3 Keys to Fast Break Defense

Xcelerate Nike Lacrosse National Program Director, Brian Lalley, discusses, 3 Keys to Fast Break Defense:

The battle for and against transition should be a big part of any teams practice plan. The game is fast and only getting faster. While our first step should be to limit opponent fast break opportunity as a whole, when they occur, we must be prepared to put the offense in the hardest position to execute.

A fast break is an offensive transition opportunity where it is four offensive players vs. three defensive players. They generally occur off a face-off, off a turnover and going from defense to offense in a clear or breakout.

We practice all sorts of situations on a daily basis. Nothing drives us crazier as a coach that we get it right in practice and then guys deviate on gameday. It should be a very important piece of your transition work to hold your defense accountable to identifying the situation and what each player’s job is.

For a fast break, we want to identify if it’s a righty or lefty break, meaning which side the ball carrier is coming down the field. Next, we need to identify who has point, who has the right pipe and who has the left pipe. We have one less player so we are going to make sure we keep the ball covered when he’s a shooting threat and both pipes covered.

When the point player decides the ball carrier is a threat, he should slide to the ball. As the offense moves the ball, the defense moves/rotates as a unit. In the video example attached, watch how the right pipe player slides to the first pass, the left pipe player slides across to cover the adjacent pass and the point defender sinks down the backside.

Getting the ball covered will entail leaving one player open and approaching the ball carrier with space. Therefore, having our sticks in the lanes and breaking down through our rotations will be a critical component to forcing the offense into the toughest situations to capitalize.


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