Thursday, October 15, 2009

True Fastbreak Basketball: The secret is in the mindset - not the system.

Coaches all over are constantly looking for the best fastbreak "system". I personally don't believe that there is a certain system that is the perfect system for the fastbreak. I personally believe that the secret to great fastbreaking basketball is the mindset of the coach and players. If you have the mindset there are many different fastbreaks that you can run and have high scoring success with.

The coach has to be able to let go of the reins a little bit, let the players take shots (even if a few are questionable), and let the players play a little more loose for the sake of the tempo. If a coach can not give up some control to the players, the fastbreak is not going to score nearly as many points. Traditionally, high scoring teams are lead by "Maverick Coaches" (knew you missed that word after the election ended) that have a free wheeling spirit and kind of let things fly. They enjoy the pace of the game and the crazyness of it all. They are ok taking a high bulk of shots. Minnesota has had some very high scoring teams in Cass Lake-Bena and Minnesota Transitions Academy, both teams routinely go over the 100 mark. They shoot early and often with multiple players taking a high amount of quick shots. They take a lot of open threes on the break. They push the ball, let their players play a little more than some. Thus they score more points. They also have the talent, and it helps when you have talent!

As with everything else X and O related, it looks great when you have studs running it. Of course LMU was great when they had guys like Kimble, Gathers, and Fryer, because those were some great players! Same with with those Runnin' Rebel teams in the 90s look at the STUDS those guys had! Most high scoring teams are unsurprisingly lead by talented high scoring players!

I do think, however, that many of the great fastbreaks teams run have some commonalities. First of all, and most importantly, those fastbreaks are PASSING breaks. It is a given that passing is faster than dribbling, and most prolific fastbreaking teams use this type of break. These teams also use a sideline passing break. It seems passing it up the sideline, away from congestion results in quicker advancement of the ball for many teams. Most prolific fastbreaking teams use this type of system. Also, most fastbreaking teams put a high emphasis on second chance baskets and offensive rebounds. Coach Arseneault from Grinnell wants his teams to get 1/3 (33%) of their misses and Coach Porter of ONU Women's fame wants his teams collecting 40%! So great fastbreak teams take a lot of early shots, BUT they also get a lot of thier misses for second chance baskets. The last commonality of almost all prolific fastbreaking teams is that they push on makes and misses both. They are ALWAYS looking to get the ball out and run with it no matter the situation.

Something else that aids the high scoring fastbreaks teams is not their specific offensive system they run but an aggressive, pressing, trapping defense that creates live ball turnovers and easy layups or shots on the other end. Very few teams are a great fastbreaking team if they play passive half court defense, only because each possession for the opponent takes too long. It's part of why Coach Bennett's teams were never extremely high scoring although they were GREAT defensively. Grinnell College, a very well known scoring machine, would rather give up a layup after ten seconds than get a defensive stop after 30. When Coach Bennett heard that theory, I am sure he puked on his shoes. Their reasoning is that they want to push the tempo and fastbreak - they can't do that if the other team is running their offense. They would rather get a quick steal and a layup. Both Minnesota schools outlined also use an aggressive trapping system that gets them easy points.

At the end though, with most things in basketball come down to the Billys and Joes running those Xs and Os. If you have a great team, you are going to score a lot of points regardless of the system you run. And if you let go a little bit, your team is going to score more regardless of if you are running the Grinnell, LMU, North Carolina, Olivet, or UNLV fast breaking system.

1 comment:

Joel said...

grinnell does not use a sideline break. they break down the middle.