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.