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Team Sports Strategies - Basketball - Getting Running Off The Opposition's Missed Free Throws


Get Running Off The Opposition's Missed Free Throws

By Dietrick Carr, Retired Basketball Coach, Benicia, Calif.

In keeping with my coaching theory for controlling tempo and keeping constant pressure on the opposing defense, I devised a defensive free-throw alignment that would accomplish this.

Our teams have had a lot of success with this foul-line formation over the years. By design, it allows for a multitude of positive possibilities.

1. The basic alignment keeps the defense spread out, forcing them to adjust to a free-throw formation they’ve seldom seen before.

2. Keeping players 1 and 2 (your best ball handlers) in a tandem formation, makes it more difficult to defend.

3. Fast breaking off either a made or missed free throw keeps the opponents from setting up any type of effective full-court pressure defense.

This scheme can also easily adjust to any moves your opponent may use. You can, for example, have your best two guards in the half-court position, switch assignments, bring them up diagonally or have them break deep for a long pass, depending on your opponent’s adjustments.

It’s easy to install into your system and your players will enjoy the up-tempo style of play that it encourages.

Middle Fast Break

Diagram 1 shows your basic alignment. Diagrams 2 and 3 show an example of a fast break off a missed free throw when 3 secures a long rebound — which is called the “middle fast break.”


DIAGRAM 1: Basic Alignment

DIAGRAM 2: Middle Fast Break (A). 2 screens for 1, who breaks toward the middle and receives a pass from 3.

DIAGRAM 3: Middle Fast Break (B). 1 drives the middle, while 2 and 3 fill the lanes. 5 is a trailer.
Sideline Fast Break


Diagrams 4 and 5 show our sideline break when 4 secures the rebound. If 5 grabs the rebound, we flip-flop assignments.

DIAGRAM 4: Sideline Break (A). 4 rebounds and passes to 3, who is sprinting to the sideline. 2 screens for 1, who breaks past half court to the sideline.

DIAGRAM 5: Sideline Break (B). 3 passes to 1 then breaks to the middle of the floor. 1 passes to 2 on the sideline, while 5 fills the outside lane.


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