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Fast break is an offensive strategy in basketball and handball. In a fast break, a team attempts to move the ball up court and into scoring position as quickly as possible, so that the defense is outnumbered and does not have time to set up. There are various styles of the fast break and the fast break attack is the best method of providing action and quick scores. A fast break may be caused as the result of cherry picking.
In a typical fast break situation, the defending team obtains the ball and passes it to the fastest player who sets up the fast break. That player (usually the smaller point guard in the case of basketball) then speed-dribbles the ball upcourt with several players trailing on the wings. He then either passes it to another player for a quick scoring, or takes the shot himself. If contact is made between him and a defender from behind while on a fast break, an unsportmanlike foul is called. Recognition, speed, ball-handling skills and decision making are critical to the success of a fast break.
In basketball, fast breaks are often the result of good defensive play such as a steal, obtaining the ball off a block or a missed shot by the opposing team and a rebound, where the defending team takes possession of the ball while the other team has not adjusted.
A fast break can sometimes lead to an alley-oop if there are more offensive players than defenders.
In basketball, if the fast break did not lead to a basket and an offensive rebound is obtained and put back quickly, this is called the secondary break.
- Practical Modern Basketball, Second Addition, John R. Wooden, 1980 p.153
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