1. Fun to Play, Fun to Coach
If I was still playing I would want to get out and fast break! There is more individual freedom, more creativity, more shots, and more scoring.
I have nothing personal against soccer but I would have a tough time playing for 90 minutes and have the score end up 1-0.
When it comes to coaching, fun is a much bigger factor than it used to years ago.
If you're coaching a playing style that is obviously fun then more athletes will come out for your team and you'll put more fans in the stands. It will also be more fun for you to go to practice every day.
2. Hard to Prepare For
Conditioning and intensity are the two most difficult things to prepare for when it comes to getting ready for your next game.
It is nearly impossible to convince your players that "We're playing Stricklin's team in two days and so we better get in shape because they want to run, run, run on every possession!"
If they haven't prepared for your running game from day one then their only other option is to try and slow you down. The time they need to spend in practice on trying to slow down your fast break is less time that they can spend working on perfecting their own stuff.
3. Wears Out Opponents
I've been in countless games that were close until the final seven minutes or so when conditioning suddenly became a huge factor. Shots started falling short, rebounders were a step slow getting to the ball, and decisions were a little shaky. So if you constantly fast break then your opponents either need to be in unbelievably good shape or they need a much deeper bench.
The first of your opponents to fatigue will undoubtedly be their post players. We set a goal to have our post players get three layups each half off of the fast break. Even if we don't reach that goal our posts are sprinting down the floor for the entire game. When the opposing post starts playing from the top of the key to the top of the key then he is no longer a factor in the game and his team is suddenly much "smaller."
4. Speeds up the Overall Tempo of the Game
Faster pace means more possessions; more passes that need to be made and more decisions that need to be executed quickly. Lots of coaches have the need to control each and every possession and that's tough to do when you are playing at break neck speed. If the other coach is uncomfortable with the speed of the game then he will likely pass on his anxiety to his players. More turnovers and poor shot selection are often the end result of being physically and mentally stressed out from playing faster than accustomed.
5. Provide Opportunities for Cheap Baskets
When it comes to our defense I always want to play 5 on 5 but when on offense I would much rather play 4 on 2 or 3 on 1. Running the fast break gives my team the opportunity to do exactly that. If we can play with a numbers advantage then we should get more open shots which should result in a higher shooting percentage.
There is a couple possible down sides to fast breaking but they are only minor compared to the potential benefits. In fact, the benefits outweigh the negatives so drastically that it's really hard to believe that not every single team fast breaks to at least some degree!
by Dave Stricklin
Back to basketball articles main page
Please feel free to comment: