Author: Rick Torbett

Layer 4 is NOT about Dribble Penetration. You can dribble penetrate at any time in any offense. But that usually means the end of the offense. Layer 4 in the Read & React is about how the offense continues if Dribble Penetration fails or Penetrate, Draw the Defense, and Pass does not produce a shot. I don't think most understand WHY we Circle Move on Dribble Penetration in the Read & React. Here’s why: Elementary Reason: Receivers moving vs standing are harder to guard. Advanced Reason: Defensive help and rotation moves in the opposite direction as Circle Movement. Engineering Reason: What if the drive fails or what if the drive and pass fails to produce a scoring opportunity? The reason to Circle Move is to continue action with another Layer of the R&R if the drive fails. That requires everyone to be on SPOTS. (All layers START on spots and END on spots in order to have continuous linkage of layers or basketball actions.) When I was first engineering the Read & React (8 years ago), we did not Circle Move when someone Dribble Penetrated. That produced a problem: The empty spot from where penetration occurred was being filled by the next player (due to the habit of Layer 1) and the spot behind the filler was being filled, etc. That meant some were moving on the perimeter while others were not. The spots that were not being filled were the highest percentage

I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin. I get an email from his blog site every day. Here’s a recent one: “Banks should close at 4, books should be 200 pages long, CEOs should go to college, blogs should have comments, businessmen should be men, big...

During recent clinics, I’ve mentioned Kevin Eastman’s quote about the future of basketball – that it will be “position-less”. He’s not yet seen the Read & React and so I find it interesting that one of the best basketball minds in the coaching community “senses” where things are headed. I would love to see him wrap his mind around what you and I already know: the future is already here. The Read & React is position-less, formless, unpredictable and yet totally accountable and teachable. There’s no telling how Kevin would operate it – just like all the Tribe coaches; it looks different in everyone’s hands. But that’s not what I want to point out today. His quote about “position-less basketball” brought other terms to my mind like “formless” and “unpredictable”. It reminded me of a quote about how your team should be like “water” and adapt its form according to the defense… I found this quote today in THE ART OF WAR by Sun Tzu – and it struck me how close his language is to ours. You’d think he was talking to his Read & React team just before a game:

In traditional basketball offenses, a selfish player can kill what the team is trying to accomplish. Ultimately, that player will force the offense to break down and lose five-player coordination. This means that traditional offenses are only as strong as the weakest link - a selfish player. Even your trustworthy "team-player" can occasionally stray from the herd and do his or her own thing with the same results - a loss of teamwork. This is not the case with the Read & React Offense. Layers 3, 4, 5, and 6 are engineered to absorb selfish player actions and turn them into opportunities.

Part of effective teaching is putting techniques in terms that are easily transferable and easily remembered. Dynamic Defense helps you do just that. In order to make proper one-on-one defensive spacing easy to understand, I've defined it in terms of a conversation with the help of a personal space bubble. We all enjoy our personal space and when people operate outside of the societal conventions of that space, things get weird quick. Those conventions can help players quickly recognize appropriate defensive spacing (depending on the situation) while allowing you, the coach, to quickly communicate what you want. First, use your imagination to picture a translucent bubble surrounding the offensive player. It should be just large enough that if the offensive player extends their arms in front of them, they'll be touching the edge of their bubble. This is that personal space bubble that we are inherently familiar with. Now, with the bubble as a guideline, let's discuss conversational defensive positioning. Conversation Distance: Most of the time, we want players to play on the surface of the bubble. In other words, they should be stuck to the bubble at all times - close enough to discourage a shot, bother the dribble, and deflect passes. This would be the correct distance to shake hands with another person, or to have a normal conversation. Most well adjusted people instinctively know the appropriate distance socially required to have a one-on-one conversation. That's conversation distance.

To understand Level 3 in the Dynamic Defense, you must first understand Situations. So, what's a Situation? Put simply: a situation is an offensive action that demands a switch or a double-team in order to stop the ball. That means if help and recover techniques (Level 2) are not enough to stop an offensive attack, that attack has just been escalated to a situation and now requires a Level 3 defender. A Level 3 defender can recognize situations and either switch or double-team to stop the action. Well, as you can imagine, it would be difficult to list every Situation so instead I've focused the lens on a typical action that creates a Situation for many teams: Feeding the Post. The video below is an excerpt from Dynamic Defense, our newly released DVD series on taking your defense to the next level… literally. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwCTNrSydVc&feature=youtu.be Now, feeding the post doesn't always create a situation. If the post player can be defended one-on-one, then there’s no Level 3 Situation. But, oftentimes that offensive post player demands the attention of a double-team.

Dynamic Defense is a leveled system for teaching individual and team basketball defense. It includes first a grading system so that players and coaches (and parents for a lot of you) can be on the same page as it relates to an individual's defensive development. Then, a curriculum for improvement within each level and also through the levels. Level 1 teaches what it means to Guard the Ball and then spends the rest of the time equipping the player with the skills to meet those requirements. Within Level 1, there are three grades of defenders: Great, Good, and OK. The following video is an excerpt from our new video package, Dynamic Defense. You can check out the breakdown of each video as well as the Dynamic Defense trailer here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeEDqymhfzQ Of course, we all want our players to be Great Level 1 defenders but that’s not always how it works out. It’s even possible (according to my definitions of Great, Good, and OK) to be a Great Level 1 defender when guarding Player X while being only a Good Level 1 defender when guarding Player Y. If you’re a Great Level 1 defender, you take away all three aspects of an offensive player's Triple Attack: The Shot, The Drive, and The Pass.

Every basketball coach wants their players to take charges, but let's face it, on just about every attempt to draw the charge it's a 50-50 chance that the call goes either way. With the speed of today's game, it's getting harder and harder for officials to determine (in a split second) what is and what isn't a charge. Ultimately, it comes down to what a ref thinks she sees and even then many times the reasons given for the call don't sound anything like what's in the rule book. When I saw Mano Watsa and Sefu Bernard teach this skill during one of their PGC Basketball camps, I knew I had to capture it for Dynamic Defense. Their teaching progression and drills were simply excellent! You’ll find two of their teaching points on this excerpt from Level 1 of Dynamic Defense.

Ever since we released the Read & React Offense a few years ago, coaches have been asking about the other side of the basketball coin - defense. Actually, they would ask, "So, what about a Read & React Defense?" And, for almost three years now, we've been teasing you about a leveled system of teaching defense. We're calling it Dynamic Defense instead of Read & React Defense, though. Actually, we never considered Read & React Defense because… well, because it didn't make sense. So, why Dynamic Defense?