One of the debates that goes on around basketball coaching circles is how many players do you send to the glass, on offense and defense. In this case, we're talking strictly about defense. I used to always be a 5 to the glass guy, as I've always been one to emphasize defense and rebounding. But one of the philosophies, especially for fast-breaking teams is to break 1 or 2 players without boxing out, usually the wing and point players. Here, the Atlanta Hawks show this principle, Josh Smith normally would be boxing out the shooter, but instead he jumps ahead for the fast break basket. Watch the video and read my thoughts below,

4 Rebounders, 1 breaks:

The general rule is that all 4 off-ball defenders box out their man, while the defender of the shooter breaks out. Josh Smith is defending the shooter and instead of the normal box out of the shooter, breaks out on the shot. The key is to break right after the shot regardless of whether the shot goes in. This way, even if the shot is made, the forward should rip the ball out of the net and baseball pass it down the court.

I haven't drawn the diagram to match the video mainly just so that I can show the other 4 players with box-out responsibility, but the basic idea here is that once the shot leaves the hand of the shooter, Josh Smith is already heading down the court, cherry-picking essentially. The rebound is received by the Hawks and despite the Raptors mostly getting back, Josh has already beaten them all down the court for the easy dunk.


I don't know if there is any right way or wrong way here, more about philosophy. If you are a run and gun team, it makes sense to have 1 or 2 players break on the shot release. If you are a half-court team, it probably makes sense to box-out. It could also depend on the situation. For example, if you have a lot more size than your opponent, you may want to take your chances 4-on-5 on the glass and break out your point guard.

If you are looking for something truly unique, take a look at Dave Arsenault's Running to Win DVD. Coach Arseneault is of course the creator of the record-setting Run and Gun system that he uses at Grinnell College. They recently set a record for most assists by one player, 32 assists in one game by one player, I believe they won 155-113. Be sure so check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to discuss your favorite basketball topics.