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Basketball Basics: Practicing The Fast Break
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One of the most effective basketball basics is to run the fast break in a game. Our players need to know when to run the fast break and how to run it effectively. This article describes how to practice the fast break so that it is done well by your team in the games.

It is first important that the coaches and the players commit to the fast break as a vital part of the team offense. This commitment involves physical conditioning so that our players will not tire late in the game or sooner. The commitment also involves a consistency in running the fast break in certain situations. The fast break is not to be done haphazardly but consciously by players who recognize the right situations in which to do it. Those situations are right after a turnover, a long rebound, and when your rebounder can dribble quickly out of the pack.

These situations can be practiced over and over during practice time. In the first situation, a player can steal the ball from a dribbling coach and start the fast break. His/her 4 teammates on the court quickly join the fast break by running fast to fill the left and right lanes and also have a "trailer" run fast to the foul line area. The players then complete the fast break. The ball possessor makes a decision at the foul line area to pass to an open teammate closer to the basket or take a makeable shot at that point. All 5 players then follow the shot and eagerly go for the offensive rebound. This sequence can then be practiced for the other 2 fast break situations. When the players can do it well without defense, they can then start to practice it with defense getting back. Coaches can reinforce fast break effectiveness by reminding all 5 players when to start the fast break, by encouraging the players to run as fast as they can, and by instructing where the first and maybe the second pass should go.

It is helpful to time how long it takes to complete the fast break. Players can try to beat their previous best time. They can also try to finish the fast break consistently under a designated time. It is also useful to keep track of the outcomes of the fast break. Of course, the best outcome is a score. The 2nd best outcome is getting a makeable shot. The third best outcome is to try the fast break and to maintain possession of the ball. The one outcome that we do not want is a turnover by our team.

The large majority of winning teams have developed an effective fast break. Will you consider making it one of your team's basketball basics this season? In this way you increase your team's chances of winning while having fun along the way. 


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