by Coach  John  Kimble


An excellent way to gain an advantage over an opponent is to gain an advantage of  having (and cashing in on) more  opportunities for  easy (uncontested and/or close) shots.

To gain an advantage over another team  that could possibly be:   1) more athletic and talented, 2) quicker, 3) faster, 4) taller, 5) stronger, 6) has a deeper bench, or 7) a combination of  any or  all of the above; a team must maximize its number of easy shots while minimizing its opponents of the number of the same kind of shots.

While half court offenses and defenses greatly affect the frequency  of  a team’s easy shots, and full  court press defenses and offenses contribute to the number of  shots also; a large portion of those shots can and  will be determined  by  the facet of the part of the game that takes place between the actual time that a team is on defense and when that same is on offense. That gap between  the offense  and  the defense  is  the transition  between  those two parts.  The purpose of this transition time  between your defense and your offense is to create as many “easy shots” as possible, while the purpose of  our transition time between your offense and your defense is to minimize the  number of easy shots  that your opponents can get.

We define “easy shots” for a team as shots that are uncontested to some degree, a shot that is relatively close to the basket, and that when the shot is taken, the shooting team has a varying numerical and/or position advantage of their personnel over the opposing teams’ individual personnel.


We define “offensive transition”  as  converting originally  from defense to  our offensive game.  This type of transition leads US to our easy shots by our offense.  Refer back to our definition of “easy shots” in  the Introduction.  This  transition from defense  to offense could actually  initiate from various situations, such as:  1) capitalizing on  a ‘live’  turnover by the opponents  such as  our interception of  a bad pass, a  recovery of  an opponents’  fumble, a deflection  or  a  loose ball  on the floor, or their blocked shot, 2) causing and/or capitalizing a turnover violation with us having to take the ball out  of  bounds to initiate our ‘offensive transition’, or 3) our securing of  a defensive rebound after an opponents’  missed shot, (obviously our defense helps determine how many  missed shots our opponents have in a game) and 4) last, but not  least (but sometimes forgotten), our immediate  reaction and securing possession of  the ball  after our  opponents have  scored via field goals or free throws.

We believe  in  an immediate  and quick-reacting four-pronged attack.  The first phase is actually our that is attempting to create a change of  the basketball.  The second  phase  is what we called the Primary Fastbreak.  If  the opposing team successfully defends the Primary Break, we smoothly and  instantly flow into our third phase — the Secondary Break.  If  the opposing defense is fortunate enough to prevent our scoring from the third phase, our half-court continuity offense fluidly transcends from  the Secondary Break.  If  run properly, our Primary  Break into our Secondary Break into our Continuity Half-Court Offense seems  to be an old  inclusive  organized system of continual motion (but orchestrated with specific goals and objectives).

Still, regardless of how good your team’s defenses are and how fundamentally and structurally sound your Primary and Secondary Breaks are, and how solid your half court offensive continuities are, there  is a distinct  ‘gap’ between your defense and your offense.  The smaller the ‘gap time’ is, the  more successful your team will  be in its “Offensive Transition Game.”  The quicker  that all five defenders respond and  react to the change of possession, and become a “5 part offensive machine,” the more successful your “Offensive Transition Game” is.  What a tremendous way for any team to gain an advantage over its opponent.


Conversely to “Offensive Transition,” we define “Defensive Transition” as converting from our offensive game to our defense.  The main objective  of our Defensive Transition is to minimize the amount of  time that  our defensive system is  susceptible to failure, because  of a lack  of  the number of  personnel and  their  proper positioning.  Just as we want  to maximize the numbers of easy shots that our Offensive Transition can  produce, we want our Defensive Transition to minimize the number of ‘easy  shots’  that our opponents  can get. 

To put it simply, the more (easy shots) we get, and the less (easy shots)  that    opponents get, the greater the chance we have to win.


By continually  using Offensive Transition to initiate all or the majority of  your offensive team work in  practice, you create the good habit  of quickly  converting from defense to offense.

One good routine to incorporate in full court scrimmages is to do the following. Often times, do not stop portions of your scrimmages to instruct or correct.  This takes away from the number of transition opportunities that present itself.

In a full court scrimmage, if there is  a dead ball  situation (after a rules violation) allow both teams to take the ball out of bounds as quickly as possible without having pseudo-officials  administering the ball (and therefore slow down the ‘gap’ time.  Have players use scrimmages to get into the habit of greatly stepping up the pace of both offensive as well as defensive transition.

Make sure this is worked on in more than just full court scrimmages. If you want to concentrate on working mainly on half court offense, start the work on the opposite end of the court in a semi-controlled defensive scenario, where the ‘2nd team’ starts on offense and voluntarily (on the  coach’s command) surrenders possession of the ball by shooting, throwing the ball away (both inbounds or out-of-bounds).  If you want to concentrate your work on the 4th and final phase–half court continuity offense, instruct your groups to run the Primary and Secondary Breaks, looking for the good shot opportunities.  But have them only see them, recognize them, and pass them up; so that the team can  concentrate on the selected  phase to improve on–half court offense continuity.

Obviously, if the coaching staff decides to work on  the Primary or the Secondary Break, that wish is simply  passed on to the squads; and the main squad  still starts out in the 1st phase–Defense.

Keep in mind that the first phase should be practiced in many variations. Examples of these variations that  should be  practiced, developed, and improved upon are: 1) Every full court defense you plan on using, 2) Every  half  court defense  that will be utilized, 3) Different Defensive Baseline Out-of-Bounds Situations, 4) Different Defensive Sideline Out-of-Bounds Situations, 5) Opponents’ FT Shooting Situations, and 6) after your opponents have scored a FG or FT.


The philosophies and concepts  behind  the Defensive Transition Drills are identical to the Offensive Transition Drills, but in an converse manner. 

With that statement in mind, we have gone a step further to  become  somewhat  unique  in our way of thinking.

Most everyone has  a Primary Fastbreak with particular concepts and ideas about running designated fastbreak lanes, located on the court.  Since  everyone (including all opponents) share that traditional and standard offensive philosophy, we have developed similar concepts and theories on defensive to  attempt  to counter opponents offensive fastbreaks.  We call  this scheme our Defensive Fastbreak.  This idea  is to simply have our perimeter defenders “get out and run the wide lanes” with the opponents’ offensive perimeter personnel.  We expect our post defenders to sprint back to defend our interior after  they have  realized we  have surrendered  possession  of  the ball.  Running the lanes congests them and also challenges all advancements of the ball down the court, either by means of outlet  passes or dribbling.  Slowing down  our opponents  progress while hustling  back  to defend our goal AND close proximity  to the  goal helps  reduce  opponents’ “easy shots;” which is our ultimate goal.


























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