Tips to Take Your Fast Break to the Next Level

Orlando Magic v Dallas Mavericks

     Once you have introduced the Numbered Fast Break and have drilled, scrimmaged, and played a game or two, you might be ready for some advanced tips on making it more efficient.  As mentioned in an earlier blog article, improved fundamentals are a key to cutting down turnovers and making the numbered break work smoothly.  Beyond that, here are some suggestions for advancing your fast break attack.

Tips for Taking Your Fast Break Attack to the Next Level:

1. A point guard (1) who will pass is much better than one who loves to dribble.  If you can’t get your present point guard to give the ball up, move him to (2) or the bench and get someone at the (1) who WILL pass the ball ahead.  A pass first attitude for the point guard is very necessary to a successful fast break.

2. The (2) and (3) should be allowed to run either sideline after the initial learning phase.  Early on, it is easier to learn lane running with each wing only running one particular side.  As time goes by, the two players will often find themselves on the opposite sides of the court from their offensive running lanes as they play defense.  It makes the break much faster when wing players can run to the nearest sideline and fill a lane.  If both players are on the same side of the court, the first one to the lane gets it and the other crosses and fills the opposite side lane. (See Diagram #1)

3. On a missed shot, the (4) or the (5) can fill the middle lane.  Again, whichever player gets to the lane first will take it and the other big man trails the play.  But, the (4) always takes the ball out on an opponent’s score or any other OB situation, while the (5) sprints down the middle lane.   The (4) should always run the middle lane when (5) gets a defensive rebound.  This is his big opportunity to surprise his defender and get an easy score on a feed from the (1) man. (See Diagram #1)

5. If you have a left-handed perimeter player (2) or (3), have him run the left lane as his primary side.  Take advantage of his stronger scoring skills on that side of the floor.  The lefty can still fill the right lane when he is on that side of the court defensively, but his primary side should be the left side.

6. When the (1) is challenged or denied an outlet pass, the rebounder should “bust out” with a hard one or two dribbles, looking for players up the court on the sideline.  The (1) should take off up the sideline to free himself as the rebounder busts out on the dribble.

7. If the (1) has no one ahead of him on the sideline to pass to, he should dribble up the sideline until he finds a middle man to pass to, or until he gets to the wing or possibly the basket.  (See Diagram #1 and #2)

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8. When the (1) does dribble the empty sideline, the (2) or (3) should trail him and serve as the back pass, reverse man for the Swing Play.  (See Diagram #2)

9. Pass the ball ahead to teammates that are open.  Put the pressure on the defense to adjust. The ball can always be passed back, so don’t be afraid to give it up.

10. Avoid bounce passes.  Throw the straight pass that is faster, easier to handle, and easier to control.  If the lane isn’t open and only a bounce pass will possibly work, then you probably shouldn’t be passing in the first place.  Use the drive and create an open passing lane instead.

11. Don’t try for “fancy plays’, take the easy play.  Trying to do too much just leads to turnovers.  A turnover is a lost scoring opportunity.  Make the smart play.

12. After an opponent’s score, the (1) should take at least half of his inlet passes on the left side.  This varies the offensive attack position and gives the defense a different look from time to time.  It also gets the other wing more involved in the offense.  Don’t get stuck always bringing the ball up the right side.

13. Practice each of these scenarios in 5 on 0 situations so everyone is clear how they work.  When they happen in 5 on 5 scrimmage situations, make sure to stop the action and correct any confusion or mistakes that happen.  Have the philosophy with your team that there are no such things as “screw ups”.  Just adjust, fill the spots and keep on fast breaking.

For more on teaching and improving your Fast Break, you can purchase my book, “You Can Run With Anyone”  in paperback or ebook from Amazon.  See below.



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