Tips and Strategies for Implementing the 1-3-1 Trapping Defense

The 1-3-1 Trapping Defense has been an effective scheme for Bob Huggins and his programs for decades. In this week’s team development feature, Coach Huggins will break down some of the key concepts, movements, assignments, and overall coverage for the 1-3-1 Defense. This turnover-inducing defensive scheme — which divides the court in half — relies heavily on ball pressure and trapping. Be sure to follow along and see which concepts you can take away and then implement with your own squad this season.

Slide Defense Overview

For the wing players in the 1-3-1, it’s key that they don’t let the offense get the ball into the middle of the floor. The goal here is to keep the ball on one side of the floor. For the wing defender, you must close on the outside shoulder of the nearest offensive player to prevent movement. Get up in their face so they can’t skip the ball. Get your hands up and try to get the opponent to drive into our help defense.

Be cautious of closing too far on the outside of your opponent. Don’t give up the straight line drive. With our help in place, it will funnel the offensive player to the baseline/wing and not straight at the basket. Remember, we are keeping them on one side of the floor and forcing low percentage looks.

If the ball goes into the near corner, the wing defender now must guard the high side and then turn and defend the inside. The wing player must also defend the first pass wherever it goes on his/her side of the floor.


Sprint to Help Defense

A major goal with this defense is to shrink all gaps. We want it to seem for the offense that there is nowhere for them to go. So, how exactly do we do that? First, we must always have ball pressure. We must make the passing lanes longer so the ball stays in the air.

Next, we are always line to the ball. The ball can go over, under, or around me, but it can’t go through me. Meanwhile, hands are always high and active and we also want to discourage direct passes.

Finally, don’t go over the top of the post. Always go in the direction of the ball.


***Stay tuned for more features incorporating key concepts and drills with the 1-3-1 Trapping Defense in the coming weeks.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Bob Huggins: Full Court 1-3-1 Trapping Defense.” To check out more defensive drills and systems, click here.

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