YOUTH BASKETBALL TRANSITION DEFENSE



by Trevor Sumner



Few things can swing the momentum of a basketball game like the fast break. Transition basketball is designed to get easy and quick offensive opportunities before the defense can get into place. In fact, some teams make the fast break their dominant style of play. Your youth team will be able to accomplish its defensive goals and increase its chances of winning by properly defending the fast break.

While the obvious and most full proof way to stop your opponent's break would be to always have your entire team back on defense, it is a simple fact that throughout the course of a game, there will be times when your opponent has a numbers advantage. Your youth basketball team should devote practice time to both transitioning back on defense and how to defend a fast break when you don't have everyone back.

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Priority number one is hustling back on defense. Once your opponent has secured a defensive rebound every player on your team has the responsibility to transition as quickly as possible to the defensive end. The best route is straight down the floor and into the key area. That helps prevent easy baskets. Once in or near the paint, locate your man or defensive position. It is key that someone stops the progression of the ball. Also, most coaches train their point guards to forgo offensive rebounding and stay back near mid court when a shot goes up to have at least one person back to defend the fast break. It is usually this player that is charged with stopping the ball.

Remember, your opponent will have a much more difficult time executing their fast break if you are active on the offensive boards. Some coaches also like to harass the rebounder to slow the outlet pass.

If you do find yourself outnumbered in transition you have a couple of options. If your opponent has a three on two advantage, the first defender should stop the ball. The second defender should go to the first pass to contest a shot. The first defender that stopped the ball should then drop into the paint and protect the basket until more help arrives. If you are alone on defense, remain in the key area and use jab steps to attempt to stop the dribble. If you can force an outside shot or an extra pass or two, you have done your job.

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Below are some tips for defending the fast break as well as some drills for your youth basketball team's practice. You can also find more free basketball skills & drills videos and tutorials online at websites like Weplay.com.

Basketball Tips for Defending the Fast Break

* Be active on the offensive glass.
* Harass the rebounder to hinder the outlet pass.
* Hustle back on defense to the key area and find your man. * Stop the progress of the ball.
* Use jab steps and stay inside the key if you are your team's only defense against a fast break.
* Communicate with your teammates about who is stopping the ball and where your opponents are.



Fast Break Basketball Drills

* Chase Drill
This is also a drill for fast break offense and defense. Make two lines under a basket. The players in one line will be trying to go full court for a layup. The players in the other line will try to stop the layup. The coach throws a ball slightly ahead of the offensive player. The defensive player cannot begin "chase" until the offensive player has touched the ball, giving them a slight head start. The chaser should be able to make up ground because they do not have to dribble the ball. The offensive player is trying to score without letting the chaser catch up. If the defender is able to sprint past the dribbler and establish defensive position, that is what they should do. If they are unable to get into defensive position, they can attempt to knock the ball away, or contest the lay up, preferably without fouling. The players trade lines and continue.

* Three on Two
This drill also works for practicing your fast break, but in this example, the focus will be on defense. Send two players to the far basket as defenders. Three players will remain near the opposing basket. The coach will then throw the ball off the glass and the team of three will rebound the ball, make an outlet pass, and fill the lanes on a fast break to the end where the two defenders wait. As the team approaches, the first defender should stop the dribble of the player with the ball. If the ball is passed, the second defender follows the ball to contest a shot. The first defender who stopped the ball drops to the middle of the key to protect the basket and hinder a skip pass. If a shot is attempted, both defenders go for the rebound.

By Trevor Sumner who works for Weplay.com, a youth basketball community dedicated to providing parents, coaches and athletes the tools and information to celebrate the love of the game. Weplay.com has one of the most comprehensive, free basketball drill libraries in its active basketball community.

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