Are You Focusing on the Right Layers?

Are You Focusing on the Right Layers?

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 Rule) is the law of the vital few, which states that for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Pareto noticed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden produced 80% of his peas. Other examples:

  • In business, it’s been noted that 80% of sales come from 20% of clients.
  • Most people wear 20% of their clothes (their favored clothes) 80% of the time.
  • We spend 80% of our time with 20% of our acquaintances.

I’m ready to add another 80-20 to the list:

80% of your offensive actions will come from 20% of the Read & React layers.

Why point this out?

Because the few layers that make up this 20% of the Read & React is a vital few, as the definition alludes to. The rest of the offense and the success of the remaining layers hinge upon how good your team can run the vital 20%.

The Vital Few Layers (20%)

Other than shooting, there are only two actions that can be performed with the ball: passing and dribbling. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the vital layers are:

  1. Pass & Cut (which includes understanding and using the Read Line).
  2. Dribble Penetration with Circle Movement for the perimeter players.
  3. Dribble Penetration with Basic Post Slides.
  4. Speed Dribble East-West (the “Dribble-At” action), which feeds Pass & Cut action.

The original Read & React was broken into 17 layers. Since then, my up-dated structure lists 20 teaching layers. (You’ll see them later in the summer of 2010).

4 out of 20 layers is, in fact, 20%.

However, I think the real percentage might be smaller.

Teams should concentrate on mastering two layers: Pass & Cut and Dribble Penetration Circle Movement. Without the discipline to spacing that these two layers afford, the rest of the Read & React actions are not as effective. The combination of these two affords a team the weapons to handle defensive pressure – particularly, perimeter defensive pressure. Let’s face it, if a defensive team can effectively pressure you on the perimeter, they can interrupt your offensive attack.

Other places I see the 80-20 Rule:

  • If a team spends 80% of early season practice time on the Read & React (leaving 20% for defense), then the latter half of the season can change to 20% Read & React and 80% of practice time on defense.
  • 80% of basketball actions on all levels fall into 20% of Read & React Layer categories.
  • The latter 80% of Read & React Layers tie up the remaining 20% of basketball actions into a completely coordinated offense.

Has anyone else spotted other aspects of the 80-20 rule as they relate to coaching basketball?


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