Basketball Fast Break

Most of the time in a basketball game, the more shots you take, the more points you score. In fact, a GREAT goal for any basketball team should be to get a SHOT every time the team gains possesion of the basketball. Have you ever thought about that? In youth basketball games, it is common to find that over half the time the youth team gets the ball, they DO NOT get a shot.

As basketball coaches, we sometimes are a little too proud of our Offense and Plays and want our kids to really set it up, run it, and execute. But, youth basketball players will get plenty of that type of coaching as they grow up and play at higher levels. Not to say that some structure is not important, but we think it is fine to bring it up and shoot it within the first or second pass. We like to change sides of the floor and reverse the ball, and we like to throw it inside, but we are also good if we bring the ball up and shoot it if we are open.

It is better to take what some coaches would call a bad shot, than not take a shot at all. There is always a chance of an offensive rebound and second shot. Generally, we like to tell the kids that GOOD things happen when we shoot, and we want them ALL to SHOOT IT!

A 5th grade team that scores 40 points or more in a game, will have fun and get better regardless of the win/loss record, because the kids are moving, passing, dribbling, and SHOOTING.

The Basketball Fast Break is key to playing this way!

The Outlet Pass

The concept of TRANSITION, in other words, having 5 players IMMEDIATLEY convert from Defense to Offense, is important to get the kids to understand. It is a fact that the kids will generally run harder when their team has the ball, than when they are running back on defense. So, there is an advantage with the fast break.

The first step on the fast break is THE OUTLET PASS.

The outlet pass should be made on the ball side of the rebound or steal - free throw line extended - one step from out of bounds on the sideline. The outlet pass should be made wide and NOT in the middle of the floor.

The Basketball Fast Break Structure

We give the kids a number - 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

This allows us to assign responsibilities and spots for each player on the break.

1 - gets the outlet pass

2 and 3 - are exactly the same - they each pick a different side of the floor and SPRINT to the other end.

4 - sprints to the top of the key.

5 - sprints to the rim and then post on the ball side block.

As Player 1 brings the ball up the floor we want him to pick a side and NOT be in the middle of the floor. This is different than a lot of coaches teach the fast break.

As Player 1 crosses half court, if he only see's 2 or fewer defensive players back, we are going attack the basket to shoot the ball within 5 seconds if possible. Most coaches will call this a Primary Break.

If there are 3 are more defenders back, we will go to the spots shown above and first look to throw it in to Player 5 on the post. Most coaches will call this a Secondary Break.

Ball Reversal

As we bring the ball to one side we also bring the defense strongly to that side of the floor. Now the ball Reversal happens.

As 1 reads Player 5's defender - if the defense is playing on hte high side, we pass to Player 2 in the corner, and after 5 leg whips and seals the defender high away from the basket, Player 2 passes to 5 for a lay-up.

If Player 5 is played low or behind, we reverse the ball to Player 4 and look high-low to 5, then continue the reveersal to Player 3 looking for 5 posting on the other block.

Please see diagram below for diagram of this action.

Player 1, 2, 4, and 3 are all threats to SHOOT IT if they are not guarded closely. Player 1, getting the ball lower than Player 4 initially, will create a terrific Backdoor Cut opportunity for Player 4 on the ball reversal. If Player 4 is overplayed in the passing lane, the defender will likely have feet parallel to the passing lane in order to see the ball below. Player should "break the noodle" and cut backdoor to the basket.

As we contimue the ball reversal to Player 3, we look hard inside for 5. Any of the players can drive to the basket if their defender is too close - Explode Step, Explode Crossover, Rocker - Jab Step, Shot Fake all in effect.

The spacing and timing of the set will provide great opportunities for the kids to PLAY with their fundamental skills. Most of the dribble drive penetration is met with help rotation from Player 5's defender and create a perfect 3D - Drive, Draw, Dish opportunity.

There are many other options for continuity out of this Basketball Fast Break. We have found that youth basketball teams can become very successful at playing a quicker paced game under control with this type of break.


- Goal is to get a SHOT every time we get the ball

- Get the ball down the court and SHOOT IT before the defense gets back

- Outlet Pass is KEY - wide on the ball side of the rebound

- 2 or fewer defenders back - shoot it within 5 seconds

- 3 or more defenders back - bring it down the side - look inside - reverse and ball - BE A PLAYER from Triple Threat Position when you catch it!

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