The Fast Break for many teams is a significant element to their scoring make-up. For many teams thought this element is undervalued as a part of their scoring spectrum. Many teams focus on the other phases of basketball without fully appreciating the benefits of fast break basketball.


Fast break basketball is all about automated responses from your players. To be really successful at the fast break phase in any offense, your players must be drilled to the point where they feel they can play intuitively and instinctively make decisions while on the run.


Even though fast break offense happens in any number of different scenarios and situations there is still a wide range of drills which can be implemented within training sessions to help build efficiency and effectiveness in this phase of your offense. What is very important to any fast break drill or series of drills is to make sure the execution of the activity is done at game pace or at least as fast as your players can go. This will have an effect on the technical performance of the various skills, but this is very much the situation that happens in games.


During fast break situations that occur in games the offense is often out of control for some of the play at the very least. As a coach you should be wary of trying to control everything that happens on the floor as this can rob your players of their instinctive nature. Fast break basketball at least on some level, is an instinctive exploit. What should be drilled and hopefully refined is the ability for your players to make the right read more often and increase their efficiency in scoring.


As a coach be sure to accept mistakes, and always with unrelenting persistence demand your team’s fast break offense is executed at pace. The technique of performing passes and controlling the dribble on every bounce of ball will come once your players become comfortable with the pace of the offense.


Secondly, your rehearsal of any fast break scenario or situation needs to be performed in a competitive environment. This has a two way benefit; it helps your offensive players deal with pressure on the ball which is mostly a guaranteed element of the majority of fast break situations. Additionally, this will help you team defensively to become better at reading and stopping fast break offense opportunities. As the defence becomes better you will also see an improvement in offense your team will need to play get the score.


So what makes a good fast break basketball player? Well the first thing to realise is that often the scoring player in a fast break situation is regularly off the ball. The ball carrier that initially makes the steal or is the outlet for the offense mostly looks to pass ahead to a player in a better scoring position. There are a number of traits that make up an ideal fast break player off the ball. These include:


  1. Quick reaction time
  2. Agility
  3. Willingness to run
  4. Maintain vision of the ball


These elements while not everything to a fast break player’s technical or tactical make-up are the most important point especially in the initial stages of developing the fast break.


Players will need to react quickly to when the situation for a fast break happens. Players with a quick reaction time will not need two or three steps to slow down before turning and starting off on the fast break. These players will see the fast break opportunity unfold and be able to move step for step with any other player on the floor both offensive and defensive.


Reggie Smith flying in for the dunk
Score  fro the Fast Break (Photo credit: rburtzel)

Agility helps player to be able to make the sharp and sudden changes of direction often need at the start of a fast break. Agility will also assist players off the ball who are in the fast break to be able to change direction, avoid defenders and create open driving lanes to the basket.


A key point which is at the core of a good fast break player is they must display a willingness to run. For players this is the number one trait need to be successful. If a player runs hard and is at pace as soon as possible they will inevitably be either guarded, or open it is that simple during a fast break.


The final trait for a capable fast break basketball player is the ability to maintain vision of the ball. By having vision the player is more likely to see the options that are presented while moving up the floor. This vision helps the running player move into a direct passing lane with the ball handler and also allows the player to react quickly on a pass to them.


Fast break basketball can be a vital part of your team’s offensive make-up. Taking the time to break this aspect down should be one of the first and most consistent elements of a training session.


CategoriesTitle and LinkDescription
General Fast Break Articles and Posts5 Common Problems Associated with Fast Break OffenseCollection of the more common issues associated with a team's failing Fast Break Phase of Offense
Improve your Outlet Zone to Supercharge your Fast Break and TransitionPost focuses on outlet areas and how they can help a teams point production
The Many different Phases of OffenseArticle explains where the Fast Break fits in regards to a Team's Offense
Three Secrets of How to Bring Speed to your Fast BreakSimple instructions on how to improve the speed of your Fast Break
Drills1 v 1 Clamping Full Court DrillWhile mainly focused on defence, this drill also exposes offensive players ball pressure in the full court (1 v 1 Drill)
Outlet and Chase DrillFantastic drill for promoting assertive play in each and every player within a Fast Break (1 v 1 Drill)
Push Pull Passing DrillGood drill for helping players develop solid distance passing and fitness for fast break basketball (1 v 1 Drill)
Duke 2 Man Fast Break DrillGreat building block drill of the elements of the outlet and wide lane running (2 v 0 Drill)
Three Lane Passing DrillSimple drill for helping players improve their passing and catching while on the run and at pace (3 v 0 Drill)
Boston Fast Break DrillOne of the most fantastic drills for applying pressure to players as well as providing a conditioning element (3 v 0 Drill)
3 v 3 Line Touch DrillGood drill for bringing offensive players into contact with defence as the fast break starts (3 v 2 + 1 Drill)
Russian Passing DrillGreat drill for helping players become aware and able to deal with defence in the full court while advancing the ball (3 v 3 Drill)
Four on Four Line Touch DrillFantastic drill for building fast break principles up in the full court within the scenario of a numbers advantage (4 v 3 + 1 Drill)
Tennessee Shooting DrillGreat drill for practicing a number of offensive elements of the Fast Break (Whole Team)
Tactics3 v 2 Fast Break OptionsBreakdown of the tactics available in a 3 v 2 Fast Break situation
4 v 3 Fast Break OptionsBreakdown of the tactics available in a 4 v 3 Fast Break situation

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