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Seven Benefits to Running a Fast Break Offense

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Everybody loves a well executed fast break and it may very well be the most beautiful and exciting thing to watch in the game of basketball. In fact, last night my team grabbed a rebound, outletted the ball and by the time we scored a layup at the other end, all five players had touched the ball and the ball never hit the ground. It was perfect and everyone in the gym was impressed - including me!

Entertaining fans and promoting teamwork are definitely two very positive by products of running an effective fast break but they are not the main reasons that should be considered. Here are 7 reasons why and how a well taught and well executed transition offense can influence your entire game plan:

1. Eliminates full court pressure

Inbounding the ball quickly and running some type of fast break immediately after made field goals and free throws makes defenses think twice about pressing. If their Bigs are deep on the press they have to be fast enough to beat your wings down the floor. If they are up front then they are constantly chasing the ball as you attack.

2. Spurtability

Teams that run always have the ability of quickly blowing a game wide open. Leads can go from 4 to 10 to 20 in the blink of an eye. Likewise a team that can run and score quickly is never out of the game even if they fall behind in the beginning as they are only a couple of rebounds and steals from catching back up.

3. Difficult to prepare for

It's extremely hard to start preparing on Wednesday for a Friday night game with a team that fast breaks at every opportunity. This is even truer in tournaments when teams may not have any actual court time to prepare.

4. Reduces/Eliminates playing 5 on 5

Playing 5 on 5 favors the defense by making the court smaller but playing 4 on 4 or 3 on 3 opens up the court and gives the advantage to the offense. And of course you won't lose all season if you can constantly play 4 on 3 or 3 on 2.

5. Forces defenses to "pick their poison"

When teams run on almost every possession the opposition is faced with a tough decision. Do they get back and protect the rim, thus accepting the risk of giving up wide open 3's or do they lock on to the perimeter shooters and risk giving up layups to relentless rim runners? That's a tough decision and one that most coaches would rather not make. Of course, if you walk the ball down the court opposing coaches never have to make that decision.

6. Creates open court mismatches

In my opinion, Bigs who can run are the toughest matchup in basketball. If my post can beat yours down the floor your guard will be forced to pick him up in order to stop the layup. Even so we may get a quick post up before the defender can get any help. If that happens my guard is going to stop right above the three point line and look for the pass. At best the entire defense needs to scramble in order to cover up!

7. Reduces offensive rebounds and putbacks

Constantly running forces the defense (especially the post players) to make a decision - battle for the rebound and then sprint back make or miss; or leave a step early to help stop the break. Teams that leave early aren't going to get as many put backs and more importantly aren't going to draw as many fouls.

Running an effective transition game on offense provides your team with all 7 of the above benefits - and if it entertains your fans and promotes team work at the same time then all the better!

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