1-3-1 Zone Defense: Basic Half-Court Slides and Traps

Back in May we broke down the basic principles, rules, and player roles for the 1-3-1 Zone Defense, an effective system used brilliantly by coach Steve Klaas at Adams Friendship (WI) High School. This week, we’re going to take the defense one step further by implementing basic half-court slides and traps. Follow along as Coach Klaas walks through proper player movements before running through sets at full speed.

Key 1-3-1 Slides

Overview: Start in a 5-on-5 half court setting with the ball up high. We will begin in “13” where 1 and 5 are back protecting the basket. Meanwhile, the wings are just off of the foul line and ready to explode if necessarily.

The Basics of “13”: If the ball comes across half court, the 1 would have great ball pressure. The baseline runner (aka player 4) is a step off the baseline and ready to explode to the corner. The wings on each side are ready “to be like pistons.”  Player 5 has one rule. He must stay between the ball and basket at all times. Never vary this rule. Also, player 1 has one rule. He must stop ball reversal, if he can.

Teaching Point: If you are playing good defense in this set, you are always going to have four people ballside, The 5, 1, 4, and wing player will always be ballside.

Tips: Adjustments always need to be made. If you can force the ball to one side and keep it there, then you will be far more successful. Also, remember that the rule for the wing is to make ball reversal difficult.


Skips and Corner Traps

Let’s say there’s a cross-court pass to the corner. In this case, player 4 must sprint corner to corner. He doesn’t stop. Meanwhile, the high wing player comes down and pressures on his upper hip. If the opponent drives baseline, the 4 is coming to help and the wing is there to make a natural trap. The key here is to get aggressive pressure defense that has great team help. Also, if the ball skips to the corner, the help is there to take care of inside and outside threats.

Tips: Always be looking to deflect the ball. During the live simulations below, notice how this defense forces the ball around the perimeter and limits inside looks.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Dominating 1-3-1 Zone Defense.” To check out additional videos highlighting defensive drills and systems, simply visit our basketball library

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