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Transition Game


Over the years, our best teams have scored early or scored late. However, scoring early is not without a price. It is predicated on how well a team plays defense, rebounds, and runs the floor. This is made possible by contesting all shots, blocking out, and filling the proper fast break lanes. Remember that easy baskets are the result of hard work. You can never rebound or run the floor too much.


Fastbreak Offense



The bottom line is: if we don’t rebound, we don’t run! Every player must find a body, make a hit, and pursue the ball. Once possession of the ball is secured, the remaining players need to assume the following positions:

  1. The closest guard (#1) fills the ball side outlet box.

  2. The next two players (#2-#3) become long cutters and sprint down the sidelines. If possible, (#2) runs the right lane and (#3) the left.

  3. The ball is always passed ahead to the open man.



After a made basket, our roles are a little more defined but still interchangeable:

  1. (#4) is responsible for inbounding the ball (2-seconds or less).

  2. (#1) fills the outlet box with his butt squared to the sideline and two hands up. On the catch: turn toward the middle, look and go!

  3. (#2) and (#3) fill the lanes as long cutters.

  4. (#5) fills the middle lane and runs the rim.

  5. If (#1) is not open, (#5) returns and becomes our pressure release.


Five-Second Break

It is our goal to make our opponent “think defense” while they are on offense! In order to do this we must continually attack the basket. If you are behind the ball, get ahead. If you are ahead of the ball, get wide. If you are ahead and wide, but not open, change sides. With this said, time is of the essence:

  • 2.5 Seconds – Long cutters to the freethrow line extended.

  • 3.5 Seconds – First big running the rim.

  • 4.5 Seconds – Long cutters changing sides (if needed).

  • 5.0 Seconds – Total time allotted to fastbreak.


Primary Break

A primary break is when we have more offensive players attacking the basket than defense (one to two defenders back). If this is the case, we must fill the proper lanes and attack the basket! Long cutters are to get ahead, get wide and cut to the basket (freethrow line extended).

  1. Center the ball and assume the odd lanes (3-on-2 break).

  2. Long cutters remain wide and then cut to the basket freethrow line extended.

  3. Go to the basket if the defense fails to stop the ball.

  4. Merge a 3-on-1 break into a 2-on-1 break (dribble at your better shooter and away from your best finisher).

  5. Fill the even lanes (2-on-1 break).

  6. Be under control and ready to quick stop near the key area. An offensive charge would be detrimental at this point.

  7. Do not overpass! One to three passes are usually sufficient. Keep in mind, since we have the numbers, an open fifteen foot jumpshot is high percentage because we have the advantage on the boards.

  8. The air pass is the most efficient pass on the break. Stay away from the bounce pass.

  9. Pass ahead diagonally – also known as advancing the ball to the “impossible zone”.

  10. Be careful not to pass to a player in trouble. For example, a big man with poor ball handling skills should not have to catch and dribble on the run or in traffic.

Primary Break Results

When executed properly, the primary fastbreak should create positive offensive situations that yield one of the following results:

  • 1-on-1: Lay-up or foul.

  • 2-on-1: Lay-up or foul (limit passes).

  • 3-on-2: Lay-up or short jumper (Middle man fills the ball side freethrow line elbow).

  • 4-on-2 or 5-on-2: Lay-up or short jumper.


Secondary Break | Quick

If the numbers are not in our favor (three or more defenders back), (#1) favors a sideline and passes ahead to a long cutter (#2). Our first big man (#5) down the floor runs the rim and (#4) trails the play. From this set we look for the following options:

  1. Basket cut (#1) through the lane and post (#5) on the left landmark.

  2. Swing the ball from the first side of the floor to the second side. In doing so, look high-low.

  3. If (#1) is unable to pass ahead to a long cutter, pass to (#4) trailing and immediately set double-stagger screens.


Press Breaks



To break fullcourt man-to-man pressure, we run what we call “Jailbreak”:

  1. (#5) squares his butt to the ball and screens diagonally for (#1). It is important both players read each other and cut opposite.

  2. After the inbounds, we clear out and allow our primary (#1) ball handler to advance the ball up the floor.

  3. If (#1) is denied, pass to (#5) and then to (#1) diagonally cutting to the middle of the floor.

  4. Both long cutters (#2 & #3) should always be prepared to come back and meet the ball.

  5. Finally, the inbounder (#4) must always remain one step below the line of the ball as our trailer.


Tips vs. “Hot” Pressure:

We always want a diagonal cut and then a middle flash. This results in “three near and one deep”. This rule applies to all hot calls – back court and front court.

  1. Turn, Look and Go Rule: Anytime you catch the ball immediately turn toward the middle, look and go (or pass opposite).

  2. Try to make at least 2 passes before dribbling – and then, if you dribble, make two guard you and pass ahead.

  3. If you flash, but do not receive the ball, replace yourself.


Get the ball to the right person in the right place at the right time.


Jailbreak | Parallels

“Parallels” is our alignment versus pressure. We can easily assume “three-across” (parallel to the baseline) out of our transition game. (#3), (#5) and (#2) read the “hot” situation and comeback in their lanes willing to meet the ball. Consider the following tips:

  1. When the ball is passed to the middle, (#5) immediately turns and looks opposite.

  2. If the ball is passed to either sideline, (#5) diagonal cuts, and then the opposite long cutter flashes to the middle (“Jordan Cut”).

  3. Inbounder (#4) must always serve as the trailer (step behind line of the ball).


Parallels | 5 Deep

The beauty of “Parallels” is how versatile it is. Often, versus zone pressure, we will place (#5) deep and line (#3), (#1) and (#2) “three-across” (parallel to the baseline). Consider the following tips:

  1. When the ball is passed to the middle, (#1) immediately turns and looks opposite.

  2. If the ball is passed to either sideline, (#1) diagonal cuts, and then the opposite long cutter flashes to the middle. (#4) serves as the trailer.

  3. If (#4) is unable to inbounds, he is to run the baseline and pass to (#3).

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