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Fast Break in Basketball

The game of basketball has been increasing fast and intense, and a major “fault” of this is the bet on the fast break.

Mike D ‘ Antoni in the 2004-05 season “designed” an attack called “7 seconds or less” that led to a record 62 wins and just 20 losses in the regular NBA season. Consequently, I venture to say that basketball has changed completely; the teams realized that if they have a higher speed, it would lead to a greater number of opportunities to score the basket. However, these opportunities are not very difficult opportunities to realize.

The fast break has the particularity of allowing easy opportunities to materialize, with few defenses to challenge the throw or even less without any defender to challenge the throw (1×0 situations).

How to create the fast break?

In the creation of a team offense, the fast break has to be the first topic; there is no point in defining the set plays in without defining the principles of the offensive transition. Likewise building a house on the roof, probably nobody will be able to live there.

The fast break starts in defense

The best way to come out on the counter is to have a good defense. A good defense will lead to an opponent’s ball losses or difficult throws that are likely to fail and will result in a defensive rebound.

A loss of the ball or defensive rebound means that the team can come out with a numerical advantage to attack, hence the start of the counterattack.

Decide who accelerates the game

A very important step is to decide who accelerates the game, that is, to recover the ball, which is preferable? The first player has the ball in his hand to accelerate the attack or pass the ball to the base for the team to go on the counterattack.

Both choices have positive and negative aspects, if the choice is for any player to run with the ball, the team may lose some possession of the ball through dribbling quality and pass that the player who is running has. On the other hand, you may have more reduced situations, 1×0, 2×1, and 3×2.

If the choice is to pass the ball to the base, the team will be slower in the transition so it will not have as many reduced situations as that, but situations of 3×2, 4×3, and 5×4. On the other hand, the number of ball losses in transition will be much less because theoretically, the base will be much more capable of taking the ball on the counterattack without losing it.

Install a fast break mentality

A team to be considered a danger in the offensive transition needs to have a counterattack mentality. We are at a time when march madness is being played and the main programs that reach the final stages have something called culture and principles. A team to be a lethal weapon in the counterattack needs that in their game culture, the counterattack is very much there.

A basic principle will be FO/S – Fast, Organized but Safe. One must want on the counterattack to have an easy launch and for that, it will have to be quick, organized, but with confidence in the decision that will be made.

Pass instead of dribbling

One of the most common mistakes in the offensive transition is the excessive use of the dribble, the players insist on the use of the dribble. However, if the pass is successful, the counterattack flows very fast because the ball travels the field much faster, catching the defense completely off guard.


As discussed earlier in installing a fastbreak mentality, the organization plays a key role in an offensive transition. For there to be organization, it is necessary to define what are the roles of each player in the counterattack, which player runs and where does he run? That is, the definition of the occupation of the corridors taking advantage of the greater space on the field. The better organized the attack, the safer the players will be able to make decisions, otherwise, the players will be “in a lot” the number of ball losses will be huge.

Provoke situations with a numerical advantage

The counterattack as explained at the beginning of the article serves to create situations of easy finish and with disorganized defense. So the players have to be prepared to provoke these situations of a numerical advantage.

However, it will be very rare for teams that go out on the counter to have 1×0 situations against a team that defends well, so the offensive transition scenarios will be essentially 2×1, 3×2, 4×3, and 5×4.

Use penetrating dribbles

Not always in situations of offensive transition, there will be a player in front of the ball, in a better position than the player who has the ball to be able to assist.

In this way, the players will be “forced” to create situations to take advantage of the numerical advantage, in this situation it is very important that they receive the ball in motion and can attack the basket in motion without losing speed.

Put the ball in the paint

The only way to get easy finishes is under the basket, the probability of a player scoring under the basket is always greater than away from the basket. That is why it is crucial that in the counterattack the teams attack “the painting” either with a player running from basket to basket in the middle asking for the ball or a winger who is running and can attack the basket easily.

