How to run the secondary break
The secondary break is effectively pushing the ball up the court after a made shot or a defensive rebound. It differs from a fast break in that it is usually a 5 person break, instead of a 1-3 person fast break after a turnover.
The key to this break is seeing the court and knowing what spots are to be filled. Often, the guards and forwards can be interchangeable, but they need to see the court in order to fill the proper spot. I have two examples of basic secondary breaks, so let’s take a look.
In the secondary break, the first action that should happen is the point guard getting the ball to the middle of the floor. This is crucial in all fast breaks but it helps space the floor and give the guard options on the secondary break.
Then, the first big man down the floor runs straight to the post. He should have his head up to catch a pass if he is ahead of the defense or know which way to post up. The guards should each fill a wing and be ready to catch and shoot or distribute into the post. Finally, the trail man should be the other forward, who fills the space around the foul line on the opposite side as the ball handler.
Let’s take a look at a good example from Florida:
Watch how Joakim Noah sprints down the court to the block. With Taurean Green dribbling down the middle of the floor, Lee Humphrey fills the wing. Green draws the defense with a drive to the paint, drawing the wing defender.
Since Humphrey was positioned so well on the floor, he was wide open right in Green’s view for the pass. Humphrey was ready to catch and shoot and he buried the three. This is a perfectly executed secondary break.
Here we have another example that ends in a made three point attempt. Thanks to the proper spacing by the Illini, Roger Powell gets an open look at a 3. Again, notice the hustle by the big man getting to the block, the wings filling the corners and the point guard taking the ball down the middle of the court.
There are many options that a team has when they run the secondary break so efficiently. The ball can be entered into the post, the point guard can drive, he can kick it to the wings, etc. A team that runs the secondary break well and often will get many good looks on offense.