Author: Rick Torbett

In a previous post, we mentioned the importance of visioneering and highlighted this quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:
If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Every great endeavor begins with a vision of something greater than yourself, but until it's shared and internalized by the team, it will get no traction. So, as a coach, you are responsible to create (or at least mold) your team's vision. You are the captain of that ship after all. You can develop a successful vision for your basketball team by making three commitments:

I define a "situation" as an offensive action that engages two or more defenders simultaneously. For example, most screening actions create situations, an attacking drive generates a situation, and many times just feeding a competent post player instigates a situation. If your opponent lacks cohesion as a defensive unit, a single situation may be enough to break them open for a score. The reality, though, is that most defensive teams are better coached and more prepared: they are capable of helping and recovering as well as double-teaming and rotating back without giving up a scoring opportunity. Read & React Offense Basketball Pick and Roll But, just because a team can handle one situation doesn't mean they can handle two or three in a row, or even two or three simultaneously. Set this as a goal for your Read & React team (especially when you come up against better defensive teams): every possession, force the defense to handle more than one situation back to back or at the same time. Below are a couple of examples of how you can do that.

When defending a player on the wing, you should do everything you can to keep the ball from being dribbled into the middle. This means forcing, influencing, or shading the ball towards the corner/baseline and then working hard at stopping the drive (by yourself) before the attack reaches the short corner. Basketball defender guarding a basketball dribbler The above sentiment is nothing revolutionary, but let's examine why it works.

When the ball drives baseline, there are several factors in favor of the defense:

  1. The offense is actually decreasing the usable court space.
  2. The baseline becomes a defensive “sixth man”.
  3. Shooting angles are not as good as being in the middle of the floor (read: shooting percentages drop).
  4. Natural passing angles are fewer and more difficult.
  5. Non-ball defenders seem to drop toward the goal more easily than when the ball is driven into the middle.

In the previous post, we discussed utilizing the inside-out game with the Read & React: how there is always an inside threat in the Read & React, whether the ball is thrown into the post or not. What we didn't mention, though, is the sure fire way to block that inside threat: lazy (or uninformed) post players. As a coach, you cannot allow your post player in a 4 OUT or post players in a 3 OUT to stand in the mid post for entire possessions. Whoever plays in the post, whether it's a designated post player or a cutter who has stopped in the lane, must be trained to use the weapons of the Read & React. Start with these four options:

This post was inspired by a thread in the Tribe Forum. Be sure to check out the forum and pick the brains of Read & React coaches from all over the world. I've always had an inside-out mentality when it comes to basketball. It makes sense, right? The defense is required first to protect the lane (hopefully forcing them to rotate and cheat to do so), which opens up the outside game because it's always easier to attack a recovering defender. But what if you don't have a strong inside presence? Basketball's traditional paradigm teaches us that to "go inside" means we need to have Post Players inside, hogging the lane, and scoring with drop-steps and hooks and dunks and high-low action, etc, as we run our offense through them. I can count on two fingers how many times I had a post player like that in my program. The good news is that you can get the same amount (if not more) inside-out action in 4 OUT or even 5 OUT. It sounds like a contradiction, but it isn't.

You can do anything you want with your post players as long as they react correctly to dribble penetration. We've said that before and it remains true. But, that leaves a lot of options. I thought it would be helpful to give you three that I would consider using if I had a 3 OUT team (or, if I had a team that occasionally flowed into a 3 OUT). 1. Place one post on the ball-side high post and the other on the weak-side low post. The High Post can be given rules in this situation: screen for cutters and shape up for the ball or set a ball screen every other pass (really, this can be whatever you want). The Low Post simply stays opposite the ball (allowing space for cutters to get to the basket) and whenever the High Post receives a shape up pass, ducks into the lane looking for the Hi-Lo.

Watching the men’s Final Four and more specifically, the championship game, reminded me of one of the reasons I created the Read & React. It has nothing to do with the implementation of the offense; rather, it is how to use the Read & React during a game. Let me begin by saying that I’m not a college coach and I have no NCAA championship rings. I’m just a student of the game. When I watch games on any level, I’m always looking for something that I can learn and pass on to you - asking myself, “What would I do in this situation? Would I do anything different?” And of course, I’m always viewing it through the eyes of the Read & React. With that being said, here’s what I want the Tribe to consider: “The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Imagine the following scenario. In your preparation for your opponent, you’ve chose to emphasize a particular action - the high ball screen, for example. But, once you get in the game, it is clear that your opponent can defend that screening action perfectly. In fact, they are defending it so well that you are getting almost nothing from it and the shots that you do get aren’t the ones you want (and even those are going in). What do you do?