Why should you fast break?
To get easy scoring opportunities – Many teams have great half-court defenses when they are set. Whether it’s an advantage fast break 2v1, 3v2, etc or 5v5 transition offense situation, the fast break allows you to attack the defense before it can get set which can lead to many easy baskets for your team. If an easy basket does not present itself, they transition directly into your offense to keep the defense on their heels.
- Control tempo & force bad decisions for your opposition – Some teams are not used to playing a fast tempo. Due to your opponents’ lack of repetitions running the fast break, this can lead to more bad decisions for your opposition which would be advantageous for you.
- Wear teams down – If you practice the fast break every day during practice, chances are that your players will be in pretty good condition. Your opponents may not spend as much time running the break, so when you pick up the temp, this will wear on your opponents. It may not happen right away, it may not happen until the last 4 minutes of the game. Paul Westhead’s teams were known for wearing teams down, then going on enormous runs in the second half.
If you have 9 or 10 players, this can also be a great way to wear the teams down. It is also a great way to develop your underclassmen.
- Beating zones and pressure – Many coaches will say that your best offense against a good zone or defensive pressure is your fast break and transition offense. As mentioned before, you want to get the ball up the court for easy scoring opportunities before the defense can get set.
- Aggressive mentality – When taught properly, the fast break can lead to an aggressive offensive mentality. If you watch the best players in the world, they usually have that “attack” mindset. Quite often, the difference between average players and good players is their mindset. If you can get all of your players with the same mindset, it could lead to a much better team. This doesn’t mean that everybody on your team is jacking up 3’s or the first open jump shot, your players should just do what they do well with assertiveness.
- Offensive rebounds – Many rebounders are not good at running the floor. When you big man is conditioned, it will lead to many more opportunities. Danny Miles will sub his post players more frequently than his post players because post players have to cover more ground on each possession. This helps keep his post players fresh. Danny typically subs his post players every 4 minutes.
- Players enjoy it – Players are more likely to buy in and want to participate if you provide a style of play that is enjoyable to play.
Are there situations where you should not run the fast break?
Against talented, athletic teams, you may choose to slow down your offense, but I don’t believe that you want to completely dismiss fast breaks because they could lead to some very easy baskets. In this situation, you may enforce a “lay up” only rule. If you get an advantage, take a lay up.
If no advantages are presented out of the fast break, you could set a rule that you only take lay ups until a specified time or number of passes. Some examples are:
- No jump shots until 30 seconds have passed.
- No jump shots until 10 passes have been made.
- No jump shots until the ball has been reversed 5 times.
- No jump shots until the ball has touched the post twice.