Flow offensive transition to positional attack

A very common bet of the teams in the so-called transition attacks, that is, whenever they are unable to create a quick basket opportunity, the teams take advantage of the speed and intensity of the counterattack to create a 5×5 basket opportunity. In this way, the attacking team does not lose attack time to set up a move.

How to develop the fast break

The first thing to do is to develop the players technically, the offensive transition forces a lot that the players are technically endowed to be able to create situations either through the pass or the dribble and finally, they can finish. Without individual techniques and tactics in the offensive transition, you will not go anywhere.

Then, it is necessary to work on the transition principles, that is, all the topics previously covered. From the definition of who accelerates the game, the installation of an offensive mentality, the search for the pass instead of the dribble, the definition of the players’ roles in the organization, the search for numerical advantages, the use of penetrating dribbles, the placing of the ball in the painting and finally the decision to flow the offensive transition in the positional attack. After that, the key is to train real game situations so that players can make the best decisions on the counterattack.

1st Drill: 11 Fast break Drill

The exercise starts with 3×2 on a table, after the 3×2 game, whoever wins the rebound attacks 3×2 to the opposite side with the outsider, besides, the exercise continues in this direction. Therefore the drill follows this rotation: whoever was defending occupies the outside columns, whoever was attacking and did not win the rebound starts to defend. To sum up the main objective is to finish the counterattack as quickly as possible.

11 Fast Break Drill
1st Graphic
11 Fast Break Drill
2nd Graphic

2nd Drill: 33-1

The exercise begins with three players attacking behind the midfield and two players defending in their defensive midfield, there are two columns one on each side in the midfield (team A on one side and team B on the other). In short this drill works as a game 3×3 full field only one team will be outnumbered for a short time; the player of the team that is defending has to go to the midfield around the cone and go to defend.

1st Graphic
2nd Graphic
3rd Graphic

3rd Drill: 3×2 + 1 – 4×3 + 1 – 5×4 + 1

1st Graphic:

The exercise begins with 3 players on the baseline who will attack to the opposite basket and 3 players on the extension of the free-throw line who will defend. The coach on the back of the players who are going to attack says the defender’s number. At the coach’s whistle, the number indicated by the coach touches the end line and recovers.

2nd Graphic:

The exercise begins with 4 players on the baseline who will attack to the opposite basket and 4 players on the extension of the free-throw line who will defend. The coach on the back of the players who are going to attack says the defender’s number. At the coach’s whistle, the number indicated by the coach touches the end line and recovers.

3rd Graph:

The exercise begins with 5 players on the baseline who will attack for the opposite basket and 5 players on the extension of the free-throw line who will defend. The coach on the back of the players who are going to attack says the defender’s number. At the coach’s whistle, the number indicated by the coach touches the end line and recovers.

3x2+1; 4x3+1; 5x4+1
1st Graphic
3x2+1; 4x3+1; 5x4+1
2nd Graphic
3x2+1; 4x3+1; 5x4+1
3rd Graphic

4th Drill: Fast break + 2

The exercise consists of making a counterattack decision. It starts from a progression from 2×1 to 3×2 to 4×3 and to 5×4 ending in a 5×5.

Whenever the team that is defending to recover the ball, 2 outside players enter. So that you will always attack with a numerical advantage. The exercise ends when the team that is defending the 5×5 regains possession of the ball or suffers a basket.

Players are entering through Base – Extremes – Posts positions.

When the exercise is repeated, the ball changes.

Fast Break + 2
1st Graphic
Fast Break + 2
2nd Graphic
Fast Break + 2
3rd Graphic
Fast Break + 2
4th Graphic
Fast Break + 2
5th Graphic

Ready to have a lethal fast break?

Having a lethal counterattack is not an easy task, it requires a lot of things and a lot of acquisition of principles, mainly a team mentality and culture. With this, it is important to say that as soon as the team regains possession of the ball, all they have to do is run to finish as quickly as possible.

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