Preventing & Limiting
Fast Break Opportunities
- Take care of the ball offensively. Fast break basketball thrives on turnovers and bad shots.
- Have good shot selection. Take open shots with teammates in offensive rebounding position. No off balance or rushed shots.
- Employ sharp, accurate passing. Eliminate all unforced turnovers (bad passes and violations).
- Go to the offensive boards. Force the opponent wings to defend (box out) against offensive rebounds instead of leaving early on fast break.
- Maintain defensive balance. Especially on three point shots, where long rebounds can trigger a fast break.
- It is imperative to have vision on the ball at all times. This is especially true when in defensive transition. Defenders should NEVER run back on defense with their backs to the ball.
- Since most passers telegraph their passes, maintain vision on the ball handler's eyes.
- Aggressively rebound (box out) and do not give the opponent any second chances.
- Break off opponent's turnovers and missed shots. Up tempo, fast breaking teams are very susceptible to counter attacks.
Maintaining Defensive Balance
Offensively, players should know their rebounding and defensive responsibilities on all shots.
On offense, every set play and pattern must have offensive rebounding and defensive balance components built-in. Defensive safety responsibility does not mean standing at midcourt. The defensive safety can be in the baseline corner or wing as long as they are moving toward midcourt as the shot takes place.
It is very difficult to win if you get only one shot. This is why teams should strive to establish two offensive rebounds on the weakside on all shots.
Defensive Balance on Fast Breaks
If/when a player is not filling primary lane, they should hold up at half court and observe the action. If a shot opportunity is not available on the initial break, then they should continue into early offense flow. However, if the defense should gain ball possession, they are in good position to eliminate or stop any counter fast break.
Turning a 3-on-1 break into a 5-on-1 break is "stupid" hustle. It leaves a team very vulnerable to a quick counter break. There is nothing more demoralizing than to score on an easy break only to have the opponents retaliate at the other end with an easy layup of their own.
Defensive Transition Rule
Always Seek the Level of the Ball
All defensive players must strive to stay ahead of the ball. Adherence to this rule will always provide the numerical advantage to the defense. Players do not need to guard or be concerned with any offensive opponent in the back court behind the ball.
Maintain Ball Vision
Never trot back on defense with your back to the ball. On all turnovers or missed shot rebounds, defenders must sprint back on defense seeing the ball at all times by looking over shoulder. Watch the ball handler's eyes. Almost all passers telegraph their passes.