6 Must Do’s in Transition Offense

Good Transition Offense will lead to an Increase Scoring Opportunities (Source: Steve Dean)
Good Transition Offense will lead to an Increase in Scoring Opportunities (Source: Steve Dean)

Transition Offense is one of the phases a team cannot live without. Even teams with a strong half-court offense ethos still implement some sort of transition offense to help with the movement of the ball fast on the floor. Transition Tactics can be well planned and rehearsed, but if the execution is lacking on the day, then everything focused upon can add upon to nothing.


So here are six things players need to do to make sure they give the team’s primary transition the best possible result…


Players in the sideline lanes must look to run wide. Offensive players off the ball who are in the wide lanes of the floor should be looking to get wide and hug the sideline to create and best possible position to maintain vision over their shoulder and give a wide target for the ball handler to pass at. Wide lane running adds width that defenders must contend with when rotating in help positions to guard the ball.


Players need to ensure that they keep their eyes up to see the floor. One of the most frustrating situations that often occur within a team’s offensive transition is the lack vision on the floor that leads to players not being seen and therefore nullified as a passing, and ultimately option. This problem if happening on a regular basis leads to players not running as hard or just not giving their best effort consistently while on the floor.


Passing ahead to the open player is necessary for a good team transition offense. All too often overzealous guards can kill a team’s pace by dribbling the ball from three-point line to three-point line. Passing down the court should always be encouraged as long as the passer and receiver are ready. Passing ahead and across the split line should be noted as a highly risky activity. It should be  brought to the players attention that defenders often retreat along this channel and it can be harder of the passer to judge the angle and positioning of defenders.


Players off the ball must sprint to their position. Drills focusing on fast break situations of transition offense must be performed at game pace. This rings true in games as well. Receivers need to sprint to their position to ensure there is separation between the offensive players on the court that allows an easier pass to be made at pace. Executing the transition offense at pace will only serve to benefit the team’s overall game plan. A well-executed, fast-paced transition offense is the best cure for a zone defence.


The ball handler must move towards the space on the floor in front of them. All too often ball handlers dribble into poor situations. When looking up the floor players need to be mindful of dribbling towards space. This in turn will lead to the ability to make better decisions from improve vision and less pressure for defenders.


The final point of note to ensure in a team’s transition offense style of play is to make the defence commit to you. In all situations where the offensive team is playing aggressively or attacking the basket the ability to make the right read in regards to the movement of defence can turn a possible open driving prospect into a poor passing situation and wasted chance.


This is highly important in situations of numbers advantage. If the defence does not commit to the ball handler and the pass is made then this gives an advantage to the defence in recovering to possibly cover the player who the ball s passed to which untimely scratches the numbers advantage.


A good transition offense provides another phase from which a team can find scoring opportunities from. Taking some time to not only implement an effective primary transition play but also discussing the good habits described above will help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of a team’s transition offense.

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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

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