I presented Three Man Fast Break Drills – Set 1, earlier in this blog where I discussed three drills I have long used for teaching the Fast Break. Those three served me well for many years, but as I fine tuned my Running Game with newer concepts, I decided to create another set of drills that broke the fast break down into its more fundamental parts. Thus, Set #2 came about and I found out it not only helped in teaching the Break, but also added variety to my practices. Since I like to work on fast break fundamentals almost every practice, Set #2 and a later Set #3 have given me the variety and coverage that really helped our Speed Game.
Often I have found that coaches see a drill run by another coach and say, “Oh, that looks like a good drill. I’m going to add that to our practice.” But many times the drill has nothing to do with what the coach is even trying to teach his players. Drills should only be used that fit your system and philosophy. Copying a drill is fine, IF it helps to teach what you are trying to get your players to learn. When it doesn’t accomplish that goal, it’s a waste of time. Sometimes the best drills are those you make up yourself. As a coach, you should figure out exactly what it is you want to get across to your players and make a drill to fit that goal. You need to be creative, but logical and sensible.
The Second Set is my creation to help breakdown the three options of the Primary Fast Break: Sideline, Middle, and Cross. Finishing with a 3 on 3 Drill (Delay Man) that is very game-like and helps with quick decisions is a logical conclusion. Initially, Set #1 is taught and the players become comfortable with these drills before we move to Set #2. Later, the two sets are rotated on alternating days until it is time to add Set #3. We would then have three sets that are rotated every third day, thus adding more variety to the training of fast break fundamentals. These are not drills for drill sake. We are still always drilling aspects of our Break that reinforce exactly what we want to do in a game.
The three drills in Set #2 came about after I learned the Numbers Break and its three options from various coaches and programs. I wanted a way to teach and practice the three options, (Sideline, Middle, and Cross), so the point guard would automatically know what to do after he gets an outlet pass. Rather than just practicing in a 5 on 0 situation, I felt we could break things down a little more into groups of three, or 3 on 0 situations, which let us practice more reps in less time.
Drill 1 is the Sideline Pass Option
Groups of three players are formed with a point guard, post player, and wing player in each. All three players start in the key area. The wing (2) tosses the ball off the glass for (5) to rebound. As (5) rips down the rebound, (2) takes off down the right sideline and (1) moves to the same sideline for an outlet pass. (Diagram 1)
Note: The 1, 2, 5 on the baseline out of bounds represent the next group up in the drills.
The (2) must touch his sideline at mid court, the (1) must get wide with his back to the sideline. The (5) makes his outlet pass to (1) who catches and pivots on his inside foot (left foot in example 1), then throws a two-handed pass down the sideline to the (2) man.
The (5) runs the middle lane and goes to the rim as a potential rebounder. The (1) follows his pass up the sideline. The (2) drives hard to the basket after catching (1)’s pass and scores a layup.
When the first group crosses mid court, the second group should be ready to go with their turn. When all groups ( 4 or 5 usually) have completed their turn going one direction, the first group starts the drill again coming back on the same side of the court. This will actually be the opposite side because one direction is a right handed layup and the other will be a left handed layup shot. (Diagram 2 above)
Drill 2 is the Cross Option
Starting again as in the first drill, (2) again tosses the ball off the glass for (5) to rebound. But this time, (2) runs the opposite side of the floor from where the (1) takes the outlet. (Diagram 3)
Again, (2) must touch the sideline around the mid court area. The (5) again outlets to (1) who still has to pivot and look sideline, even though no one is there. This is to help form the habit of always looking to pass sideline first.
After the look, (1) takes one or two dribbles with his inside hand and passes the ball crosscourt to the (2) on the opposite sideline. The (5) runs the middle again, but must delay and stay behind the ball so as not to interfere with (1)’s crosscourt pass.
The (2) will again score a layup shot and (1) follows his pass while (5) runs to the rim. As in the first drill, when all groups have completed their turn, they will return coming up the opposite side of the court. (Diagram 4 above)
Drill 3 is the Streaker Option (Post Man)
In this drill, (5) throws the ball off the glass and (2) rebounds and outlets to the (1). (Diagram 5 below) This represents the situation where a Big (4 or 5) doesn’t get the rebound, so he sprints the middle lane and attempts to beat defenders down the court.
After (2) rebounds and outlets to (1), the (2) runs the opposite lane from his outlet pass. He must touch the sideline at mid court. The (1) takes his outlet pass from (2), pivots, looks sideline, and then dribbles with his hand nearest mid court, one or two dribbles as he times a pass overtop to the streaking (5) man.
