While a fast break in basketball may look like an unorganized play, teams that fast break efficiently are ones who follow a very disciplined set of rules. Those rules include staying in the proper lanes, finding guards on outlet passes and knowing when to pass the ball.
One way to teach these skills to players is through the 11-man drill. The drill, which requires a minimum of 11 players, works on all these aspects of the fast break, while also providing the team with a chance for conditioning due to its fast paced nature.
The set up of the 11-man fast break drill starts with two players in one key and two players in the other key. They will serve as defenders to start the drill.
Three players should be lined up along the center court line spread out. Before the drill, players should be instructed to visualize the court cut into thirds.
Since the drill will always have three players on offense and two on defense, those will serve as the lanes for running the fast break.
The remaining four players will be divided up, each standing off the court even with the free throw line. They will be the players receiving the outlet pass.
The drill starts with the three offensive players at midcourt, taking the ball and going on offense against one set of the two defenders in the key. The offensive players can dribble, pass or shoot just like it was a regular fast break.
Once a shot goes up and the defense gets the ball either through a rebound or grabbing the ball through the net, the player with the ball outlets to one of the outlet players near the sideline.
The player who rebounded the ball will then transfer to offense while the other defender will remain on defense along with the player that took the shot. The two other offensive players will take the spots of the two outlet players.
The player who rebounded the ball will fill one of the two outside lanes depending on which outlet player is leading the break. This is an area where coaches can modify the drill. Either the fast break leader can be anyone who gets the ball, or the fast break leader must be a guard.
However the coach decides to set up the drill will affect the player that rebounded the ball. That player must fill the side that is vacated by the fast break leader.
This “second” fast break is more like a regular fast break with players transitioning from defense to offense and having to hustle up the floor.
Just like on the other end, the offensive group attempts to score by dribbling, passing or shooting. The defender who gets the rebound will outlet the ball and fill the lane just like the rebounder on the other end of the court did.
The shooter will stay on defense along with the non-rebounding defender, while the other two offensive players move to the outside to become the outlet players.
The drill continues like that until the coach calls for it to halt.
One way to speed up the drill and try to get players to work with more efficiency is to limit the number of passes an offensive team can make.
Since most fast breaks work best with one or two passes on the offensive end, limiting the offensive team to two or three passes will force the offense to find shots quickly.
Also, limiting the number of passes keeps the drill moving giving players less time to rest if the drill is doubling as a way to condition players.
Fast breaks are a part of basketball and even teams that run slow down offenses can at times find themselves on fast breaks.
Teams that run high-tempo offense or a secondary fast break type offense will definitely find a need to run the 11-man fast break drill.
But for other teams, the great thing about the 11-man fast break drill is that it not only teaches teams how to fast break, it teaches teams how to defend against the fast break.
By putting players players in a situation where they outnumbered, they start to read passing lanes and get a feel for tendencies players have when passing making them better all around defenders.
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