How to run a quick break offense
A fast break violation, when executed correctly, can lead to an easy basket. Although speed is essential to successfully executing a counter attack, the main prerequisite is a good and sturdy rebound. Why? Because you have to get the ball before you can run with it. During a basketball game, a quick break opportunity could arise after your opponent missed a shot or free throw, made a poor pass, you stole the ball, or an out-of-bounds situation.
The fast break usually forms a three-on-two or two-on-one advantage where lines are established and execution is good to capitalize on the advantage before the defense can recover.
When a quick break opportunity arises, it must be executed in a well-organized and calculated manner for it to be successful. Of course, this implies that the players have been sufficiently trained during practice on how to execute the counterattacking offense. When the counterattack is being executed, each player who is part of the counterattack attack must know and fulfill his responsibility; otherwise, the counterattack could result in a disappointing ending, a wasted opportunity.
Sometimes the three lane counter attack doesn’t spread out enough so the defense spreads with it. For example, if two men go down the floor and are less than about 15 feet apart, then a defensive man will be able to defend both of them.
Sometimes a dash attack is unsuccessful because players can’t properly adjust the speed at which they run. Speed is much needed after the first pass that ignites the fast-break offense, but as the offense approaches the free throw box, the pace must be slowed down to allow for successful completion of the play.
The middle in a three-on-two fast break situation must get the defense to commit and come out to force the play by holding the ball while approaching the opponent’s basket; the dribble will force the defense out quicker than the cross. If the wing player in the counterattacking attack tries to dribble for him, the defense can delay the engagement for a longer time. In other words, the defensive man who doesn’t have the ball can drop back and defend the opposite wing as well as the middle.
Every player on the team should and must know his role in a fast break, regardless of his position during the attack; otherwise, the attack can be slowed down or compromised in other ways.
How do you make the counter offensive successful? As mentioned above, a good rebound is the key to the attack. Good ball sales and tight defensive play will cause your opponents to make mistakes that can result in a quick break situation leading to an easy score. Good passing and dribbling are essential to the success of the fast-break offense. For example, the baseball pass, as well as the two-handed chest pass and the bounce pass must be executed well.
Also, the position of the players running the two or three lane fast break offense is important for balance and keeping the defense apart. The organization and timing of the attack are also important parts of a counterattacking offense.
The way the fast break offense is executed is influenced by the type of defense the opposing team displays. The defense may be playing a two-man zone in front of the basket or a tandem defense. The tandem defense usually places one player defending at the free throw line. The other defensive player is directly behind him and facing the basket.
If the defense is in a zone, the midfielder on the fast break could get a shot from the free throw line since the defense will most likely not come out to stop the midfielder.
In the event that the defense is in tandem, the striker’s responsibility is to slow down the dribbler. When he plays dribbler, the other defender is forced to defend the two fullbacks moving toward the basket. After passing to the wing, the defensive forward will back away from the pass to cover the other wing.
The middle man in the three lane attack should be open for a pass and the shot. The center back should always stop at the free throw line to allow an opening forcing the defense to play with the full backs. Of course, if the defense allows the center back to drive to the basket on his dribble, that becomes desirable but not likely.
Should the defense recover enough to match the offensive offense with equal numbers, the tug can break free for a basket. The trailer is usually the fourth man on the floor in the three-on-two counter attack situation. The trailer can get ahead of his defensive man to receive a short pass from the center dribbler. The center dribbler has to veer left or right about 10 feet to drag his defensive man with him. When the dribbler does this, he clears an uncontested path and allows his teammate to drive to the end or force an opponent to switch. When the change occurs, another area will open.
Generally, the rebounder who passes the ball becomes the “safety valve” and does not go past midcourt. If there is an interception or a stolen ball by the defense, the safety man can slow down the opposition when he returns to the offensive attack.
A two-in-one location
When the offensive team gains a two-on-one advantage, the attacking procedure will be almost the same as in the three-on-two situation. However, the two attacking men would split the distance from the ground to be in a position to attack the one man on the defensive.
In most cases, this position for each man will be midway between center court and sideline. If direction had to be gained, it would be towards the center of the court and not towards the sideline. The attacking dribbler should go as far as he can and try to force the defender to play him.
Many times the defense will miss on a fake pass, allowing the dribbler to go all the way. The defense can zone to force the long shot or to play the attacker after he takes off for his shot. When this occurs, the man with the ball can pass to his teammate. When the defender goes into the air to block the inning layup, he creates the opening for the other offensive man.
A two versus two placement
In this pattern, many players on offense will cross the screen to evade the defense. In case the defense is playing tight, one of them can be blocked. If the defense changes, the quick cut or roll-off is possible. When the defense loosens up to pass, the attacker can shoot over the screen set up by his teammate.
Free throw quick break
The possibility of counterattack is always present in the free kick attempt. If the free throw is made or missed, quick passes and the formation of attacking lines can result in an easy score. This pattern can be formed quickly and with the same organized plan as other counterattack attempts.
out of bounds situations
The quickness to get the ball in bounds and down the court with a long pass can surprise an unsuspecting defense. This alert state will allow you to score some quick and cheap points. The baseball pass becomes an important factor in this development.
A fast break attack during a basketball game is fun and exciting to watch, if executed successfully. However, the fast-break offense cannot be taught and perfected overnight; it takes many hours of practice for a team to learn it and do it well.