The (5) scores on a layup or dunk as (2) comes in from the wing to rebound a potential miss. The (1) continues up court after his pass to (5). As in the first two drills, the return trip is up the opposite side. (Diagram 6 above)
These three drills have the players go up and back 3 times each, or 6 lengths of the floor. Each option is an attack from the right and then left side allowing players to work on driving and shooting with both hands. The entire sequence takes only about 5 minutes of practice time.
Key Teaching Points:
1. Teach the drills, then repeat them in future practices in 5 minute blocks.
2. Do not allow players to “leak out” before the rebound is secured.
3. Make sure the point guard always looks sideline first. Habit!
4. Keep the groups moving quickly to start their turns.
3 on 3 Delay Man Drill
The 3 on 3 Delay Man Drill is an advanced step from the Numbers Drill: 3 on 2 / 2 on 1 discussed in Set #1. This drill works great with a 12 man team because you will have two groups of six players who can go 3 on 3. If you have more or less than 12 at practice, the first group gets to do the 3 on 3 part, but the following groups may have to adjust and use the Numbers Drill from Set #1, and then rotate their groups so they all can do 3 on 3 Delay. Keep everyone involved and running so no one is standing and watching too long.
Start with three defenders lined up at their own free throw line. The player in the middle starts with the ball and his two teammates start at the ends of the free throw line. The three opponents are on the baseline, one in the middle and the other two very near the sidelines.
The action starts with a “direct” pass to the middle man. No one moves before the pass is made. The passer is the Delay Man and he must run up and touch the baseline before retreating on defense. His two teammates retreat immediately to the opposite end of the court and communicate as they are running. (Diagram 7)
The two defenders have to let each other know who is top and who is bottom on the defensive end. Their teammate will be delayed in coming back, so they have to stop an initial 3 on 2 fast break. The Delay Man sprints back after touching the end line and helps defend if he gets there in time.
The three offensive players start their attack with an outlet pass to either side and then the outlet man takes the ball to the middle. He can pitch cross court to a sideline wing or continue to drive to one side of the key or the other.
The original passer follows his pass and fills the open outside lane. (Diagram #8 above right) The offensive thrust will be 3 vs 2 for a few seconds before the Delay Man can get back into the action. The offense attempts to score quickly, before the Delay Man can get back, by taking advantage of the “numbers.”
Good passes and quick decisions must be made by the offense if a 3 on 3 situation evolves. This is where players learn to read defenders, find open cutters, and to take good shots. If the Delay Man gets back and the offense has not shot yet, the ensuing 3 on 3 situation must lead to a good shot. Players can do parts of your offense or whatever you want for an “Early Offense” reaction in this drill.
The defense is challenged to get back quickly, communicate, matchup, stop a layup, defend, and get a rebound. When the offense scores, the defense rebounds, or a turnover occurs, the sequence ends and the next group of six immediately starts out.
When both groups (all players) have made it to the opposite end, the drill repeats going the other direction. But this time, the groups of three switch from Offense to Defense or vice-versa.
This is usually a 5 minute drill on my practice schedule. Players are required to hustle on and off the court when it is their turn and to be ready to go as soon as possible. Keep the action moving.
Key Teaching Points:
1. This drill is for the defense and offense. Make the defenders work.
2. Defenders can’t retreat until the pass is made to the offense.
3. Rebounding, both O & D, is an important part of finishing this drill.
4. Encourage players to get layups and short bank shots.
5. Using 3 or 4 passes max is important to success in this drill.
6. Pass rather than dribble whenever possible.
Set 2 contains three breakdown, fundamental, fast break drills that reinforce the three options of the Primary Fast Break. The 3 on 3 Delay Man Drill gives players a chance to work on a “numbers” situation at game-like speed. Set 2 is a continuation of the principles taught in Set 1 and is a great way to teach kids how to handle speed game situations. By alternating the drills of Set 1 with Set 2, you are covering the basic principles and fundamentals of a fast break, but requiring a slightly different approach each time. By using these two sets and eventually adding Set 3, I had variety and different challenges for the players each day in practice. As the season progressed and the players spent a year or two in repeating these drills, they became very comfortable playing at a high speed without making costly turnovers. I can share Set 3 (Two Man Outlet Drills) at a future time if you are interested in some more basic drills for teaching the fundamentals of a fast break.