1-1-3 Pressure Zone Defense

The 1-1-3 zone defense provides ball pressure on the point guard, coverage of the high post, and the familiarity of having three players protecting across the back of the zone.

In this defense one defender applies ball pressure to the opposing team’s ball-handler, the second guard covers the high-post area, and three defenders cover the paint and two baseline-to-wing areas.

This defense protects the interior versus strong post players and ensures good corner coverage. It’s also great alternative to the 2-3 zone for situations that require pressure on the other team’s ball-handlers. In the 2-3 zone, pressure with the two guards typically creates a large vulnerability in the high post area; in the 1-1-3 zone, one guard can pickup the ball-handler in the backcourt and still have the the other guard patrolling the foul-line area behind him.

Intelligent offenses will exploit the defense’s weaknesses: a) the wing areas, and b) the short-corners behind the last layer of defense and the baseline.

9 Points of Emphasis for 1-1-3 Zone Success
  1. Apply tremendous ball pressure at all times.
  2. Sprint to coverage areas with strong closeouts and hands held high.
  3. Push the ball to the sideline alleys and corners.
  4. The closest player to the ball takes the ball handler.
  5. There always must be a player in the low post and high post.
  6. All five players are required to rebound.
  7. Once the ball is forced to the sideline, stay on the player’s “high hip”  in order to keep the offensive players from reversing positions and dribbling to the other side of the court.
  8. The defender stays on the ball until called off by a teammate.
  9. All players must communicate verbally for this defense to work.
1-1-3 Zone Defense Rules

  • There are 2 different coverage areas in this defensive system:
    • The guards, X1 and X2, cover everything above the free throw line.
    • The post players, X3, X4, and X5 cover everything below the free throw line and are interchangeable positions.
  • Primary weaknesses include the wings and short corners behind the back line of the defense.

  • 1. X1 picks up the ball initially, trying to influence the pass to the left side of the floor.
  • X4 or X3 take any pass that is free throw line extended or below.  On the closeout, X4 tries to force the next pass to the corner and discouraging a ball reversal by staying on the high hip of the ball.
  • X2 slides to ball side high post.
  • X5 slides to ball side low block and full fronts any low post.
  • X3 slides to replace X5.

  • X5 takes any pass to the corner using a good closeout.
  • The wing defender, X4, sprints back to the block to replace X5 trying to deflect any low post entry passes.
  • Primary weaknesses include the wings and short corners behind the back line of the defense.

  • X2 takes any corner to wing pass, while X1 moves to the ball side elbow.
  • Post players rotate back into position.

  • When the pass goes from the wing to the point, the guards work in a tandem. High post guards takes the point. The wing defender guard slides to high post.

  • If a skip pass is made from the corner to the opposite wing, use the closest defender rule.  In this case, X1 closes down on the ball.
  • Everyone else slides towards the ball.

  • The post player closest to the corner takes the skip pass.
  • Everyone else slides towards the ball into their respective positions.

  • On the dribble entry, the point defender stays with the ball.
  • Everyone else slides in direction of the ball.

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