Contributed by Brett Ayers. Email the author at email@example.com
I would have to agree with you on your approach, just like many other coaches have voiced here in how they teach their break. I see things more from a men's college level where running a structured break, unless it is multi-tiered or leads right into some form of continuity offense is a bit difficult to do from the standpoint of the shot clock. Certainly your kid's basketball IQ and over-all talent level play into this as well.
I am, however, a very big believer in using distinctive lane designation to create and instill within your kids the proper floor spacing. Two of the biggest problems I see facing many of the college and higher level high school teams during the past 10 years or so is first, lack of understanding of proper floor spacing either on the break or in the half court set and second, the problem being individual player's inability to understand or recognize what the other players on their team can and can not do and where to give them the ball. I see many passes to 4 and 5 men on the break outside of their obvious comfort zones usually leading to a poor shot or, even more likely, a turnover.
The second part of the problem that I listed above is one of mental transition that translates into physical issues on the court. A classic example of a team that had both problems with player recognition and even more problems with making the transition from offense to defense last year would have been the University of North Carolina, and their record surely reflected this inability to do these things.
I see a lot of teams that are obviously not drilling for or discussing with their players just what they should do on a turnover from either the offensive or defensive perspective. I know this is something that many would think players should be able to do, but in this age of athleticism before intellectualism in basketball it is something that has fallen by the wayside and the sloppy and poor execution that has resulted has become, in my mind, glaringly obvious.
One of the keys to stopping this type of mental breakdown is to, of course, stop whatever you are running in practice when you see this kind of stuff occur and ask your players "why" they just did what they did. Often of course you will get the usual blank expresion and a shrugging of the shoulders. Why, when you turned the ball over, did you not stop the ball as the other team tried to create a fast break situation? Why, when you were on offense, did you throw the ball to your five man three feet outside of the three point line on the wing and why, as the five man, were you out there on the wing?
I agree in drilling for, and designating, lanes. I am a big fan of getting your five man down either the middle or running the pro lane and getting posted up as quickly as possible. Nothing, in my estimation, is like early and constant inside-out action with the ball.
I also think that one of the things that a coach can instill in his practice that will be of use in teaching kids quick mental transition and court recognition is to put an assistant with a ball on either side of court and, while running full court scrimmages and drills, blow the whistle, and as soon as the whistle is blown the man with the ball throws it to the nearest assistant while the opposite assistant throws the ball he has to someone who was just on defense and they . The team just on offense has to adjust and, of course, the new offensive team has to get proper spacing and in proper lanes, call out a play or offense.