How to Run the Modern Basketball Two Side Fast Break

In the ever-evolving world of basketball strategy, innovations and concepts often emerge from a combination of meticulous film study and insightful conversations with coaching peers across the globe. One such groundbreaking concept that has gained prominence in recent years is the “Two Side Fast Break.”

This dynamic offensive strategy, meticulously packaged together through extensive film analysis and collaborative discussions with coaches from diverse basketball backgrounds, has reshaped the traditional fast break approach. In this blog, we embark on a journey to uncover the origin of the Two Side Fast Break, delving into its evolution, principles, and impact on the game. Through a blend of historical insights, strategic breakdowns, and firsthand experiences, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of this innovative concept and its significance in modern basketball. Join us as we explore the origins of the Two Side Fast Break and discover how it has revolutionized offensive tactics on the basketball court.

TRADITIONAL TRANSITION SPACING

A conversation in 2016 with former Detroit Pistons video coordinator, and current Birmingham Squadron head coach, TJ Saint sparked my interest in the two side fast break. According to Coach Saint, 14% of corner three-point shots from four NBA teams he studied (Cleveland, Houston, Boston and Utah) were created out of the transition to the two side via passes out on the fast break. With access to Synergy, I immediately dove into researching this concept. I, like many coaches, have traditionally trailed a player (most often a forward) to the trailing spot (free throw lane extended on the weak side of the floor) on the fast break. I was never a fan of this trail post concept on the fast break, but it was what I knew so I used it.

I didn’t like using a trail player off the lane line because my point guards were usually my most effective players at penetrating to the basket. Having a player 15 feet away created only a single gap for my best dribble penetration match-up. The problem with a single gap is that a player on defense is one pass away from help. This takes away space. Learn more about single and double gaps here:

CREATING ADVANTAGE WITH THE SKIP PASS

A single gap spacing on the fast break also limited our ability to skip pass on the fast break. Why is a skip pass advantageous in transition? The main reason is because most transition defensive systems encourage players to recover to the ball side, and to load the middle of the floor with the rest of the recovering defenders. To take advantage of a defense’s tendency to recover down the middle of the floor, a fast break offense needs to move the ball as quickly, and directly as possible, to the weak side. Running two players to the weak side of the floor and filling the two side on the fast break gives us this opportunity. Learn more about defensive transition: Defensive Transition: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About

Since the goal of the offense is to create space, we were helping the defense achieve their goal of taking away space. Our preference on the fast break is to create double gaps for potential dribble penetration, cutting and ball movement opportunities. Double gaps cause a defense to space out more to cover a gap, and a check.

Another problem with using the trailing spot for spacing is that it unintentionally seemed to emphasize a secondary fast break, over a primary fast break. Our fast break more often than not lead to us running offensive actions rather than attacking. I largely attribute this to the fact that our players recognized there was little space for attacking actions off the primary fast break so they settled for the secondary fast break.

ADVANTAGES OF THE TWO SIDE FAST BREAK

The advantages of the two side fast break lie in its ability to maximize offensive efficiency, create scoring opportunities, and exploit defensive mismatches. Here are some key advantages:

  • Spacing: By spreading players evenly across both sides of the court, the two side fast break creates optimal spacing, forcing defenders to cover a wider area. This spacing opens up driving lanes and passing lanes, making it more challenging for defenders to collapse on the ball handler.
  • Options: With players positioned on both sides of the court, the two side fast break provides multiple scoring options. Ball handlers can attack the rim, kick out to open shooters on the perimeter, or find cutting teammates for easy baskets. This versatility keeps defenders guessing and puts pressure on the defense to cover all offensive threats.
  • Transition: The two side fast break allows teams to quickly capitalize on transition opportunities. By immediately spreading out to both sides of the court, teams can advance the ball up the floor and initiate their offense before the defense can set up. This puts the defense on its heels and increases the likelihood of scoring in transition.
  • Ball Movement: With players spaced out on both sides of the court, the two side fast break encourages quick ball movement and player movement. This constant motion forces defenders to scramble and makes it difficult for them to stay in position. As a result, offenses can exploit defensive breakdowns and find open shots.
  • Offensive Rebounding: By having players spread out on both sides of the court, teams have better rebounding opportunities on missed shots. Offensive players can crash the boards from different angles, increasing their chances of securing offensive rebounds and second-chance points.

Overall, the two side fast break offers teams a strategic advantage by maximizing spacing, creating scoring options, and capitalizing on transition opportunities. It is a versatile offensive tactic that can be effective against a variety of defensive schemes.

I understand this concept is not for every coach’s philosophy. I read a quote from highly successful Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale about challenging your thinking as a coach. Coale said that as coaches we should, “Stay fresh as a coach with the game. It is easy to get busy….that you don’t change and expose yourself to different things. It works for me, and other coaches, who want to.”

Also, I would like to add that she is a Basketball Immersion member – and that her thought process is what I hope Basketball Immersion provokes as well.

Two Side Fast Break Course

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