Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills


Fast breaks
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1 on 1

Fast Breaks

Player Roles

Before deciding on a primary or secondary fast break, coaches need to decide on which players, if any, are interchangeable after a made basket (inbounds situation) and on a defensive rebound.

  • Billy Donovan - they don't really play out of a secondary break, they flow right into offence without stopping.

A "numbered" fast break is simplest, make or miss, every player has an assigned role all the time - point guard 1, inbounder/trailer 4, right and left wing 2-3, and rim runner 5. On a miss, 1 gets his butt to the ballside sideline for an outlet pass, 2-3-5 run their lanes even if they rebound then outlet, 4 trails.

  • Jerry Petitgoue - if 1 rebounds he pushes it.
  • Grinnell - the rebounder becomes the point guard until it's comfortable to get the ball to the point guard.

The first adjustment is that 4-5 are interchangeable if 5 gets a defensive rebound, i.e., 4 rim runs and 5 trails.

  • Petitgoue - if 5 gets a defensive rebound, 4 runs.
  • Andy Enfield - 5 runs to the basket every time, even if he gets the rebound; if 4 is the first big, he exits to either side on the baseline.

After that, there is a range of options for interchangeable players.

After a Made Basket

  • Besides 4, who can inbound the ball?
    • either 4 or 1 (Mads Olesen, with dribble-drive)
    • the closest big (Larry Brown, Memphis, North Carolina)
    • the closest player, it could be the point guard (Phoenix Suns)
    • the closest player inbounds, to the point guard for youth teams, to any player for older teams (Coach Mac).
  • The wings are interchangeable (Memphis, Phoenix).
  • There is no first big, use 5-out spacing (Away).
  • John Leonzo (two-side break) - 5 inbounds and trails for 5-out spacing, keeping the paint open for 1.

On a Defensive Rebound

  • 4 and 5 are interchangeable (Mike Brown, Memphis, Petitgoue)
    • if a big rebounds the other big rim runs (5star)
    • 4 and 5 are interchangeable except after a made basket (Petitgoue)
    • pre-designate with 4 and 5 who is rim runner and trailer if a wing gets a defensive rebound (Bradley)
    • North Carolina - 4 and 5 rebound, the rebounder will outlet or inbound, the other big runs the floor. If one big is a good shooter and the other a great low-post guy, they run but
      • the shooter can slow and the other big runs right past him, they go to their comfort zones, or
      • the shooter runs and posts, then the other big comes down and screens for him to switch spots.
    • if 5 rebounds and first-post 4 is not a post-up guy, 5 runs into a pick and roll with 1, 4 replaces (Donovan)
    • dive the post matchup, the first post can backscreen him into the post (Carleton Ravens)
    • Leonzo - if 5 rebounds there is no early rim run.
  • 2 and 3 are interchangeable (New Jersey Nets, Bradley, Enfield)
  • 1-2-3 are interchangeable (Spurs, North Carolina, Mike Brown)
    • 1-2-3 can get an outlet pass (Mavericks)
    • if a perimeter player rebounds he pushes it upcourt (5star)
    • Bradley has a three-guard system, so if 2 or 3 gets a defensive rebound, he pushes the ball and 1 takes his spot
    • if 2 or 3 rebounds, 4 takes the 2 or 3 spot (Petitgoue).
    • if 2 or 3 is a handler and rebounds, act as the primary ballhandler (be your own outlet), 1 takes their place (Matt Hackenberg)
  • 1-2-3-4 are interchangeable
    • start the break with 1 through 4, it doesn't matter who brings the ball up the floor (Donovan).
  • Leonzo - two point guards are interchangeable, either can get an outlet or rebound and push the ball.
  • Jeff Haefner - he doesn't assign youth players to positions, when they get possession of the ball, whoever is closest to each position fills that role. Players are assigned positions for the high-school varsity team.
  • David Faucher - if everyone can handle the ball reasonably well, whoever rebounds the ball is the point guard.

Some teams like to cross-grain the ball in the backcourt (New Jersey Nets, North Carolina) or as the ball crosses halfcourt (Enfield), with the point guard and trailer changing sides.up

2007-22 Eric Johannsen