Attack Off of the Foul Shot - Foul Line Fast Break

If is often said that games are won and lost on the foul line. How many more games do you think you can win if you can force your opponent to worry more about defense than they are about making the foul shot?

Here is a break off the foul line that just might make them do just that.

The keys to this break are:
  • Make them make an uncomfortable adjustment on the foul lane
  • Get the ball out of bounds and to the corner in 4 seconds or less.
If you can accomplish these 2 things you will have them running backwards on foul shots and their foul shots will become offensive opportunities for you. It will help your team become more aggressive and limit the amount of times that your opponents might pressure off of foul shots.

Note: These breaks can be run on either side of the court. They are illustrated on the right side.

Break for the 2-Man

Set your foul line this way.

Best rebounders inside (1st priority has to be to rebound the miss).

Better ball handlers on top with your point guard on the right side.

Your best shooter down the floor in the right corner.

Putting your shooter in the corner will force you opponent to take someone out of the foul shot play a send him down the floor to cover the shooter.

On the shot:

4 and 5 step to box out, 3 steps down to squeeze the next spot and assist with 4 boxing out. 1 boxes the shooter.

After boxing out:

4 grabs the ball out of the net and goes to the right side of the backboard.

3 sprints across the lane and up the right sideline.

5 sprints across the lane and up the left sideline.

1 holds his box on the shooter and keeps him on his back.
1st option:

4 grabs the ball out of the net and fires a pass to 3 on the sideline.

3 turns and fires a pass to 2 in the corner.

5 cuts to the basket.

2 may shoot immediately or drive.

5's primary purpose is offensive rebound off of 2's shot.

If 5 is open, 2 can pass to 5.
2nd option:

4 grabs the ball out of the net and fires a pass to 3 on the sideline.

If 3 cannot make the pass to 2, he turns and passes to 1 who is cutting up the middle of the floor.

5 runs the left lane.

4 fills behind on left side.

1 advances the ball and passes ahead as soon as he can.

Wings can look for a shot.

3 and 4 are looking for offensive rebound.
3rd option:

4 grabs the ball out of the net and fires a pass to 3 on the sideline.

3 cannot pass to 2 in the corner or to 1 in the middle.

3 passes back to 4.
5 cuts back.

3 cuts through the middle to left sideline.

4 passes to 5.

5 passes to 1 cutting up the middle.
1 advances the ball and passes ahead as early as possible.

4 and 5 trail looking for offensive rebound.
4th option:

4 grabs the ball out of the net and cannot pass to 3.

4 inbounds to 1, who is still holding the shooter on his back.
1 now has multiple options. He can:
  • Advance the ball and pass ahead.
  • Pass opposite to 5.
  • Pass outside to 3.
If the ball is passed to 3, 3 passes ahead to 2.
If the ball gets passed to 5 (he is a postman and we don't want him handling the ball):

3 fills the middle.

1 fills behind to the left wing.

5 passes to 3 cutting up the court.

4 and 5 trail.

3 advances the ball.

4 and 5 look for rebound.

Break for the 5-Man

This break is very similar to the 2 man break but it is designed to get the ball to the 5 man.

The setup is basically the same except that we put the 2 man on the lane and take the 5 man and send him down the floor and he sets up on the right block.

The shooting team now has to decide what they are going to do with the 5 man. Will they take a man out of their foul shot line up to guard him? If they guard him with a guard, you will go inside to get the mis-match. If they take a post man out, they have weakened their rebounding.

The next best rebounder (3) moves to an inside position on the lane.
After boxing out:

2 cuts through the lane and up the right sideline.

3 cuts through the lane and up the left sideline.

4 grabs the ball and takes it out on the right side of the backboard.

1 boxes out the shooter and holds.
4 inbounds to 2.

2 advances the ball and looks to get the ball into the post.

3 runs the left wing.

1 cuts up the middle.

4 trails.
2nd option:

If 2 cannot advance the ball,

2 passes to 1 cutting up the middle of the floor.

1 advances the ball.

2 and 3 fill lanes.

1 passes ahead when possible.

2 and 3 look in to 5.

4 trails.
3rd option:

Ball is inbounded to 2.
If 2 cannot advance the ball nor can he pitch to 1 in the middle,

2 passes back to 4.

3 comes back on the wing.
4 passes to 3.

1 clears to the right wing.

2 fills the middle.

3 can advance the ball or pass to 2 who can advance the ball.
4th option:

If the ball cannot be inbounded to 2, 4 inbounds to 1 who is still holding the foul shooter on his back.

2 and 3 fill the lanes.

1 then advances the ball and will pass ahead as early as possible.
Philosophy is the important aspect in these breaks. Remember in each of them, we want to get the ball up within 4 seconds.

In the break for the 2 man, you want to get a quick shot from the corner. You should have trailers looking for the offensive rebound.

In the break for the 5 man, you are looking for a bang-bang pass into the post.

Related Pages & Helpful Resources

Don Kelbick's Transition Offense and the Four-Second Fast Break DVD
Transition Offense - Paul Westhead - Loyola Maramount
How To Run The Basketball Fast Break Offense and Transition Offense - Philosophy, Offenses, Drills
5 on 3 + 2 - Fast Break Drills

Do you have any questions or suggestions for this offensive play? Let us know by leaving your comments...


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Coach C says:
11/2/2021 at 10:11:42 AM

Excellent detailed explanation! Can this be used on a “missed” free throw as well?

  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
11/4/2021 at 8:58:45 AM

It's a little trickier because it depends on which player gets the rebound. I generally run our normal transition offense with normal rules after rebounds.


Chad Weston says:
12/11/2013 at 7:28:21 PM

Nice I like how these are organized and oriented it helps get a better understanding this is one of the most thought out plays to be aggressive on offense.


10/16/2013 at 12:33:54 PM



10/16/2013 at 10:18:17 AM

Great article!


Jeff Haefner says:
5/11/2010 at 7:05:24 AM

Coach H,

You could just move the starting position of the 3 man. Instead of starting on the top block, move him outside the 3-point line (around free throw line extended).

Then everything else is the same. He just starts out in a different spot.

Good luck!


Coach H says:
5/10/2010 at 5:23:18 PM

Hey Joe and Jeff,

I'm really interested in running the first break for the 2-man, 'cause it really fits in my team but here's the thing.

I'm a Dutch coach of a Under 18 team, and therefore we have to deal with the European rules. This means we're allowed to put in only 3 defensive rebounders at Free Throw situations, with 2 guys in the low boxes, and 1 in the top box, which usually boxes out the shooter

Could you, or one of the readers,please provide some tips on how to adjust the settings, in order for us to run the Free Throw Break in an effective way?

Thanks in Advance,
Coach H.


Mark says:
9/7/2009 at 10:42:51 AM

I like this set up for a foul shot. It puts alot of pressure on the defense while keeping one or even two players back.


Nesta says:
8/22/2009 at 8:01:33 PM

Like this play one of our assistant coaches introduced it for our college was used by his high school team.


Paolo Marchetti says:
12/4/2008 at 11:51:53 AM

I like these play, especially for those teams that haven''t good playmaker, for encrase the speed in the fastbrake and for a new solution for the pressing.


Al Raimondi says:
12/4/2008 at 8:22:40 AM

Great moves but it is a little confusing for my 11 year old's to master so I pick only one option and work on it over and over possibly two options if they are attentive


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