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Fast Break Basketball Drill - Defensive Transition

Updated on June 19, 2013

If you coach or play basketball, you know that there can be nothing more demoralizing than the opposing team scoring quick fast break points. I watched a high school game a few weeks ago in which the less-skilled team was leading by double digits at the half. The reason for their lead was that they had a girl who immediately ran down the court for an easy layup every time her team got the ball. The opposing coach repeatedly (and futilely) yelled "Get Back!!!".

So how do you teach your team to play good transition defense? The first step is just to make sure that they get in the habit of sprinting back to play defense every time they lose possession. All too often, players get stuck "watching" the game while forgetting they are playing it it. Here is a drill that you can do in practice that will help develop this habit, along with other skills.

3 v. 3 Defensive Transition

1.Have your team line up in three lines across the baseline (similar to a 3 man weave drill). The first person in each line steps out to the free throw line and faces the line they came from. The 3 players at the free throw line will be on defense; the 3 players at the front of the baseline lines will be on offense.

2. The coach (or manager) tosses the ball to the person at the front of any of the 3 lines. The offensive team takes the ball, runs and attempts to score on the other end. The will have a brief 3 v.2 fast break opportunity.

3. Meanwhile whoever was standing across from the player who got the ball must run and touch the wall (that they are facing) before they can run back and play defense. The other two sprint back to play defense immediately. (This is what causes the brief 3v2 fast break).

4. If the offense scores, the defense returns and plays defense again. If they get a stop, the offense goes back and plays defense. The defenders can wait on that end until everyone gets down there. Then the drill repeats itself on the way back.

Points of Emphasis:

1. For an effective fast break, the offense should always get the ball to the middle of the floor - dribbling or passing it there.

2. One of the two defenders must focus on stopping the ball as their first priority.

3. After a shot goes up, the defense must focus on boxing out. The drill is not over until they get the ball, or it goes out of bounds!


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