1-2-2 Zone Press

The 1-2-2 containment zone press provides a flexible, easy-to-teach, conservative press framework for seasoned defensive teams as well as those newer to zone press concepts.

The press has a number of benefits:

  • Provides one hard trap in the back-court along with the possibility of a second trap just over half-court.
  • Adjusts for different game situations: establishes pressure and turnovers when down and trying to claw back, controls tempo and slows down other team when up late in games.
  • Can be scaled back and run as a half-court trap as a surprise tactic.
  • Can be run 3/4 court without traps to slow up other team or when you’re in foul trouble.
  • Can be run off of missed free throws.
  • Provides back-court pressure while still providing back coverage to prevent layups.
  • Keeps your bigs within their comfort zone protecting the rim
Initial Setup

This video clip comes from Bobby Gonzalez’s 1-2-2 Containment Press Defense DVD by Championship Productions.

 1-2-2 Zone Press Rules

The diagram below outlines the 1-2-2 contain zone press alignment, teaching progression, and rules.

  • Initial Setup & Roles:
    • 3 man called “Chaser”. Usually longest, quickest athlete.
    • 3 lined-up between foul line and three-point line in middle of court.
    • 1 and 5 lined up with each other, 2 and 4 lined up with each other.
    • When ball is inbounded, 3 must apply ball pressure immediately, forcing ballhandler to pick a side. The ballhandler cannot go down the middle. This is critical!
  • Scenario 1: The First Trap:
    • Trapping guideline: “Two on the ball, two in the lanes, and one protector”.
    • x3 influences ballhandler towards sideline.
    • x1 jumps to set trap with x3. x1 and x3 become the “two on the ball“.
    • x2 bumps to the short middle lane, looking to stop any offensive player flashing down the middle or coming from behind the defense.
    • x5 bumps to sideline, on and up the sideline passing lane obscuring the passer’s vision.
    • x2 and x5 are now the “two in the lanes“.
    • x4 bumps to long middle lane and becomes the “protector” (last line of defense protecting the basket).
  • Ball Reversal:
    • It is critical that x1 & x2 are acting in concert with each other. If x2 is playing in the short middle lane and ball gets reversed he must wait for x1 to drop to short middle lane before he “bumps” to the sideline for the trap on the other side.
    • x1 & x2 must act like they’re an accordion, or connected with a string. When one person moves, the other must move. Communication between the two is key point of emphasis.
    • x5 and x4 must have a similar relationship. When one person bumps to long-middle, the other bumps up to the sideline passing lane.
  • Ball Reversal
  • Scenario 2: The Second Trap:
    • Sometimes a second trap may be available as ball moves up sidelines via dribble or pass.
  • The Second Trap:
    • x2 recovers to trap the ballhandler with X4.
    • x3 sprints back and denies closest reversal pass – want to choke it off and not allow the reversal.
    • x1 sprints down to short middle lane.
    • x5 drops back into lane to become protector.

Do you have experience running this type of press with your team — please share your comments below!

Helpful DVDs
1-2-2 Containment Press Defense
Coach Bobby Gonzalez provides instruction and insight for implementing and effectively using the 1-2-2 Contain Press Defense. As a 3/4 court zone trapping press defense, the 1-2-2 Contain Press Defense can be used to create steals and deflections, slow down the offense, and shut down secondary break scoring opportunities. You can adjust this press defense to best match your opponents’ style of play and also transition into a man or zone defense. Use the 1-2-2 Contain Press Defense to control the tempo of a game, minimize opponents’ fast breaks, and create more scoring opportunities.
Joanne McCallie: 1-2-2 Match-Up Zone
Join Duke Women’s Basketball Coach Joanne P. McCallie as she leads you through principles and responsibilities of the 1-2-2 Match-Up Zone. Coach McCallie’s on-court demonstration includes pass rules, dribble rules, rules vs. cutters, rules vs. a two-guard front, rules vs. the Pick and Pop and rules against two high posts for these attacking defenses.  Coach McCallie opens by explaining
the four principles that your defensive scheme must follow if you want to be successful. Breaking down the 1-2-2 Match-Up, McCallie emphasizes that you must disrupt the ball, eliminate passing lanes and place pressure on the offense.

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