever that is worth, is this quote:

" On average, pressing teams will be called for more fouls than any other defense. "

11/16/2012 2:11 PM (edited)
Help! Beating the Press Topic

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