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How to: Run the Fast Break


Transition offense leads to easy baskets


Although scoring can become a relatively straightforward aspect of the game as you mature, simply putting the ball into the basket can seem difficult at the start. The easiest way to resolve this is to maximize your team’s transition opportunities, which can lead to uncontested shots around the rim. This tactic has been utilized by everyone from Red Auerbach’s early Celtics dynasty to the newly-dominant Golden State offense helmed by Steve Kerr.


Always look to run: Every rebound is an opportunity for a counter-attack, before the defense can get back into position. You can even run after a made basket, as teams are allowed to pass the ball inbounds directly without officials coming into contact with the ball.


Outlet passes: Instead of concentrating on beating the man in front of you, always look up the court for early outlet chances. This applies to both guards and bigs. Beyond that, you should always know where your guards are, so that a quick, short outlet pass can be made in lieu of leak-outs.


Know your routes: There are certain patterns that teams run in transition, to spread out the defense and prevent teammates from clogging up each other’s lanes. Although this can differ from team to team, wings are generally expected to cut into the paint from the flanks, while post players will trail the play in preparation for passes or second chance opportunities.


Pass the ball: For the ball to advance as fast as possible, you have to pass the ball up the court instead of dribbling all the way. Regardless of your speed and handles, a pass will always be faster than dribbling the ball, allowing your team to take an earlier shot.


Make quick decisions: As the lead ball-handler on fast breaks, you have to make early decisions. If you delay for even half a second, a passing or scoring opportunity may dissipate. As a rule of thumb, you should have reached a decision minimally by the time you reach the top of the key or the free throw line.