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PostPosted: 08 Aug 2017, 09:18 

Posts: 7
Just wondering if anyone else has tried running a numbered fast break with a 6th grade team. I am considering implementing one this upcoming season. The 6th grade team I coach is very typical of most teams that age in that I have a few players with the physical strength and coordination to throw and catch passes up the court, a few who can do it with some success, and some who struggle.

Just as some background, in 4th grade we pretty much had a free-for-all bringing the ball up the court. We would just grab the rebound and go. In 5th grade we focused more on a few kids bringing the ball up during games, but during practice would involve everyone with ball handling duties to improve skills. Maybe others don’t agree with that and I struggle with what is right in regard to ball handling duties in games. We had two offenses last year as 5th graders. A 5 out pass and cut/pass and screen away motion offense and a ball screen continuity offense. I believe both can be flowed into directly using a numbered fast break.

Out of all the Breakthrough Basketball DVD’s I own I think my favorite is the 4 second fast break one. In my experience one of the most challenging things in youth basketball is initiating a half-court offense when the ball is walked/jogged up the court by the point guard vs a set defense. Regardless if you are running a motion offense, continuity, or some type of set play it often involves some type of pass to the wing to get things initiated which is often picked off because the defense knows it’s coming. I know you can work on V cuts and such to get open, but I feel like really pushing the ball up the court would lessen some of those issues (which we would obviously continue working on in practice) and get you right into your offense just like the DVD suggests.

I am a firm believer in making the right pass (one you can throw comfortably without having to wind up and heave it with all your strength) even if it results in the occasional bad pass and extra turnover. For example, if you have someone open ahead of you 1 v 0 or 2 v 1 I believe the pass should be thrown ahead regardless of who is ahead of you. If the kid with the worst hands on the team is ahead of everyone by 15 feet and he drops a pass put right on his hands I still think that is the right pass because next year he is going to catch that pass and finish if you keep working on it.

To summarize my questions are:
1.) Has anyone run a numbered fast break with 11 and 12 year olds?
2.) If so, do you run it strictly by the book, or do you allow some type of leeway as far as having multiple people on the floor who bring the ball up and everyone else just fills the lanes?
3.) In the DVD it mentions throwing the ball ahead to someone who can “handle the situation”. How do you coach that at a young age? I would personally feel uncomfortable saying don’t throw the ball to specific players even if I know a dropped pass and/or turnover is highly likely.
4.) Does the numbered fast break at a youth age actually materialize in game situations at such a young age? I could see doing the drills in practice, but not seeing any resemblance of it in a real game. I guess if anything they would be good conditioning and skill building drills.


PostPosted: 08 Aug 2017, 14:34 
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I have tried all types of fast breaks with kids around the 6th grade age. All worked with moderate success. For us, all our players can handle the ball because we work on it at an early age. So anything we try works and I don't think one type of break is better than the other. The biggest factor is what you believe in and the ability of the players you have.

- Traditional numbered break. Only disadvantage is players can be pigeonholed. We like all our kids to get at least some experience with all positions.. 1 to 5.

- Hybrid numbered break (choose PG and/or post... everyone else is interchangeable).

- Interchangeable break... closet player to ball is inbounder. Next closest is PG. Other players fill wings first. Then fill strong side post next. This is usually what we run. On occasion I will specify our PG and/or inbounder.

- At youth level we say if a person is ahead of you and open... give it to them. Everyone should get to touch the ball because we're trying to develop them.

- If you spend enough time on the break and emphasize, it will materialize. Not always but 6th graders can certainly do it in games. But just like anything,,, you have game slippage.

Jeff Haefner

PostPosted: 08 Aug 2017, 14:57 

Posts: 7
Thanks for the response Jeff. I guess I'll find out in a few months who has worked on their ball handling this summer and who hasn't touched a ball since last March. I agree with your comment about the ball handling development at a young opens up a whole new world of opportunities if everyone on the team can handle the ball.

Keep up the great work on the products!

PostPosted: 06 Nov 2017, 12:11 

Posts: 8
I know this may not answer you question, but I used a 1-4 "Line" press breaker for my 5th grade team in our first game of the season yesterday and it was quite successful. We never had enough kids to run it against a defense, but it didn't matter, we were too fast for the other team.

Downside so far is too much dribling, but I'm going to work on getting the dribblers head up and looking for a pass ahead right before they pass half-court. Also make sure they know what a backwards dribble is and the reasons behind it. Maybe run a dribbling drill then lead up to running the play. Hope this helps...

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