We often hear (from coaches that don’t know the offense very well) that the Read & React doesn’t promote screening. And, that couldn’t be further from the truth – you just have to emphasize it. Here are 4 steps that will train your players to spot some of the screening opportunities within the flow of the offense.
Step 1: Start with the basics.
If you have a post player, try this simple 5 on 0 drill. Place 4 players on the perimeter running though Pass & Cut. Tell your post player to screen for cutters coming into the lane and leaving the lane. And, just like the Post Screening layer says, have the post player set a screen, then shape up for the ball. Set a screen, then shape. Screen, then shape. The only way to score in this drill is to hit a cutter (following a screen) for a lay-up or to feed the post on the shape up. After the score, just rotate the post – it wouldn’t be a bad idea to rotate guards through the post as well.
If you typically run a 5 OUT, start with 5 players on the perimeter running through Pass & Cut. At random each player must stop in the post, set some screens for cutters, then shape up after a screen. Following the shape up, they can vacate the post and return to the perimeter. In this version of the drill, the only way to score is a post feed to a shaping up post player. After the score, simply grab the rebound, pass it back to the perimeter and continue the drill until every player has stopped in the post, set screens for cutters, shaped up, and scored.
With those drills, you get to work on Layer 1, feeding the post, scoring in the post, setting screens, and using screens.
Step 2: Building on the basics.
Everything remains the same as in Step 1, but this time the post player (or the guard stopping the post) must catch the ball with his feet outside the lane following the shape up. (You can have a coach play behind him with a pad to keep him pushed out if you need to.) Each post player must screen and shape three times prior to receiving the ball. On that third shape up, the perimeter player feeds the post and makes and X-Cut for a lay-up. And, again, following the score, rotate the post until everyone has had an opportunity to screen, shape, and dish.
In this stage of the drill, you can start to teach (or emphasize) the techniques involved with the X-Cut.
Step 3: Furthering the progression.
Taking what’s been built in Step 2, start in 5 OUT. Pass and Cut until a cutter sets a back screen on their way out. The recipient of the back screen now must stop in the post. This post screens for cutters entering and leaving the lane and shapes over and over until he receives the ball. The passer will make an X-cut, but won’t receive the pass back for a lay-up. Instead, the post passes back out to the perimeter and Pass & Cut continues. Once the pass has been made out of the post, this drill requires that a player score on a back screen either by the post player or by a perimeter player exiting the lane.
Now, you can emphasize back screens while continuing to work on Layer 1, feeding the post, and the X-cut.
Step 4: Adding choice.
At this point, your players should be competent enough with the actions in the previous steps that they can choose which options to use at random. Still in 5 on 0, let the players flow into and out of the post on their own, choosing their own scoring methods (as long as those options are from the previous drills). Only when they can do this cleanly 5 on 0 would I introduce defense.
Step 5: Adding defense.
Start back at Step 1 with dummy defense and work your way back through the steps until your team can perform Step 4 cleanly, using the screens that they’ve already practiced. Then, go through the steps again with live defense. This will give you a progression to use through a series of practices – 5 steps without defense, the 5 steps again with dummy defense, and finally the 5 steps again with live defense.